As seen on screen

Your hiring manager is based in Kuala Lumpur, the recruitment company is in Singapore, you’re stuck in the Edinburgh office, and you urgently need to appoint a regional sales director for Asia Pacific. This scenario presents HR with a potential logistical nightmare. What’s more, this exotic recruitment conundrum is likely to become far more common over the coming years as more organisations compete internationally.

The world can suddenly become much smaller, however, by introducing a video element to the recruitment process. Everyone involved in the decision-making process can see each candidate ‘in the flesh’, no matter where they are located.

Going international

International recruitment is one of the drivers for the increased use of video when interviewing shortlisted candidates. Others include the obvious cost and time savings of being able to ‘meet’ candidates remotely rather than fly key stakeholders in the recruitment process to another country.

The use of video for recruitment is not new, but the ease with which organisations can now integrate it into the overall recruiting process is making it more appealing and practical. It can now be built into a dedicated, secure web-based system, for example, which clients can log on to with a password wherever they are. In some cases, it can even be integrated with an employer’s existing recruitment system.

“Being able to make it a core part of the recruitment process is a critical differentiator,” says interim HR professional Debbie Percy. However, for the purposes of complying with the Data Protection Act, it is important that recruiters are upfront about its use, warns Percy.

Percy has used video when recruiting for executive and lower-level positions, including appointing a regional manager to run a Middle East operation. “We flew the recruitment company to Dubai to interview and video candidates. All the stakeholders could then view these via their browser,” she says. “It was very efficient and expedited the whole process. I’m a visual person and video allows you to connect with the candidates and gives you more of a sense of whether they are the right person for the job.”

One of the products Percy uses is In2Vista’s In2View video recruitment technology. This captures a video candidate profile at the initial interview, which can then be viewed via a secure internet portal and seen alongside other data such as CVs, interview notes and the results of psychometric tests.

But doesn’t the video make the applicant feel self-conscious? In most cases, the candidate forgets they are being recorded within minutes, says William Barribal, In2Vista’s managing director.

“With websites such as MySpace and YouTube, people are getting used to communicating via video and using it to get themselves in front of people, especially at the younger end of the scale,” he says. “At the older end, people are more used to video as they have probably gone through some form of media training. So the landscape is changing to help the service exist.”

Value-added service

It is still rare for employers to invest in video recruitment technology unless there is a major hiring drive, but some recruitment consultancies offer it as a value-added service to employers.

IT headhunting firm Penta Search, for example, offers video interviewing via a network of digital studios around the UK and the Middle East. It carried out internal research on interview success rates for its 100 closest customers to assess the need for video.

Penta Search director Andrew Crouch says: “We found that out of every five interviews, clients only progress with one applicant. The three main benefits of using video are that it saves the client’s time, saves the recruitment consultancy’s time and breaks down international barriers.”

One of the fears people have about using video is that employers could discriminate based on appearance. But Crouch believes that it can help to promote better and more accountable recruitment practices.

Video recruitment: top tips

  • Integrate the use of video with the rest of the recruitment process.

  • Be upfront about its use to applicants and demonstrate that you are complying with the Data Protection Act.

  • Put the candidate at ease before you start to capture them on video.

  • Try to sit with the hiring manager when they are viewing the clips so you can ask why they may have not selected an applicant. This will help to discourage discrimination on appearance.

  • Remember that you can also use video to sell yourself to potential clients.

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