Video recruitment: Play, pause, then hire

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We investigate how to use pre-recorded video for recruitment most effectively, and its potential pitfalls

You only have to look at social media to see that video is booming. And its popularity shows no signs of slowing, with Cass Business School predicting that video usage will “explode” to become 80% to 90% of all global internet traffic by 2019. But Cass’s research also shows that businesses are not embracing video as quickly as they should be – including HR.

Pre-recorded video for recruitment is a no-brainer when you consider the benefits: a more human insight into the candidate, time and cost savings, an enlarged talent pool, a branding opportunity, assurance the application is definitely being made by the candidate, more flexibility for both candidate and recruiter, and the ability to share the interview to reduce bias.

That’s not to say the process is without pitfalls. Which is why we’ve asked four recruiters already using video, or about to embark on it, for their top tips.

DO your research so you select the right technology

Lucy Saunders, UK university recruitment lead for Microsoft, has been using video interviewing for three years. She partly attributes success to opting for LaunchPad, which personalised the format. “LaunchPad was able to skin the platform to our exact requirements and branding, as well as allow space to upload bespoke employer videos and copy to enable us to be consistent in our look and feel as an organisation. This makes the candidate experience differentiated and positive.”

DON’T introduce yourself in an overly polished way

Vodafone’s global head of resourcing Catalina Schveninger started using video in recruitment via HireVue three years ago. The platform is now used in seven markets and will go global by the end of the year, eventually replacing traditional applications.

“Personalise the experience as much as possible because corporates tend to be impersonal,” she says. “We start with a video of a senior manager at Vodafone welcoming the candidate. They talk a bit about themselves too, and give advice. It’s friendly, colloquial and not a polished video, often filmed in a Vodafone store if that’s where they’ll end up working.”

DO carefully consider the task you set, and whether you allow multiple attempts to complete it

Ad network WPP integrated video into its fellowship recruitment this year. Director Jon Steel believes the best way to see candidates’ true personalities is by asking something along the lines of: ‘If you were organising a dinner party which three people, living or dead, would you invite?’

“It’s a fun, slightly personal question that people can debate with friends,” says Steel. “Some recruiters get candidates to pitch themselves, but that’s hard. It encourages people who wouldn’t usually be wacky to try and stand out. But I don’t think video should be a test. It should be another tool to introduce yourself to that person.”

He also allows applicants to take as many attempts as they like. “Some had clearly done it first take, some on the seventeenth. You can tell. Some are fluent and spontaneous, others are working hard at it. This also tells you about their personality,” he says.

DO be clear what criteria you are assessing candidates on

Rachel Rojas, kitchen HR and development manager at Gaucho Restaurants, has been researching the possibilities of using video in her recruitment. She’s concluded that, because it’s easy to be seduced by personality on screen, it’s crucial that different roles have a clear video selection criteria.

For kitchen staff, such as a chef, conveying personality is much less important than technical skills and passion for the job. Video isn’t out of the question, says Rojas, but it would need to be combined with more traditional ways to assess technical expertise, such as a CV.

“We’re not saying we don’t care about the personalities of the chefs,” she adds. “We’re saying your CV, your attitude to your trade, and what skills you have are more important. Watching a video for a front of house applicant I’d be asking myself different questions like ‘does this person look nice? Do I want to be their friend? Are they the kind of person I’d want to hang out with’? Because the labour market for front of house is so competitive and there’s a skills shortage, we are increasingly looking for personality and potential, rather than experience, so video makes sense.”

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