The possibilities inherent in the emergence of video interview technology are creating a lot of hype in the recruitment arena at the moment. Those that know me know I’ve never been one to follow a fad based on hype – I’m the type of person who will form my own opinion once I have experienced something first hand. While it’s clear that video interview technology has the potential to dramatically increase the efficiency of recruitment for high volume, low to mid-level roles, it is not suitable in all situations.
I’m concerned that we are becoming too robotic in our search for great talent. In my experience, employers that attempt to create a one size fits all automated solution for recruitment end up missing out on loads of brilliant talent. This is especially true in the senior ranks where people simply don’t want to engage that way, and you need the opportunity to assess the non-technical based assets of the candidate to develop a complete picture.
To be clear, there are three main ways of using video technology in the recruitment process. First is the use of Skype for an initial interview for candidates who are not in the same location as the recruiter/employer. This allows for a more global talent search without travel costs and time wastagescurrent hype is about, is pre-recorded interviews where candidates answer a standard set of questions which may be reviewed by a recruiter/ employer before formulating a shortlist. It is this use that I would recommend caution around.
First, I would recommend caution as it raises issues around confidentiality. For senior and even mid-level management candidates, the information they provide in an interview can be sensitive. Even being in contact with a recruiter in the first place requires complete confidentiality and trust. Many would feel uncomfortable video that is then saved in a database and available to be reviewed and shared outside of their control.
Another reason to exercise caution is that many of the candidates applying for senior Banking and Financial Services roles would not be comfortable with using video technology in the same way that graduates would. Beyond confidentiality issues, they may not be using video technology as a part of their everyday world, so many are uncomfortable engaging in a very serious part of their life via recorded video technology. The risk here is two-fold, firstly there is the risk of alienating candidates, reducing the talent pool for a role, and secondly there is the risk of not getting the best from the candidates that do apply as they are uncomfortable with the process.
The third reason that video technology may not be appropriate is that recruiters use non-verbal cues like body language or eye contact/engagement to judge personality, and character and the availability of this information is dramatically reduced in a video interview. For the senior roles that I recruit, many of the candidates are equally technically qualified and experienced and clients ask me to look for personality and character attributes as the deciding factor determining the successful fit for the role. In this situation, video is a much less effective tool. There is also much less flexibility in recorded video interviewing, it is strict and standardised, which doesn't allow for a recruiter to probe deeper into a candidate's responses where relevant. In my experience, a little flexibility in an interview and some clever questions can reveal surprising and highly relevant information about candidates. To achieve the best results once you reach a certain level of candidate seniority and experience, recruitment needs to be a flexible and responsive process.
In my opinion, recruitment of business critical talent in the Banking and Financial Services sector still needs to be a personalised and people focused process. While there may be some cases where using a video interview is appropriate for a first round interview due to geographical limitations, I would personally counsel a client never to go through the entire recruitment process without a face-to-face meeting. As you execute more senior and executive level roles, many key elements of the process don't stand to benefit from the efficiencies that video interviewing technology offers, but rather it can be detrimental to the process.
This is not to say that this technology doesn’t have an appropriate place or that the industry is not embracing the technology. In fact, the larger employers in the sector are leading the way in adopting video interviewing technology. They have the greatest benefits to be realised from using standard pre-recorded interviews to replace the initial phone screening interview for high volume and graduate level recruitment.
There may come a day in the future when this technology is appropriate for more senior level roles, but as far as I’m concerned, we are not there yet. Right now, face-to-face is always going to be my preferred method.
I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on and experiences with using video interviewing in the Banking and Financial services sector. If you would like to discuss this or other related subjects, please connect with me via Linked In.
To read more about the video technology being used in recruitment right now, download our whitepaper on Video Interview Technology.
Author: Trevor Bradley is the Director at Kelly Executive.