Videos increasingly used by recruiters and candidates

Jessica Abelsohn


written on November 25, 2015

With unemployment figures high and the battle for quality candidates keen, it pays to stand out from the crowd. A search on YouTube for ‘video resume’ produces more than 500,000 hits. But what has caused this shift and what does it mean for human resources professionals?

There are a range of reasons – one of which is the younger generation’s relationship with technology, says Josh Tolan, CEO of Spark Hire, a video-interviewing platform used by more than 50 organisations worldwide. “Young people are more comfortable being in the public eye, showing who they are. It’s the extrovert and exhibitionist coming out.”

According to Davin D’Silva, recruitment manager, advice and services at Suncorp, technology is changing the recruitment landscape. “Today, technology is facilitating alternative mediums for candidates to provide information about themselves to employers.” Examples include videos, Prezi presentations, resumes built to look like eBay auctions or even a video game.

Integrating video into the recruitment process is making it more efficient and effective, according to Tolan. “It helps employers gain more insight on important personality and non-verbal cues earlier in the process,” he says.

Not surprisingly, those spruiking the technology agree. Benjy Gilman, co-founder at MyInterview, an online video recruitment platform, says: “People have become more tech savvy and therefore have the opportunity to use different mediums to apply for jobs. But employers are also becoming more time poor and are looking for efficiencies wherever possible. Video makes their job a lot easier as it gives them a better picture of whether or not a candidate is the right person for them.”

The video interview

Non-traditional resumes are not the only things changing in the HR industry. Hiring processes are moving more towards digital as well. Commonwealth Bank employs video among a number of techniques to ensure they get to know the person behind the CV. “CVs can only tell part of the picture for the individual, so we spend a great deal of time getting to know a candidate’s personality, skills, and career aspirations in other ways [through video interviewing, assessment centres, psychometric tests and face to face interviewing] to ensure we objectively find the best talent for the role and the organisation,” says James Elliott, general manager, talent strategy and acquisition.

Suncorp has been using video interview technology for a couple of years now and believes it’s a worthwhile tool to recruit people, especially graduates. “Telephone interview scheduling was quite restrictive and time consuming,” says D’Silva. “We get that extra dimension of information from the candidate that we weren’t getting from a telephone interview. For example, seeing the way they present themselves and identifying their enthusiasm and motivation through their body language.”

For Commonwealth Bank, video interviewing is all about ensuring convenience for the candidate and efficiency for the recruitment team. “The video interview provides our managers with an enhanced feel for the candidates’ experience, personality and potential,” Elliott says. “It also saves candidates from having to repeat answers to questions when they meet other people later through the recruitment process, as line managers will already have seen their answers to these initial questions.”

Gilman believes video interviewing is only going to become more accepted as time goes by, so it’s important to jump on board. “Video interviewing will become a standard part of the recruitment process for employers of all sizes due to its affordability, ease of use and effectiveness in sorting applicants.” 

Risk of bias

Bias can occur in any recruitment situation. Is the potential for unconscious or conscious bias that much greater when video is part of the process? Kyle Scott, senior associate at Australian Business Lawyers and Advisors, thinks not.

“I can’t see it increases any legal risks. Most employers will meet the candidate before offering them a job, so getting a video resume doesn’t give you any more information. What it does is bring forward the opportunity to discriminate if someone was so inclined to do so, but it doesn’t give more opportunity to discriminate.”

Where there could be problems is if an employer says they will only accept video resumes, says Scott. “That opens up potential discrimination against people who might not have access to technology, who live in a remote or regional area, or who aren’t tech savvy. That’s alright if it’s a tech job they’re going for, but not if it’s for a cleaner,” Scott says.

“A good recruiter uses the information in front of them and doesn’t get swept up in superficial extras,” D’Silva says. “If you have agreement on the competencies you are looking for in an ideal candidate and assess each person against these, then there shouldn’t be any bias.”

Elliott believes going digital actually helps avoid unconscious bias. “Studies have shown that digital interviewing increases objectivity as [it can be seen that] all candidates are asked the same questions and recruiters are held to account, as the interviews can be reviewed to see if bias has occurred,” he explains.

The way of the future

When it comes to the future of recruitment, most experts agree that technology and peer-to-peer networking will play a major role. According to Gilman, the use of social media in the hiring process is only going to intensify. “Business is becoming more social and recruitment will follow this trend.”

D’Silva agrees. “It’s probably only a matter of time until there’s a technology solution to curate content from our social presence and peer reviews, and turn it into ranking or a compatibility index with employer values and resourcing requirements.”

This article is an edited version. The full article was first published in the November 2015 issue of HRMonthly magazine as ‘Talking heads’. AHRI members receive HRMonthly 11 times per year as part of their membership. Find out more about AHRI membership here.

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3 thoughts on “Videos increasingly used by recruiters and candidates

  1. Thanks for the article, this is helpful. Video resumes are on the rise, as are Skype interviews. What is not covered here is how a candidate should prepare for a Video Interview. Apart from the normal interview preparation, there is the extra prep needed for the technology required.

    Issues that need to be addressed by the candidate are:

    1. Where will they conduct the interview – what will be visible from their end?
    2. What technology – downloads are required for the interview?
    3. Do they need a good internet connection for the interview – as it is live streaming?
    4. Can they use their notes – and will this be visible from the screen?
    5. Will it be recorded, and is this legal?

    The final things that the candidate needs to consider is the “TV Presenter techniques” necessary for the video interview; limiting fidgeting or movement and sitting still, camera angles and screen size, sound and voice projection.

    Just a few extra things the anxious candidate needs coaching on I think.

  2. I’ve recently heard of an arm of the public service now doing video interviews however these are automated processes with no ‘interviewer’ at the other end. Candidates are required to answer questions written on screen, are asked to look at a camera (hard to then read the question) and talk to a video. Questions are also timed. Forgive me but I’m not sure how much you would learn about a person in this situation other than how do they react in awkward situations when they’re on the clock talking to no one? I understand the element of putting someone on the spot but I’d much rather see someone’s body language and see how they go about building rapport with an interviewer at the other end. Just another waste of taxpayer money I’d say.

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