Digital Interviews Expand Talent Pool, Offer Clear Assessment

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By Genevieve Douglas

Digital interviewing tools enable companies to take advantage of a global talent market, but traditional in-person interviewing should still be part of any final hiring decision, human resources professionals tell Bloomberg BNA.

Employers are using video technology in hiring in various ways, Mark Newman, founder of digital interviewing software provider HireVue, told Bloomberg BNA Dec. 21. One option is an on-demand interview platform with pre-populated questions, answered via video by the job candidate, he said. This is a fast way for candidates to engage with companies and for companies to assess applicants, Newman said.

Newman also described a hybrid video/job skills assessment software that includes some testing aspects of the job’s required skill set. HireVue further provides a Skype-style video conference where both parties can interact live, he said.

The majority of HireVue customers are using the on-demand video assessment tools, Newman said. These enable HR to analyze candidates’ recorded responses to predict how good a fit a person would be for an open position, he noted.

HR professionals who spoke with Bloomberg BNA described how digital interviews have streamlined their recruitment and hiring processes, but all agreed that the final interview should still be done in person.

Casting a Wide Net

Multinational businesses have found that the primary advantage of digital interview technology is the ability to reach candidates across the globe, Valerie P. Keels, head of D.C. office services for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, told Bloomberg BNA Dec. 20.

Gavi is a nonprofit whose mission is to increase access to vaccines for children in the world’s poorest countries, according to its website. The group has employees based in both Geneva and Washington, Keels said. Digital interviewing enables the organization to narrow down the list of job candidates, as it would be cost-prohibitive to fly every applicant to D.C. for an in-person interview, she said.

While the technology allows for increased efficiency with limited resources, candidates have reported that the process can feel less personal, Keels said. “Unless you’ve had media training, it’s kind of hard to stay on message,” which is more pronounced on video, she added.

Despite the drawbacks, however, Keels said, digital interviewing is the “wave of the future” for recruitment and hiring practices. “We are in a digital age and many applicants are comfortable in this social media, electronic environment,” she said.

According to Newman, companies are using this technology to more efficiently assess many candidates, saving time and money, but the platforms also let HR hire in “a much more inclusive way.” By casting a really wide net, employers can find the best talent for their organizations, he said, and digital interviewing far outpaces the resume process by opening up the potential pool of talent.

The technology also makes the hiring process more consistent, Newman said, so that candidates’ experiences are more fair. When HR can leverage technology, it can really have a controlled, consistent process for how people are hired, “and that improves the quality of the hire,” Newman added.

Increased Efficiency

Zappos has found that digital interviewing is an effective solution for recruiting challenges associated with its higher volume positions, such as internships and call center and entry-level positions, Rick Jordan, head of recruiting for the online shoe and fashion retailer, told Bloomberg BNA via e-mail Dec. 21.

According to Jordan, virtual interviews allow HR to set up interview questions that can be sent to applicants, which they can answer at their leisure, eliminating the need to schedule a one-on-one interview during normal business hours. In turn, those responses can then be reviewed thoughtfully when the recruiter is able (also not limited to normal business hours), he said. “The technology has helped us be more efficient and at the same time, allows us to get a better idea of the person we’re interviewing,” Jordan said.

The one drawback Zappos has experienced is that applicants for these entry-level positions may not have the necessary technology—such as a webcam or phone with a camera—to complete the process, Jordan said. When this happens, Zappos will instead give the person a phone interview, he said.

Potential Hurdles

Celtra found that digital interviewing has far surpassed phone interviews because it allows recruiters to see how candidates look and gesture, as well as their overall demeanor and personality, Rodney Alvarez, vice president of talent management at the digital advertising company, told Bloomberg BNA Dec. 20.

This kind of information gained from a video interview is “essential” to ensure the candidate is a cultural fit for the organization, Alvarez said.

However, many individuals don’t treat digital interviews as seriously as in-person interviews, Alvarez said. He cited candidates in pajamas, messy homes in the background, refusals to appear on camera and even a mid-afternoon cocktail as some of the ways applicants have botched their digital interview.

Alvarez added that some people are also uncomfortable with the technology, and look at themselves instead of the camera.

To contact the reporter on this story: Genevieve Douglas in Washington at gdouglas@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tony Harris at tharris@bna.com

Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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