The world of work has been transformed by the pandemic, and so too has the way that organizations recruit talent. Increasingly, HR tech is facilitating and automating more recruitment processes and connections more than ever before.
One virtual hiring trend rapidly gaining momentum? The asynchronous video interview, or AVI, where candidates record their answers to interview questions and send them back to HR. The AVI is not a new phenomenon by any means, but its popularity has increased since the pandemic by as much as 24%, according to a report in CBC.
Unlike a two-way Skype or Zoom interview, the AVI is a one-way process, with no online conversation between candidate and interviewer. Applicants receive an email invitation to participate, and follow a link to the AVI platform where they can record audio or video responses to the questions. After the AVI, the videos are scored by the recruiting manager, or in some cases, a computer algorithm, and the best candidates are selected. The videos can also be shared with other managers or team members.
So how does it affect the process? Take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages to the one-way job interview for candidates and recruiters.
The Advantages of the AVI
AVIs have many benefits, but perhaps the most important one is that the process provides a great deal of flexibility. Interviewee and recruiter can fit the recording and the screening of the video around their own schedules, saving time and bringing greater efficiencies to the process.
Do AVIs deliver better results? From a recruiter’s perspective, time-restricted interviews force candidates to be more succinct with their responses. The videos can also be shared among other hiring managers.
If done well, candidates get valuable insight into a company’s values and culture in a very efficient way. A short introduction video, for example, can set them at ease. And because the AVI creates a standardized job interview, there is a sense of creating a level playing field for all candidates that lends itself to improving diversity and inclusivity.
For candidates, including those who suffer from anxiety, or suffer from a disability, the AVI could alleviate some of the pressure in what can be a stressful experience. However, transparency around the process is vital. With the Adecco Group’s new Recruit Connect tool, for example, candidates know what is coming, have time to prepare and practice, and therefore maximize that all important ‘first impression’ -- which isn’t always possible with traditional interviews. They also have a second chance to record their answers.
As Rebecca Teague, Global Head of Talent Brokering at The Adecco Group, explains, the key to success with AVIs is being able to opt out.
“Should someone prefer a phone call, this is also feasible,” she said. “The purpose is to be as inclusive as possible and cater to different approaches.”
The Potential Disadvantages
In spite of the many advantages, some candidates have expressed mixed feelings about the AVI format. According to researchers at the University of Calgary, some candidates refuse to complete the digital interviews, possibly as a result of a poor previous experience with AVIs, or a fear of biased decisions. A recruiter can stop watching an AVI at any point, creating a potential for making snap decisions that result in biased decisions. The fact that companies’ algorithms are not publicly shared also raises questions about the way that AVIs are evaluated.
Some candidates find being recorded stressful, while others are simply not at ease with technology, and find face-to-face interaction allows them to make a better impression. The technology can sometimes work against the candidate.
A CBC report this year highlighted the experience of Beatriz Gascon, a student at the University of British Columbia, who made two attempts at recording a video interview for an internship. The first one was the best, however, it was the second that was submitted by the platform. She didn’t get the internship. Her preference is for face-to-face interviews, a format she describes as ‘more forgiving’.
Another potential pitfall for candidates is the loss of immediate feedback from a prospective employer, which can be valuable for any future interviews. In addition, the absence of spontaneous conversation with an interviewer leaves no opportunity for candidates to highlight their strengths – and make that personal connection.
AVI Systems in Action
Talent acquisition must be an inclusive process, with the focus on an individual’s skills, knowledge, experience, and what they can bring to the company, rather than their nationality, gender, race, age, or social background. The use of anonymous CVs, the use of a diverse panel making the final decision, and recruitment training, rather than one single individual or the hiring manager, should form part of the wider hiring process.
Technology has a role to play in gaining a more complete picture of the candidate to help avoid the risk of bias in the selection process. The Adecco Group, for example, uses several systems, including Recruitment Connect, and its new product Recruit Connect, as part of a pre-screening process that also involves plenty of human intervention.
“It is the human touch combined with a flexible digital experience for optimum flexibility,” said Rebecca Teague.
The Adecco Group France recently worked with Tour de France, using our own AVI Recruitment Connect to help screen and qualify candidates for a 2021 event. This began with a friendly email message inviting applicants to the process, which included a video interview stage for candidates to express their interest.
Of the 10,000 applications received, the system helped filter the top 1,500 applicants via their responses to initial screening questions. The remaining 8,500 candidates were directed to different internal talent pools where they were offered other opportunities. The system reduced the screening time by 50%.
Tips for Recruitment Teams and Companies
Ensure that candidates feel comfortable using technology and share tips with them on how to shine during an asynchronous video interview.
Provide clear instructions on how to use the chosen technology platform, and options for those who may need specific considerations, i.e. more time to review and prepare answers, language needs/requirements etc.
Set clear expectations for the candidate on what is expected from them. i.e. how should they dress, prepare themselves, and enhance the space around them to ensure a high quality video interview.
Providing feedback at every stage of the journey is important to candidates if they are to develop and improve next time. Where possible, provide real time feedback, otherwise, ensure they are given written feedback as part of a follow up.
Create a good candidate experience. Even when using AVI technology, your employer brand, and company culture should be reflected on every step of the process.
A recorded video interview is no replacement for face-to-face conversations, however, they it can provide recruiters with valuable insight into a candidate’s motivations and even a likely culture fit, early on in the process. While companies are increasingly adopting AVIs, they need greater clarity around the most effective way of deploying them to ensure that all applicants can be successful with this format.