New media is all the rage! Be it Airports, Amusement parks, Office parties, Backyards, Rallies and Traffic signals, everyone is making videos. Be it in Uber, Tube, Home and let-my-hair-down time in office, everyone else is watching them. YouTube, Vimeo, TikTok and what not, are bursting at seams and what is surprising, are the people who are making them, the Joe who lives next door or Jane who is quite girl in some corner of my office. It is indeed easy to whip out one’s phone, make a video and upload it somewhere.
With Zoom, Skype, Webex, BlueJeans, RIVS, Microsoft Team, Meet by Google and several others along with higher 4G/ 5G bandwidth, there is new professional culture to conduct meetings on such video conferencing platforms. They are effective as they save commute time, reduce travel expenses and give new agility to decision-making. People across and within the same organization across hierarchical levels are using them and thriving.
Combining above two phenomena, along side excruciating need to complete multiple rounds of interviews faster, there appears a logical possibility of “Why not conduct Video Interviews instead of in-person Interviews?”. We should be excited by this possibility, after all its good for everyone Applicant, Recruiter, Interviewers and Hiring Managers. Let us analyze the modus operandi and benefits.
Synchronous Video Interviews
Synchronous Interviews are those in which both parties, Applicant as well as Interviewers are opposite each other in real time whether in-person or on a video conference. These Video Interviews are great to the extent that they save travel expense, commute time and availability related time-delays. However, they do not change nature of the beast or improve advantages by 20x.
Asynchronous Video Interviews
To improve the advantages of Video Interviewing (over and above synchronous interviews) and sense that everyone should be willing and capable to do so, there is a thought emerging regarding “Why not email a set of questions to Applicant, for which she will record her answers on Video. We will watch those answers and decide”. Neat thought! let’s analyze this prospect before euphoria becomes irrational.
Applicant as human being and situations
As human beings, we are enthusiastic, willing to experiment and accept the challenges even before understanding those challenges. Following factors come as challenges to asynchronous “recording of answers to emailed questions” and feel proud of sending them
- Its easy to whip out a phone and point to a cat on tree, an accident on road, a poet on dais, a political rally, someone cutting cake or any such situation(s).
- Its much harder to point the camera to self. When pointed to self, there are two distinct scenarios
- It is relatively easy to give a rebuttal or show displeasure or rant against a topic, situation or personality.
- It is much harder to constructively talk and analyze oneself to camera. The questions sent to Applicant, fall in this category.
- Video Camera as a medium is unforgiving. Applicants do not live in Studios, once they have enthusiastically recorded their answers, they become painfully conscious of the what is going on in the video answer both visually as well as surrounding noise.
- When talking about themselves and their capabilities, people are partly thoughtful and partly talking and hence they are rarely fluent. The thinking, writing the answers, speaking, cutting ums and ohs make it very hard and time consuming to make even 2 min video on self.
- Some cultures do not allow Applicants to talk themselves up and hence Applicants remain tentative and not sharp in their answers.
The overall effort involved can actually drive some good Applicants away from the Organization!
Recruiters as recipient of Recorded Video Answers
Recruiters are humans too and have as many life pressures as anybody else. We should consider following pitfalls
- We predominantly watch videos for their novelty, trivia, titillations, shock, disbelief and re-alignment of knowledge.
- We watch some lengthy videos because we are highly motivated to learn something new as an individual and “choose” them with intrinsic motivation / reliable recommendations.
- Watching videos which are un-recommended by others, when outcome is uncertain, where production quality is poor, there are distracting noise and where fluency is broken, turns onto Recruiters as mind-numbing thankless task! Let’s assume if someone was given the Job of watching all the Stand-Up comedy videos one after another, day after day and week after week, the Job will not feel satisfying or even laughable after a month.
- Loss of Objectivity – it is not surprising that in a team of recruiters, someone will take lack of tidiness of Applicant’s recording room as mark of sloppiness while others may ignore it.
- Moreover, the whole thing becomes totally unwieldy when questions sent to Applicant are confused between capability assessment and other human qualities.
One of the globally renowned academic institution made Applicants send a 2 min pitch video “why should they be admitted”. It received those videos, but admission staff refused to watch them! After 2 years, the 2 min video pitch was taken off from Admission Process.
Video interviews are the future and experiment we must! but let us also bring requisite depth and rigor to “design it for everyone human involved, every step it involves, and where required additional technologies than just video recording, streaming and viewing”.