Monday Mornings with Madison

The Video Revolution – Part 1

Word Count:  1,347

Estimated Read Time:  5 ½  min.

Using Video to Recruit and Hire

The video revolution has been six decades in the making.  The first video cameras to capture color images were used only in television studios in the late 1950s.  They were huge, clunky and connected by wires. In 1982, Sony successfully released the first Betamax camera for news outlets, but this also ushered in the age of portable video camcorders anyone could use.  These recorders used uncompressed tape, which limited how much video could be recorded on one tape.  In 1986, Sony created the first all-digital video camera but the format was still uncompressed.  In 1993, Ampex developed the first compressed digital video camera, allowing hours of video recording on one tape for the first time.  That was less than 25 years ago.  Compressed digital video opened a floodgate of video products and innovations.  Thanks to those innovations, video has become an increasingly useful tool.

The next big leap happened when video recording capability was added to smart phones.  Video went from being a useful tool to becoming a vital, ubiquitous device to tell stories, capture moments, save time and even save lives.  And new social media sites made it possible to share amateur videos with the world.  Indeed, as of 2015, 300 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube every minute.  Today, that number is thought to be closer to 500 hours per minute.  Police are increasingly using “body cameras” to increase transparency and trust with the public as they serve and protect.  Homes and buildings are using surveillance cameras 24/7 to watch over people and property.  Video cameras have been installed at traffic lights to deter (or catch) drivers who run red lights.  Businesses are increasingly using video to market products and reach today’s video-driven audiences.  Now, even HR departments are starting to use video in the recruiting and hiring process, and for good reason.  It saves time and money for the company… and its applicants.  But beware, there are some possible pitfalls to avoid.

Using Video in the Hiring Process

Companies are now using Video as a highly useful tool to engage and draw in applicants, especially Millennials and iGens.  A recruitment video gives an organization a competitive edge, communicating to candidates how a company looks, feels and functions.   This goes far beyond what any job description or company resume could possibly say.  It can show the passion and dedication of staff and the authenticity of the work and corporate culture with a company.  It is easy to say any company is a “great place to work.”  But a video demonstrates that reality in living color.

To leverage recruitment videos, companies are posting those recruitment videos on YouTube, other social media websites such as LinkedIn, and embedding them on company career websites.  These recruiting videos will typically show a company, products and services, culture, and career opportunities. Typically, they feature real employees and managers giving personal testimonials. And, because videos can be produced at minimal cost, they can be relatively easy to create.

But the use of video in recruiting doesn’t stop there.  It is also being used in the interview process.  That’s because the costs related to the interviewing process are soaring and the process itself can be quite inefficient.  There are a number of costs associated with the hiring process including posting the job on job boards, reviewing applications, prescreening candidates, preparing for interviews, conducting interviews, testing, reference checks, hiring and onboarding new hires.   The more applicants there are, the more it costs and more time it takes.  And it takes, on average, 27 days to fill a retail position while it takes 51 days to fill a government position, and 83 days to fill a skilled middle management position.   Each day it takes to fill a job, the higher the costs.  Video interviews can help reduce both the cost and time considerably, which explains why big companies are embracing video interviews.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “Futurestep, a Korn Ferry company specializing in recruitment process outsourcing and professional search, polled 700 executives in June 2015. Nearly three-fourths of their companies are currently using real-time video platforms to interview leading candidates and 50% use video interviews as a way to narrow the candidate pool.”  Employers are using video interviewing platforms to conduct online interviews, which means employers can widen their search and consider national and international candidates at minimal expense.  These are audiences that were basically inaccessible just a decade ago.  By eliminating the need for travel for the first and second rounds of interviews, video saves companies a lot of time and money, and reduces the carbon footprint of the recruiting process.     These interviews can be recorded and then reviewed by others on the Interview team at a later time.  Many companies also video to demonstrate that the organization is tech-savvy.

Case in point.  Out of necessity, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. (NPC) decided to give video interviewing a try.  They were experiencing a significant increase in hiring and needed to expedite the process, ease the time impact on hiring managers, reduce the cost and improve the candidate experience.  In one year, they conducted 2,700 video interviews which saved them $475,000 in costs and reduced manager interview travel by 220 trips.  As a result, video interviewing became an integral part of their talent acquisition strategy.

Using Video to Facilitate Interviewing for Candidates

In addition to benefiting companies, it is also a huge savings of time and expense for the candidates as well.  Many times, first and second round interviews are meant to narrow the applicant pool.  Making the considerable investment of time and the effort that goes into dressing, traveling to and parking at a company is enough to turn some candidates off about applying to certain opportunities.  By conducting first and second round interviews using video, a candidate is able to apply to more jobs and feel more at ease and less drained during the early rounds of the interview process.  It doesn’t turn off candidates if they are expected to go through three and even four rounds of interviews if the initial ones are done via video.  Candidates also see video interviewing as a sign that the company is progressive because of its embrace of technology the recruiting process.

Similarly, job seekers are increasingly incorporating video segments into their online portfolios and LinkedIn profiles to be set apart from other candidates.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million.

Caution when Using Video

While recruitment videos and video interviews may seem like the perfect way to streamline both the recruiting and interviewing process, keep in mind that nothing is perfect.  There are some legal concerns associated with both recruitment videos and video interviewing.

First, companies creating recruitment videos should be careful to create videos that show a balanced workplace that offers equal opportunities to people of all religions, races, nationalities, etc.  A recruitment video, for example, that shows a workplace in which there are no minorities or women in leadership can give the impression of workplace discrimination, even if none actually exists.

There are also some legal concerns related to video interviews that hiring managers should consider.  First, there is more opportunity for potential discrimination (or give the impression of discrimination) during the screening process since protected traits are more visible.  It is also important to make the video interviewing process accessible to disabled applicants.  Hearing impaired applicants, for example, might need other accommodations.  And there is also an increased risk that video interviewing would cause managers to use informal questioning that is not allowed, such as asking a person’s age, marital status, or whether they have children.  Thus far, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has not voiced major objections to video interviewing but that may be only a matter of time.

While there are precautions a company should take, the benefits of incorporating video into the recruiting and interviewing process are many and clearly make sense, especially for larger and growing companies.  Companies that embrace this type of innovation are most likely to survive, thrive and succeed in today’s marketplace.

Quote of the Week

“A disruptive innovation is a technologically simple innovation in the form of a product, service, or business model that takes root in a tier of the market that is unattractive to the established leaders in an industry.” Clayton M. Christensen


© 2017, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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