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Presenting from Afar: the Pros and Cons of Video Interviews

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In today’s ever changing working environment flexibility is key to productivity. This flexibility doesn’t just start with your already contracted employees but should begin at the interview phase. Discover the pros and easily overcome cons to video interviews.

So, your ideal job candidate doesn’t work nearby or is on a tight schedule but you need to interview them before a formal job offer can be made. One solution that presents itself is to do the whole thing by video interview. Sure there are pros and cons, but the cons can be addressed with the right equipment and policies.

The pros of video interviews are considerable, even when the logistics suggest that face to face meetings might be manageable. The clearest is the ecological argument; if you’re hiring someone who is perhaps from another country then yes they could come and see you by plane but wouldn’t you rather they didn’t?

During the financial crisis, the environment took a back seat as a business priority but fresh research suggests it’s re-emerging. Virtual meetings also mean saving time; catching a plane for an interview, even on an internal flight, takes around an hour before check-in and more afterwards. A train from London to Brighton makes for a 90-minute round trip. Not forgetting the expense of reimbursements for travel. 56% of global CFOs would invest in video conferencing to reduce travel. This is productive time for the candidate, who is also likely to be favourably impressed that a prospective employer is accommodating his or her time rather than expecting them to drop everything.

Video interviewing allows recruitment from a wider talent pool as a larger number of candidates can be reached across a larger geographic area. This means that it is easier to access those people with a rare skill set that can really benefit your business in a way that perhaps traditional recruiting methods can’t. What’s more as long as the candidate understands a recording is being made you and your team can retain the video interview to review at a later date and ensure that you are making the right decision.

So what are the downsides?

There are a few. First, you’re dependent on the candidate’s internet connection. The old cliché about every chain being as strong as its weakest link is never truer than when dealing with what may be a local internet connection – so when planning your interview, the first thing to ask is about the quality of the connection at the other end, and indeed the quality of the camera and microphone in use.

Video interviews can be supplemented by face-to-face interviews when a candidate reaches a certain stage of the recruitment process. So, before embarking upon video interviews, consider when you’re going to use them and why.

A related point is that you should never forget that some people aren’t comfortable with cameras. Someone whose job won’t involve on-camera presenting shouldn’t be judged too harshly on their performance on video. However Generation Y, perhaps the most technologically astute generation, may be more willing to submit initial video interviews in a pitch-style process.

Video as a recruitment tool

Only 7% of recruiters don’t use video at all, whether it’s for pre-screening or any other reason. The trick to getting it right is in remembering it’s a people process as well as a technological advance – and should smooth the recruitment process both for you and your candidates.

Additionally with millennials rapidly becoming the majority of your workforce, it is essential to meet their demands for flexibility in order to remain competitive. Using video interviews as part of your recruitment process can demonstrate your flexibility as a company, and you will be meeting the most technologically astute generation on their own turf.  Besides, 87% of millennials say that they would prefer to work for a video enabled company over one that has no interest in video.

Takeaways:

  • Video conferencing can save you time, money and improve your HR processes
  • Problems, such as internet connectivity, can be addressed through the use of unified communications
  • Candidates are more likely to be attracted to your firm if you use modern technology

Discover how video conferencing can help you retain your recruits, downloading: ‘The connected business: How and Y – strategies for retaining millennial talent

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About the author

Annemarie, leads and implements the HR strategy across northern Europe at Arkadin Collaboration Services. She is passionate about the role of unified communication in company communications and employee recruitment and retention.

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