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Use of recorded video interviews for recruitment

Hello everyone,

I wondered how widespread the use of recorded (asynchronous) video interviews are for recruitment and what tools organisations are using?

We're considering introducing recorded interviews to support the shortlisting for final, face to face interviews. We've recently trialed one such tool which allowed us to prerecord a set of questions which candidates then gave answers to via their laptop, smartphone or tablet. Overall it worked well from a assessment perspective although the candidates were more mixed about the experience. We didn't use one of the newer services which utlise artifical intelligence to appraise candidates - I don't think we're ready to go down that route and I would need to see strong evidence supporting the AI's judgments validity and freedom from bias.

Do colleagues have any experiences that they would be willing to share? Happy to have receive recommendations - or caveats - as messages! Thank you.

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  • Hi Marc

    One point that occurs to me is that as with any other form of assessment, you'd need to ask candidates whether they need any adjustments.
  • In reply to Elizabeth:

    Yes, good point. Visual impairments may be particularly important to consider as interview questions are presented on screen.
  • I love new technologies, but so far, have been rather resistant to this sort of approach. My initial concerns were around re-introducing the opportunity for bias which we try to reduce with anonymous application processes etc. You can do all the training in the world with recruiting managers but we are strongly wired for bias and I'd rather let a manager get invested in the content of someone's application early and meet a handful of good candidates with a view to appointing in person/Skype later.

    I might also consider whether this step in the selection is appropriate for all roles and consider what I might be losing from the process because of it. Not everyone is living life on Instagram, including the younger demographic, and not every role needs someone with the base level of confidence to create the video (I appreciate they don't need video creation tools to do this). I'm perfectly happy talking to people as individuals and in groups, but tend to get self-conscious if there is a camera lurking around. I could be perfectly suited to a role that requires confidence and personality but completely fail at the video selection.

    So yes, I might want to analyse what I'm trying to test in the candidates by using this technology, and is this the appropriate way of sifting for those skills.
  • Hi Marc

    I'm not sure how useful my feedback will be - I'm not a fan at all of the use of too much tech during the recruitment process!

    I suppose for certain roles (tech, social media, marketing and such) it might be useful or large scale recruitment but I must admit if I was job seeking and come across a recruitment process requiring me to record a video I'd probably bow out. Something about it just feels quite impersonal and I hate being videoed, I get incredibly uncomfortable and 'false'.

    Personally I can imagine it being quite a daunting task for some people, there's no 'flow' with it, no bouncing off each others facial expressions or body language, no opportunity to clarify the question etc. But my overall feeling is as I say it would feel incredibly impersonal to me, almost like the company feels the recruitment process is too much hard work and I'm a big fan of saying to candidates that they are interviewing us too!

    Another thought is would it be fair to people with autism for example? I have a friend with autism who becomes a different person when being recorded. And my son who has a severe stammer seems to speak better face to face or telephone (and he can explain very factually that he has a stammer so sometimes he takes a while to get his words out so please bear with him) but when being recorded his facial ticks kick in and he falls apart.

    For me, unless I was recruiting hundreds of people into 10 a penny roles I think I'd rather just book a day out of my diary to do some quick telephone chats with people and do the initial sift that way rather than go down this road. Seems odd to me to introduce all this tech into what is, in my opinion, a process which relies every step of the way on 2 way communication and verbal and visual clues and signs in real time. I suppose I might have to one day but it will be kicking and screaming!
  • In reply to Joanne O'Hagan:

    I think recorded video interviews have both potential risks for bias and opportunities to mitigate it. From a risk perspective, you see the candidate on screeen so clearly are vulnerable to potential biases linked to the indivdual's appearance - age, gender, ethnicity, appearance and accent all come to mind. At the same time, recorded video interviews are highly structured, consistent for all candidates and can be assessed by a diverse panel of assessors. Unlike face to face interviews, there is also an auditable record of the interview which potentially increases the accountabilty of those making the decisions.

