Interview For One, Please!

Thursday morning I sat on the fifth floor of O’Neill library locked away in a study room and talked to myself for an hour. Well, actually I talked to my computer camera as the green light next to it stared back at me.

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Me looking like a crazy person socializing with my computer

I’d never done a video interview before, nevertheless a one-way video interview. For those who don’t know, a one-way video interview, or asynchronous interview, is usually used in the beginning stages of the interview process as a way to quickly and easily get to know candidates. An employer will present questions to the candidate either through text or video form, then the candidate will be allowed a period of time to think about their answer and a number of takes they can use to record their answer and potentially re-record. The questions, the amount of think time, and the number of takes is all decided by the recruiter or hiring manager. Before viewing each question, the candidate is told how long they have to think their answer through and how many takes they are allotted.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-22728-1436924801-6.gifSo, for my one-way video interview I wore my best (well, my roommates best) solid-colored blouse, put on a fresh-face, and styled my hair. I had my BC padfolio sitting next to me with my resume ready to reference in case the nerves got the best of me and I completely blanked on my own past experiences (luckily, that irrational fear never happened). I had a pamphlet I received from an employee of the company describing the position ready at hand, and I had two pages of notes/potential questions and answers by my side to quickly reference during the think period. I was locked and loaded, but behind my seemingly unwavering smile, I felt nervous and awkward.

Digitally infused interviews are a controversial way of conducting interviews, although for the past decade it appears that video interviews are the popular trend especially for entry-level to mid-level positions. With six in ten HR managers turning to virtual interviews, it is an important feature in the interview process that doesn’t seem to be letting up. Even so, there are pros and cons specifically for one-way video interviews for both the employer and candidate through the digital process.

PROS

  1. Time efficient for both parties. For one-way video interviews neither party has to coordinate with the other to schedule the interview. A candidate can record within the allotted time whenever they see convenient and the employer can review the interview whenever they see convenient and however many times they choose to. They also can have multiple HR managers and recruiters review the interview on their own time.
  2. Cost effective for both parties. The employer and candidate don’t have to fund a trip to fly or drive out a candidate to an early stage interview. Or vice versa, the company doesn’t need to fund an employee to go out to a campus or conference to meet with the candidate. The cost for a company to subscribe to an interview site would be worth it especially when they’re interviewing multiple out-of-state candidates.
  3. Employers can gauge a candidates presentation skills and how well they handle slightly uncomfortable situations, like speaking to a camera alone in a room.

CONS

  1. As a candidate, the one-way interview 
    anxious

    “Did I just do an amazing job or a horrible job, I do not know.”

    of course felt unnatural and quite awkward. There was no way to gauge how I was performing throughout  the interview. Without a real-person interviewer on the other end of the video, I couldn’t read if my answers were clear and concise enough for the company.

  2. As a candidate, a one-way video interview can deter a potential employee from the job. It is impossible to learn more about the position or the company. It can make a candidate feel undervalued in the interview process.
  3. As a candidate, apparently employers can 
    laughing-business-people-at-computer-in-office-G1WG9M

    How I imagine the HR managers reacting to my multiple retakes.

    watch each take you record, even if you re-record! Imagine my reaction when I found this out after re-recording each answer about four times until I got the perfect response down! I tried my best to sound natural in my answers, however, now they will know each “natural” decision I made was rehearsed in my previous takes. (Hopefully this can be seen as caring a lot about the position and not OCD).

  4. For employers, they can wrongfully judge a candidate. Some people do better avoiding face-to-face interactions, which may show in later stages of the interview process, however, through a video interview they can avoid telltale signs.

As you can see, through my experience I was able to find more cons than pros in the one-way interview process. Yes, it was convenient, but overall I would have respected the company’s recruiting process more had there been an actual person on the other end engaging in conversation with me.

I would love to hear your guys thoughts or experiences on the one-way interview process. Are there any pros and cons I forgot to consider?

Let me know your opinions, as I’m sure this will not be the last time someone in our class encounters a slightly awkward online interview!

 

Sources

https://mashable.com/2013/07/24/video-interviews/#taGQXIvDeSq5

 

9 comments

  1. profgarbusm · ·

    Hi Tara,
    Just wanted to say that I agree with almost 100% regarding all the pros and cons of one way interviewing. I actually just had my first with FSM a few weeks ago, and it felt very disconnected and awkward. I was not able to feed on my interviewers body language and it just left me feeling very strange. While I definitely understand from a business perspective doing such a thing, it does make me (as a candidate) feel slightly less appreciated and has definitely generated some negative connotations for the company!

  2. oliverhowe14 · ·

    This is super relevant as I literally just finished a one way video interview about ten minutes ago. It was super awkward, I had no idea if what I was saying was what they wanted to hear of if I was rambling or whatever. I understand that it is a convenience thing, but I wasn’t a fan of it. I have done a Skype interview before, and it felt pretty normal. Hopefully the world moves more towards Skype or video chat than towards these awkward one way video interviews.

  3. addisonBC2018 · ·

    Tara – I found this post extremely relevant because I just had a video interview last week, and it was painfully awkward! While I do think it can be a time efficient screening process, ultimately I think it won’t show enough personality for an employer to gauge if they want the candidate to move on to the next round. I think a 10-minute phone screening with a recruiter can tell infinitely more about a person and their potential at a company than some awkwardly rehearsed responses to standard questions. Great post!

