The Growing Role of Video in Recruitment and Interviewing

According to a study by PGI, video interviewing has increased 49 percent since 2011. Six in 10 recruiters currently incorporate video into the interview process. Sixty-six percent of candidates say they prefer it. Here are some things to consider when adding it to your HR strategy if you are a company or your personal job search if you are a candidate:

Is it Legal?

Yes, with parameters. According to the EEOC, it is not illegal for an employer to learn the race, gender or ethnicity of an individual prior to an interview; however, video can increase the risk or appearance of discrimination. All individuals should be provided equal, nondiscriminatory treatment throughout the hiring process. Employers need to focus on the person’s qualifications, be sure that all candidates go through the same process and receive the same set of questions. If recording the interview, be sure that the candidates have agreed. Candidates, as the employer is focusing on your qualifications, should be able to communicate effectively.

What types of technology is available?

A one-way (asynchronous) requires the employer to independently create interview questions and watch the video responses on their own. Candidates independently answer the questions and record their responses via video. A live video interview allows an employer and candidate connect face to face via webcam (via cloud service, Skype, or other service).

How do I stand out from the crowd?

Employers can compete for top talent using video as an attractive option. Storytelling on the recruiting side is maximized by video and it is a great tool for discovering if a candidate is the right fit. Interviewing a large number of people in a short amount of time becomes possible and cost efficient.  If your candidate pool is Gen Y or younger, video is a must.

Candidates should plan, prepare, and practice. Know your resume inside and out, and have it at your fingertips. Engage the camera as if it were a person. Research appropriate dress and grooming (hair, makeup, nails, etc.) for video, clean the camera lens and test the technology including sound, minimize distracting body language, and avoid photobombs by kids and pets. Once the basics are covered, then you need a wow factor. Recently, we video interviewed a U.S. military veteran who used a background with a single American flag. The only thing he didn’t have was an apple pie or a Chevy. It worked. De-clutter your surroundings then use space behind you to sell your work-related accomplishments and create a memorable dialogue. If you are applying for a warehouse position, you could have a poster in the background that says, “Zero work-related accidents in the last 20 years.”

Video interviewing can be your edge. How will you use it to your advantage?

Written by Jim Annis, President/CEO of The Applied Companies, which provide HR solutions for today’s workplace. Celeste Johnson, Tom Miller, and Suzanne Chennault, Applied’s division directors, contributed to this article.

July 2014 HR Brain Teaser

Brain Teaser Courtesy of EPLI Pro™

Underperforming Employee

You’ve had an employee who started work for you in 2012. Recently, she has been missing deadlines, becoming sloppy with her work, and isn’t performing as well as she had in the past. You talked to her but there wasn’t any documentation. During your conversation, the employee admitted to being careless. She told you she’d improve but she didn’t.

Yesterday this employee asked for a few days off to attend a convention for her church. You let her go but it didn’t help matters, her performance continued to slide. While she was out, you found a significant error that she’d made that impacted a customer.

Based on her decline in performance and the recently discovered error, you decide to terminate her. From your perspective, it shouldn’t have been a surprise; you’ve been talking to her about the problems.

You were shocked when you received a charge from the EEOC claiming discrimination based on religion. You didn’t fire her because of her religion, she wasn’t doing her job! You tried to explain that to the EEOC.

Likely, the EEOC responded:

A. They completely understood. Once you explained the course of events, they could understand why she needed to be terminated and dismissed the charge.

B. They asked you and her supervisor a lot of questions. It seemed like they were looking for ways that you’d discriminated against her. Making implications that you didn’t feel were accurate. It was very frustrating. You didn’t feel it went well and you don’t know what will happen next.

C. They asked to see documentation of her performance problems. They wanted to see the evidence that you’d talked to her. They asked if she was disciplined for her behavior, in writing. They asked a lot of questions about her absence and why you terminated directly after it. In the end, they concluded you had discriminated against her and her termination was retaliation for taking the time off to attend her church conference.

Answer:  C  Managers oftentimes simply talk to any employee about declining performance rather than doing a formal write-up. Like the case at hand, failure to write-up the employee can be a critical mistake. The only documentation in the employee’s file was positive performance reviews. You said she was underperforming but there’s no documented evidence of that. She engaged in protected activity, i.e. attending a religious conference, and was terminated shortly thereafter. You have no other documentation to show that she’d been warned previously and that your decision was based on progressive discipline. Without documentation, the EEOC concludes that the termination must be related to the employee attending the religious event. 

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The Best Interview Questions Asked By an Employer and the Best Candidate Responses

“Trendy” interview questions on the internet drive us crazy. Employers, you’re recruiting talent, not  trying to be cool. “How many cows are there in Canada?” isn’t going to get a skilled and qualified candidate to give you meaningful information. Candidates, you may not shine without a question’s connection to your responsibilities.

Employers - Great questions get past “the forehead” of the candidate. Legal questions eliciting relevant responses will determine the right fit. Seek the candidate’s locus of control (extent to which individuals believe that they can control events that affect them). Locus of control is either internal (the person believes they can control their life) or external (they believe that their decisions and life are controlled by environmental factors that they cannot influence, or by chance or fate). We want the former.

Candidates - Give truthful responses so you never have to “squirm.” Squirming happens when you are lying, have something to hide, or are trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. Be honest and comfortably confident. Answering the way you think an interviewer wants backfires. You can “hold your belly in for so long,” but you’ll let it out sooner or later. Know your strengths/weaknesses, go to the internet and research the company before the interview, and know your resume.

We’ve crafted a few favorite questions and the associated answers we would appreciate hearing:

Q: Tell us about a time when you reached a goal.

A: Have an example – work related not personal – prepared. This is a success/failure question. Include others in your story and be humble. Smart candidates link their own experience with the job description.

Q:  What do you love about work and why?

A: Your response should cause you to light up and have passion. Control your non-verbals. Truthful answers aren’t on the ceiling. Avoid looking up and creating something from thin air. We’re looking for a long-term values match.

Q: What is it that you are working on when you lose all track of time?

A:  Answer with what gives you joy. That thing that makes you wonder, “How did six hours pass so quickly?” Are you building something? Are you volunteering? It could be work related, or if not, then relate it to the position.

Q: How is disagreement valuable in the workplace?

A:  We value disagreement because it results in growth in the organization. There is always more than one right answer. This is supposed to make you uncomfortable. Don’t squirm.

Remember, relevant tops trendy every time in our HR world. We want good results for the company and the candidate.

Jim Annis is president/CEO of The Applied Companies, which provide HR solutions for today’s workplace. Celeste Johnson, Tom Miller, and Suzanne Chennault, Applied’s division directors, contributed to this article.