Let’s set the scene: you’ve been yearning for the perfect candidate to swoop in to fill an open position (for what seems like ages) when you receive an interview invitation from HR signifying that your dream has come true. After going through the trouble of scheduling, you finally meet the candidate face to face only to realize five minutes in that their skill set and goals do not align with the role. Cue the horrifying music.

Ask a Manager guru, Alison Green, was recently met with the question, “Is there a nice way for an interviewer to short-circuit an interview if the candidate obviously isn’t right?” 198 comments later, it’s pretty evident that this scenario is all too common within the confines of hiring and recruiting.

Green said, “There are candidates who seem great on paper and who do pretty well when you talk through the basics on the phone, but when you bring them in, they have an obvious deal-breaker pretty early on. Or, you might work in an organization that strictly dictates what hiring procedures you’re allowed to use and for unknown reasons doesn’t phone-screen candidates first (or that has someone inept selecting candidates to bring in to interview with you). If that’s the case, you should push back on those practices.”

While phone screens are a good way to weed out the wrong candidates, they aren’t always able to detect how a person may actually fit into the company’s culture. This is extremely important to understand early on since the hiring process not only costs the company time, but also costs a large sum of money as well.

Green said, “Sometimes it’s something that didn’t come out in the phone screen and it’s not due to any fault on the part of the interviewer. Some people reveal information about themselves differently in person, or mention something highly relevant that you would have expected to come out on the call.”

Pre-recorded video questions are a unique way to circumvent the above issue. When a recruiter or hiring manager is able to see the candidate’s personality, body language, enthusiasm, and critical thinking skills, he or she will be able to make a more developed decision as to whether or not to invite the candidate for an in-person interview. Rather than spending 30 minutes on a phone screen with one candidate, recruiters can now spend that time reviewing recorded answers of multiple candidates instead.

Using technology is not only a great way to expedite and streamline the hiring process, but also a great way to avoid having to figure out the most polite way to cut a bad interview short.

Image used under Creative Commons License from Victor1558.

Views: 384

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on December 6, 2013 at 4:47pm

Thanks, Britni. If you can do all these things remotely using real-time broadband video interviewing, then why bother to bring in someone for a F2F interview at all? Furthermore, if they can do their work effectively this way, why do you need them to be onsite at all? The more they can be remote, the less things like culture matter-  they don't have to fit in perfectly if they're not around you very much....

Happy Friday,


Comment by Britni Salazar on December 6, 2013 at 4:57pm

Hi Keith,

Thanks for your comment! First, let me address the myth surrounding video and digital interviews: they are never going to replace in person interviews nor are we trying to do that. Most of our customers use the pre-recorded side of the video interview so they can screen and qualify candidates much faster than the traditional phone screen. Rather than spending 30 minutes on a phone interview, recruiters can spend less time reviewing applicants via their pre-recorded answers. If someone disqualifies themselves during the first question, then the recruiter doesn't have to spend those extra 25 minutes knowing it'll go nowhere. Additionally, the live video interview option (which can also be recorded, not sure if you've seen Matt's article here: http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/rivs-video-interview) allows for the hiring team to interview, say, 5 candidates they are interested in and then whittling down that number to 2 for in person interviews. This saves huge travel costs and can help when it comes down to scheduling. It's convenient for all parties - candidates and recruiters - to conduct the pre-screens this way and pave the way for that in person interview.

To your point about working remotely: although this technology can be used to conduct business, companies and workers will likely not rid themselves of office space just because it's available. Skype has been around for years, but you don't see companies saying, "Well I can just see you via Skype, let's just all go home and work from there only!" Just because things are available and aid in convenience in other areas does not mean the entire working population will be uprooted - though who wouldn't want to work while wearing pajamas all day? :)

Happy Friday to you as well! Have a great weekend! 

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on December 6, 2013 at 5:48pm

Thanks, Britni. Why AREN'T you working to replace F2F interviews? When I've asked hiring manger about wh at he gets in a F2F meeting that you don't get in a video, he mentions things like body language, etc. that you say you're able to get in a F2F meeting.

Also, I'm not quite sure what video would replace, if not F2F. WebEx/GoToMeeting handles presntations, so would it be phone screens or text answers that would be replaced? My point: if it doesn't replace something,m then it's an add on, and it  therefore doesn't simplify/streamline, it complicates/ slows down the hiring process.

I think the reluctance to telework comes from a very deep level- you won't look or feel as powerful if you don't have a lot of people RIGHT THERE.  I often here arguments which say that if you aren't there, you won't be really part of the company;, that there's less a sense of connection and permanence. I think that's quite true. I also think that companies and employees should get over a sense of their needing  a connection or sense of permanence- loyalty = cash flow, and the days of "40 years, a gold watch and a pension" have been gone for a LONG time.



Comment by Jake Zerbe on December 7, 2013 at 2:05pm


I am intrigued by the idea of pre-recorded video questioning prior to an onsite interview.

  • It would push the responsibility to the candidate to complete and submit 
  • It would save time (and awkward discussions) if the candidate is deemed to not be a fit early in the answers submitted (offsetting time to review videos)
  • It would tighten the screening process prior to a skype chat or F2F.