  4. Lucy Wilson · ·

    Great post, Tara! I think this comes at a really great time, considering many companies are switching to this practice exclusively, especially for first round interviews. To your list of “pros,” I would add three of my own thoughts.

    First, I would argue that this type of interview allows a company to hear from more candidates in the first round. In the traditional interviewing process, a company might only have the resources to offer, say, 10 first round interviews. On the contrary, this system allows recruiters to hear from a wider range of candidates.

    Second, I would argue that this type of interview benefits the increasing number of employers that are more focused on soft skills and less focused on technical skills. The recorded video interview provides a great supplement to the more quantifiable resume. An employer can easily tell, as you mentioned above, how a candidate handles him or herself in awkward, uncomfortable situations.

    Finally, I would argue that this type of interview is beneficial in that more recruiters can contribute to hiring decisions. During my internship this past summer, I spoke with a couple of people on my team about how they handle recruiting. The two people in charge particularly liked this process because it allowed them both to be “present” for the interview on their own time, regrouping to discuss the results at a later date. More importantly, however, it allows them to pass the video along to another member of the team if they are unable to come to a decision within themselves. This provides a leg up on traditional interviews, which cannot be replayed and cannot have infinite people in the room.

  5. Tara, I have sooo been there! I don’t think I’ve ever ended a video interview and thought “well that went well!” This option is definitely a time and cost-effective, as you mentioned, but I also think companies use it as a way to weed out candidates. They probably assume that only those who are really interested in the position will put themselves through the torture that is one-way interviews and therefore use it as a way to sort their candidate pool. I also 100% agree with Matt’s comment — if I took the time to apply to a position, I’d like to think a recruiter could give me 10-15 minutes of their time to discuss the role.

  6. danmiller315 · ·

    I have done multiple video interviews over the past few years and I found it to be a very frustrating process. I think you did a really good job with covering the pros and cons for both parties involved. I get that there are many benefits from a company’s perspective to conduct video interviews, but for me it shows that your company is more interested in finding an adequate candidate efficiently than taking time to find the perfect candidate for a position. Part of what makes an in-person interview valuable is that the interviewer can physically evaluate how the candidate reacts in a social situation. The situation that occurs in a video interview is not natural by any means and is not representative of the types of situations that you might encounter in the potential role.

    One of the cons that I think you could also consider about the video interview is that it doesn’t provide the candidate the opportunity to ask the interviewer questions at the end of the interview, which some people regard as the most important part of the interview. For me, the final part of the in-person interview has always been my time to show the interview that I did my research in the position and am genuinely interested in learning more about the company.

    Companies receive so many applications nowadays, so I don’t blame them for trying to make the process more efficient. But if they expect us as candidates to show that we are truly interested in the position, then they should show that they are truly interested in us and make an effort to meet with prospective hires in-person, even if it means an increase in cost.

  7. Of course, you’re assuming that face-to-face interviews are that good to begin with. In fact, most of the research suggests that in person interviews just serve to get people who are like the interviewer. Video interviews might be helpful in this instance, because it will serve as a more efficient matching mechanism. At least you can apply for multiple positions without having to keep coming back for interviews.

  8. mariaknoerr · ·

    I have never been a involved in this type of interview before, but have done my share of Skype interviews. For the past few years I have been on the interviewer side of the screen. For every hiring process I have been involved in, we conduct first-round phone interviews, second-round Skype interviews, and final round in-person interviews. I maintain this is a solid strategy in order to test candidates in different situations and provide multiple opportunities to present their best selves. I also think one of the most important aspects of conducting an interview is the manner in which the candidate can interact with others, think on their feet, and pose questions back to me. I think the questions candidates ask in an interview are just as important as the answers they give to my questions. This interaction is eliminated in a one-way video interview. I understand the convenience of this method, but I don’t think the end result will be as telling as a phone call or Skype interview.

  9. Jobabes121 · ·

    Tara, thank you for the great post and this is something that I’ve experienced multiple times. As so many people already touched upon the pros and focused on the employers’ perspective, I would like to take the candidates’ perspective and some interesting perspectives that are not considered. Video interviews are great tools for efficiency, which is an undeniable truth. However, there are many factors that can misguide the point of the interview. It now becomes how best to formulate the answer and provide the best recording, not necessarily showing the uniqueness of the candidate’s answer. I also learned that there is an algorithm that evaluates the candidates’ answers based on their tone, posture, etc., not the content. If there are, let’s say, more than 10,000 videos for the recruiters to watch, they would possibly not be able to watch every single one of them, even the re-dos. I just believe that the hiring process should have more personal touch, especially if they think the candidates deserve interviews in the first place (some companies offer video interviews in the first part of the application process).

    Also, what if one did a much better try their second try than their third try? How does that play a role? This video interview process frustrates me quite a bit (including the fact that I am very bad at it), because I don’t think it accurately captures one’s genuine answer with many restrictions and external factors that hinder one from showing his/her full potential. Interview, in my opinion, requires a personal touch, and if the recruiters want to incorporate further steps in the application process to filter more candidates, online tests (SHL for instance) would be more suitable for the applicants. Video interview just makes me sad because I lost great, great opportunities after failing them, and I know for a fact that I can do whole of a lot better in person. Sad truth, more companies are doing it…..

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