What are the pros and cons of using video for recruitment?

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Article publication date: 18 October 2011



Hendrick, E. (2011), "What are the pros and cons of using video for recruitment?", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 10 No. 6. https://doi.org/10.1108/shr.2011.37210faa.006



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

What are the pros and cons of using video for recruitment?

Article Type: Q&A From: Strategic HR Review, Volume 10, Issue 6

Leading industry experts answer your strategic questions

Rather than immediately outlining the pros and cons of using video for recruitment, it is first necessary to present the types of online video usage within the recruitment process. These fall largely into three distinct categories:

  1. 1.

    video CVs/résumés;

  2. 2.

    video conferencing; and

  3. 3.

    automated video interviewing.

The benefits of online video come from enabling the interviewer to do the following:

  • Access a global talent pool.

  • Reduce interview costs and the time associated with scheduling interviews.

  • Improve speed to interview, which in turn speeds the hiring process. Conducting preliminary screening interviews online enables the interviewer to arrive at a manageable shortlist for face-to-face interviews in less time.

  • Offer candidates a convenient alternative and create a positive impact on employer brand.

  • Reduce carbon footprint.

  • Get a genuine experience of the candidate before meeting face-to-face.

  • Accommodate remote recruiters.

Drawbacks of video CVs

I am going to immediately rule Video CVs out of this discussion as they have been around for a long time now but have yet to take off and probably will not. Why? They do not offer much added value over the normal CV and take more time to review. Some of the key drawbacks include:

  • Video CVs are rehearsed so you do not get a real feel for the candidate.

  • Video CVs lack structure – the candidate might think it better to focus in on their sporting achievements rather than their actual skills.

  • Video CVs lack uniformity – no one Video CV will be the same, so you will be comparing apples with oranges.

Video conferencing versus video interviewing

A uniform, structured and standardized recruitment process is essential in early stage screening. It is the fairest way for candidates and it is the most efficient and effective way for recruiters/hiring managers. Today screening efficiency is even more relevant as recruiters/hiring managers face literally mountains of applications.

With this in mind, let’s turn our attention to the use of video in the actual interview process and we are left with video conferencing, such as Skype, and automated video interviewing, such as Sonru.

Given that automated video interviewing is relatively new, perhaps it is relevant to explain the concept first. An automated video interview is an interview completed by candidates (using a webcam and computer) at a time and place that suits them. The interviewer enters questions that they want candidates to answer, sets a date that the interview has to be completed by and then invites candidates along to complete the interview. The candidates log in, read and record their answers (questions are not seen in advance and once the interview has begun, candidates must continue until all questions are answered. The interviews cannot be re-recorded). It is not a live interview so the candidates do not have to be online the same time as the interviewer.

Addressing HR concerns

Now I would like to focus on some specific issues we have encountered that appear to be the key concerns of HR and recruitment professionals in relation to using video as an interview tool:

  • Candidate experience. Whether automated or live video interviewing, some schools of thought believe it is better for candidates to come on-site for interviews to better present the employer brand/site/facilities, etc. Enabling candidates to complete interviews remotely has a positive impact on employer brand. The Sonru automated video interviewing application is fully branded to the client livery and logo.

  • Candidate personality. Many opponents of video interviewing refer to the lost opportunity of meeting face-to-face to accurately assess non-verbal communication such as eye contact and handshakes etc. Interviewers can experience candidates by the way they interact with online video including body language, responsiveness to the questions and personality.

  • Ability to probe. Opponents of automated video interviewing maintain that probing is not possible when the interview is automated as the questions have been set before the candidate begins the interview. While video conferencing facilitates live-reactive probing, this compromises the standardization of the screening process, as not all interviews will be uniform. Probing is still possible with automated video interviewing through the judicious selection of questions and by asking competency based probing questions such as “give an example when you … ”.

  • Candidate using Google to answer questions. Just because the interviewer is not present in the same room as the candidate does not translate into an ability to “cheat” the interview. It is on camera and you can see the candidates both in live and automated video interviews and it is easy enough to recognize if a candidate is distracted from responding.

Edward HendrickBased at Sonru.com.

About the author

Edward Hendrick is Founder and Director of Business Development at Sonru.com. He was awarded the IIA Innovation Award in 2010 and was listed as one of the Top 40 Entrepreneurs under 40 in Business Plus magazine in 2011. He graduated from University College Dublin in 2004 with a Bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness & Rural Development. He also graduated from the SEEPP program in 2008 with a Post Graduate Diploma in Enterprise Development. He founded Sonru in 2007. Edward Hendrick can be contacted at: ed@sonru.com

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