Lights, Camera, ACTION! Video Job Interviews Moving into Mainstream

Is a video job interview in your future? If you’re competing—or will be competing—for one of the higher-end positions available today in major companies, the answer is quite probably “yes,” and you can expect to encounter one of these types of interviews sooner rather than later. So, if your professional brand/image is not currently “shining,” you might want to start “buffing” it up for the camera!

Some of the recruiting offices in the worldwide MRINetwork, of which my recruiting firm, Hire To Win, is a part, have already begun selectively using the video interview approach with candidates (with quite positive results) and my firm will soon be moving in that direction as well.

“Most of the media coverage these days about recruiting is devoted to social networking, mobile recruiting, and blogging,” says Dr. John Sullivan, formerly the chief talent officer at Agilent Technologies (the 43,000-employee HP spin-off) and now a professor of management at San Francisco State University, “but the recruiting technology is likely to have the most impact if it continues to catch on at the current rate it is interviewing candidates ‘live’ from remote locations.”

Dr. Sullivan calls this approach “interviewing from anywhere,” and says it has been made possible today because of current widespread broadband Internet access and inexpensive webcams, factors that heretofore restricted video interviewing as a feasible alternative to the “face-to-face” interview.

Literally hundreds of firms have already begun routinely using video interviews, Dr. Sullivan says, and usage is accelerating across a variety of businesses and industries. Not surprisingly, the first-users tended to be high-tech and communications industries, e.g., Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Google, Broadcom, et al. Today’s users now also include PepsiCo, UCLA, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, et al., and the list grows daily.

How the Approach Works

While the companies offering video interviewing assistance to recruiters and candidates may each offer some unique “bells and whistles,” the general approach taken by the companies is essentially the same. The company that my firm has chosen to work with, Interview4, is quite typical.  It offers THREE basic approaches to the process:

  • A virtual one-way interview (interview is recorded and candidates don’t see the questions until they have to answer them);
  • A virtual one-way showcase (candidates get the questions in advance and get the chance to refine their answers before recording them ); or
  • A live two-way (just what the term implies, it’s “live” between the candidate and the hiring company!).

Initially, my firm will use the one-way showcase to submit candidates for consideration. Here is the approach we will take:

  • Currently, clients (hiring companies) receive an email from our recruiting firm with a written summary about the candidate and the candidate’s résumé. A one way showcase will be now added.
  • The hiring company will give us four questions they want the candidate to answer.
  • The four questions will be given to the candidate, as well as be programmed into the video website.
  • The candidate will sign on to the Interview4 website and answer the questions and videotape himself/herself. The candidate will be able to review (and redo, if necessary!) until he/she is satisfied with both the content of the answers and how he/she looks “on camera.”

The candidate will  be required to have a webcam attached to the device he or she is using for the interview, of course, e.g., a desktop computer, laptop, smart phone, etc. Most candidates already have a webcam, but for those who don’t, an inexpensive one can be purchased for around $25 at the larger retail chain stores such as WalMart.

Video Interviewing Advantages—for Companies and Candidates

While some job candidates (you?) will undoubtedly blanch at the mere thought of having to jump through yet another “hoop” in the hiring process, the fact of the matter is, early results are showing potentially significant advantages for both hiring companies and job candidates.

Two of the more significant advantages for the hiring companies include:

  • Substantially reduced costs in the initial screening/candidate acquisition process, i.e., rather than incurring the costs of bringing in a candidate who does well on a telephone interview and “looks good on paper” for a face-to-face interview, companies using video interviewing are also able to “see” the candidates in action and then make a more informed decision about whether or not to advance the candidate in the job search.
  • Significantly reduced time in filling positions because the screening process has become both more streamlined and far more selective “up front.”

Potential advantages for job candidates include:

  • Substantially reduced “waiting time” to learn the fate of one’s candidacy. Many hiring companies using the video interview approach are able to cut from two to four weeks off the entire hiring process! Once they view the video interview, some companies decide to skip the telephone interview entirely and bring the successful candidates in for an immediate face-to-face interview.
  • The perception by hiring companies that candidates who use (or are willing to use) the video interview, necessarily, tend to be the more “sophisticated,” higher-quality candidates.

To be sure, video interviewing, like most emerging technology, probably will never become a mainstay in the entire job market. (For example, I don’t see fast food chains using the approach anytime soon to hire entry level positions.) More likely, the technology and approach will probably be largely reserved for entry level professional positions and above. But you can be assured of one thing: the technology and approach seem to be here to stay. Are you ready?


Be watching for Skip’s new book in the “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets series of bestselling job-hunting books and publications, Career Stalled?How to Get Your Career Back in ‘High Gear’ and Land the Job You Deserve—Your Dream Job! TM Publication is scheduled for spring 2013.


Skip Freeman is the author of the international bestselling job hunting book “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever! ( and is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The HTW Group (Hire to Win), an Atlanta, GA, Metropolitan Area Executive Search Firm. Specializing in the placement of sales, engineering, manufacturing and R&D professionals, he has developed powerful techniques that help companies hire the best and help the best get hired.