    I agree that they don't feel right for all posts. I think they are more likely to be of benefit in customer facing roles, roles where verbal communication skills are critical and/ or management positions. I would see them as adding most benefit as a stage before the final interview.
  • In reply to Joanne O'Hagan:

    Hi Joanne
    I absolutely agree with your points. I consider myself to be a well experienced and confident person but feel extremely self conscious in front of a camera. When we were asked to post a youtube video of an elevator pitch for the Level 5 CIPD L&D cohort, it was a nerve wracking experience for me. However I do faily well in face to face interviews. So I'm not sure if it will actually skew results and filter out potentially good candidates because of bad video interviews.
  • As a candidate I've been through this sort of approach and I absolutely hated it. Far more stressful than any face-to-face, telephone or live video interview. I also had a lot of technology issues - kept freezing up and one of my videos didn't save properly. It was bad enough experience that I would never willingly subject a candidate to the process as an employer.
  • I supported someone I know with a recruitment exercise that was carried out entirely by Skype. We had an interesting debate around it, because I too found the prospect of being interviewed via a screen, without ever meeting the employer face to face, an odd one. However, the business itself required that the individual would be comfortable with interacting remotely - they have people working all over the world, so need to have meetings and 1:1s with their managers at a distance. It was important to them that they recruited someone who would be confident and natural in that setting - so the use of the technology was totally appropriate.

    This is my long-winded way of suggesting that if you are looking for someone who needs to be a digital native with this kind of working, able to present themselves confidently remotely and work efficiently with video technologies - then the process itself can be a good test of skill.
  • In reply to Lesley:

    I had the same experience as a candidate. I was given a certain time limit to respond which adds the extra dimension of trying to structure the answer to fit the time limit. I went over on one question and was cut off. I found that slightly unnerving and thought it affected how I dealt with the subsequent question. I was very surprised when I got through to the final two.
  • In reply to Nina Waters:

    I think asynchronous (recorded) interviews differ from Skype interviews in a number of ways. The questions are pre-recorded, with set time limits for responses, and as others have mentioned there is no interaction with the interviewer. So there's no active listening cues or probing questions which, as others have highlighted, can make candidates self conscious. On the plus side for candidates, the interview can be conducted at any time and place within whatever deadline has been set.
  • In reply to Nina Waters:

    We interview most of our staff by Skype only. When we're 8000 miles and a £1600 return flight from our primary recruitment pool, travelling to interview in person is not really financially viable. Live video interviews are a very different experience to asynchronous ones though. Part of the test of whether or not someone might fit here is actually whether or not they are comfortable with that distance and brave enough to take a job without having been to the place!
  • In reply to Lesley:

    Thanks very much for all the contributions to date.

    I wondered if anyone has had experiences from the employer side of using recorded video interviews as a tool in the selection process?
  • In reply to Samantha:

    Hi Samantha,

    An interesting point you have made - coincidentally I actually withdrew myself from a recruitment process for a local government authority because they were using such a tool. I got in touch with the provider to reach out about my concerns and if a face-to-face was optional but did not get a response. My concern is that companies are missing out on experienced, viable candidates literally at the first hurdle.

    I agree that for tech/marketing businesses this would be a cutting edge approach but for me, it completely killed IMO, the important initial human interaction which starts that bond between employer and employee.
  • In reply to Lauren:

    It's interesting how negatively video interviews seem to be viewed by HR colleauges. Our University Careers Service, in common with many others, trains students on how to present themselves effectively in these interviews. I wondered if there are generational differences in attitudes to video interviews?
  • In reply to Marc:

    Could be. Just watched a Ted talk stating that in the last 30 years, the proportion of US students showing narcissistic and empathic traits has reversed (in the 80s, 70% of students showed empathy, 30% showed narcissism, now it's apparently the other way around). Not entirely possible to extrapolate from the US to the UK of course but I believe there is some evidence here of similar developments.
    I found it unnerving to be interacting purely with software because getting no feedback at all feels made me feel self concious and uncomfortable (like being caught "preening" in a mirror or talking to a brick wall!). Maybe not so much of a problem for someone with narcissitic traits?