I also agree that this will never replace an onsite interview.  While onsite interviews are costly I find them critical in order to fully review a candidate in regards to:

  • Technical capabilities (pending role a white board session may be needed)
  • Culture fit (how they interact with the team, what drives them, personality)
  • How they handle under pressure (a full interview round including 4-8 interviewers can be intense and will often show a candidates true colors, goals, ambitions and personality.

Ultimately I see this potentially being a strong screening tool for difficult to fill REQs.


Comment by Britni Salazar on December 9, 2013 at 12:23pm

Thanks for your comment, Jake! Your understanding and take on video and digital interviews is spot on. Not only do video and voice interviews provide excellent ways to screen and qualify candidates much faster than the traditional phone interview, but they really do put emphasis on the candidate and recruiter experience. The convenience factor is huge, as is the ease of the system. As more and more companies move to this technology, I think we'll see a huge cost saving to those in-person interviews as well.

Comment by Linda Ferrante on December 10, 2013 at 1:01pm

I'm probably in the minority here, but I am NOT a fan of video interviews/resumes.  I believe in sitting down, face to face, and discussing things.  Changing jobs, careers, etc, is an important part of our lives.  It deserves our full attention.  I understand the video interview would be a precursor to an actual interview, but I think it's an unnecessary, and somewhat demeaning, step in the process.  In addition, I would be afraid of someone screaming 'discrimination' after a video interview that didn't get a call back, etc.

I know there are companies out there who promote, and produce video interviewing.  It's probably good in some instances, but I just can't get on board with it. Same thing with using FB to check out candidates.  We have a FB page to drive traffic for our openings, but I NEVER check the candidates FB pages.  Too many things can be taken out of context, and that's our own fault.

Alas, call me old fashioned.....   :) 

Comment by Britni Salazar on December 10, 2013 at 1:28pm

Hi Linda,

Thanks for your comment! I assure you that you are not alone in your thinking! :)

I think video interviewing gets a lot of flack under the misconception that it's "impersonal." Speaking from a candidate perspective, when I was in the job market I must have applied to 40 different places. I'm not the typical applicant who would just simply send the same resume/cover letter and hope for the best. I tailored each letter to the company and personalized them. I spent so much time on each application and when I heard absolutely nothing - not even an email acknowledging me - that's when I felt demeaned. On the reverse side, when I applied to a company (not the one I'm currently working at) and they responded right away and offered me a chance to participate in some pre-screening video questions, I jumped at the chance. It not only gave me validation that someone was interested and cared enough to engage with me, the candidate, but it gave me an opportunity to show off my personality. I didn't have to tell my boss at the time that I was sick or come up with an excuse, as I was able to record my answers at my convenience. It just so happened that this software was from RIVS, my current company. I was so impressed with my candidate experience that I researched them on my own and found out they were hiring. In a completely random but awesome move, I ended up here and declined the other job offer (after three more interviews with them) to work here instead. 

Also, in regards to your discrimination point - if someone really wants to discriminate against someone else, they can do so based on surname listed on a resume, an accent in a phone interview, during an in person interview, etc. We do have some clients who use our digital voice feature instead to circumvent issues like the ones you mentioned, however, and they are huge proponents for the ability to have these digitally recorded questions go out to candidates as prescreening measures.

Technology, especially technology that helps to streamline processes and increases the level of engagement for both the candidates and recruiters, should be embraced. Change is never easy and many are reluctant to embrace something new, especially when other "tools" have caused more problems than solutions. And I totally get that. But I am extremely passionate about what digital interviews mean for the future of the industry. And I'm excited to be part of it, because I really feel as though this is going to help ease so many of those hiring pain points!

I'd be happy to show you our product, Linda, if you're interested in getting a different perspective on what we offer customers and candidates alike! :)

Comment by Linda Ferrante on December 10, 2013 at 1:45pm

Thanks, Britni, but I really don't see us going in the direction of video interviews.  We are behavioral driven and the personal interaction is extremely important to us.  

Wait, you have a digital voice feature to disguise someone's voice?  That almost seems sneaky!

I'm sure there are companies who really love your product, Britni.  You did, you even researched them and wanted to work for them!  That's great!  It doesn't work for everyone, though.  

Comment by Britni Salazar on December 10, 2013 at 1:47pm

Hi Linda,

We don't have digital voice features to disguise voices. Our digital voice features allow candidates to call in and record their answers to pre-recorded questions using their phones rather than using the video option. No disguising here!

Thanks again for your comments! :)

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on December 10, 2013 at 9:57pm

Britni, it seems that unless you're using it to REPLACE something major like a F2F interview, then video interviewing doesn't speed up hiring: it SLOWS IT DOWN by adding more things that have to be done. The types of pre-recorded questions that sound like they can be easily done this way can be done even easier using text- that's what I do; leaving the phone typically for the detailed technical/professional interview, and the F2F /Skype/tele-presence for last.

As far as discrimination: while  people can discriminate in may ways, video-prior-to-F2F makes it both seem and be easier. I wouldn't be surprised if  when the lawsuits happen (if they haven't already), they come after the employer and then the employer comes after YOUR company or maybe the plaintiff comes after you directly, possibly as part of a class action....

No Cheers,



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