I had to write a post on video interviewing, because somehow, this has become an integral part of HR Technology, and that’s the beat I pretty much cover. And I've been hearing for two years how my skepticism can be overcome, how I just don't understand the technology behind video interviewing (really complicated) or some other boilerplate product marketing solution selling technique.

But I’ve seen dozens of demos at dozens of video interviewing vendors over the past couple of years (for a good rundown on some of the most prominent providers in the space, check out 9 Video Interviewing Options To Consider for Your Recruiting Organi... by Ryan Leary).  This is an astonishing number of competitors for a category that I categorically believe to be specious at best, hucksterism at worst, and fundamentally unnecessary to exist as an independent point solution (if at all).

At the 2013 HR Technology Conference, the video interviewing trend was reinforced by its integration within larger product suites, most notably, Jobvite’s video interviewing capabilities and iCims' addition of “video cover letters” to its offerings. This makes sense as a sales play, since the concept of video interviewing (or cover letters, or resumes, or whatever might have a market) is far easier to explain than say, industry leading CRM & talent campaign functionality (Jobvite). Or the value of an enterprise-class ATS at a price point that levels the playing field away from the Tier-One tentacles firmly entrenched onsite at the largest of employers back towards the SMB market (iCims).

While there are other major players encroaching on video interviewing companies’ turf, I really like both iCims and Jobvite’s core product offerings, and have spoken to many satisfied end users of both, anomalies in the ATS space which line recruiters love to hate, and learn to live with. While these “me too” offerings detract from their real value, they also evidence the fact that the market is already oversaturated with video interviewing vendors who, if they can actually develop proof of concept, can be easily out-developed and outsold by larger players, with whom they cannot compete as standalone point solutions. Most video interviewing companies rely on integration with major players, an alliance driven by necessity.

HireVue’s partnership model has been wildly successful, as evidenced by their coordinated presence with Cornerstone OnDemand after hours at HR Tech and proven integrations with Oracle, IBM/Kenexa, Silkroad and other one stop shops, and their vendor agnostic approach has helped them become the early leader (and most viable entry) in this emerging market. But there’s really nothing to stop any of these players from moving from a channel sales/integration approach to a fully owned functionality within a “total talent management” solution. I’m sure someone can repudiate that and produce some sort of contract to say otherwise, and go ahead and tell me how I’m wrong. In my experience, having seen a lot of those partnership deals on the vendor side, I can safely assert that no deal in the SaaS space ever has terms dictated in perpetuity – that’d be an obvious disadvantage for both parties.

The reason is that the cloud offers immediate, automated delivery of updates to ensure continuous innovation and improvements for their end users. The product roadmap is, after all, the continuous promise involved in every deal close, renewal or upsell – if it’s not there, it’s coming. And just like that, a few release cycles could kill off video interviewing vendors for good, at least as far as enterprises are concerned, and the other major client base (from what I can tell), slowing the rate of support and innovation which make video interviewing so attractive to so many high growth, high tech employers, too.

The other and more obvious scenario, and the reason so many video interviewing companies are getting so much venture capital, is that rather than developing these solutions internally, the Tier-One HCM systems will simply use their considerable war chests to buy one of their integration partners outright. Neither scenario has yet played out, despite all the sound and fury which will, inevitably, signify nothing, because the partnership approach for point solutions integrations offers larger players the opportunity to test the waters and see whether or not investing capital or sweat equity will generate sufficient returns.

iCims and Jobvite differ from the other major recruitment technology vendors in that they are companies whose core ATS product is native to the cloud, with no legacy or onsite systems to support. Both have already opted to develop their own video solutions despite the SaaS enabled ease of third-party integration. And, from their online marketing materials, at least, both are positioning video interviewing within their suites as a screening and assessment tool to augment instead of replace the traditional interview, something of a different approach than most product positioning in the category.

The big guys can easily follow suit, but the reason why they haven’t is simple: the market remains unproven. There are obvious selling points for video interviewing , among them time shifting, cost and time savings, even a diminished carbon footprint, if you believe the collateral. But tell that to the average recruiter relying on an outdated system, antiquated process and hiring managers who still require resumes to be printed and actually read cover letters (watching them is another story). They’re the ones who will ultimately determine the adoption, and viability, of video interviewing.

And something tells me that recruiter is too busy juggling phone calls, req loads, hiring manager meetings, dealing with third parties and all the other time-intensive, necessary evils of filling an open req with the best talent available, not the best talent out there (as many would lead you to believe), to stop and actually be captive to even three :45 second questions. I mean, most recruiters, whether they admit it or not, rely on superficial scanning to weed out resumes, and the best candidates on paper are easier to present to a hiring manager who doesn't want to hear from you in the first place than making them sit down and watch said candidate on video.

Obviously, when hiring for sales or for those whose jobs aren’t dedicated to hiring need to screen candidates quickly, video interviewing makes sense. But one of the primary reasons that those corporate recruiting counterparts exist (whether employed in-house, project or via RPO) is that interviewing is a core recruiting competency, and requires intervention and interaction to maximize their meaning. That means consumer grade tools like Skype, FaceTime, or even apps like BlueJeans should suffice for companies whose primary value in video interviewing involves associated costs for in-person interviews – and at a price point that’s actually lower than even the cheapest video interviewing solution.

With Microsoft and Apple cornering the most viable part of the market and with the major HR tech players still too tentative to dip in more than a toe after two years of industry omnipresence, the jury is still out, but even without a final verdict on video interviewing as a stand-alone solution, it already seems, the standpoint of industry adoption at least, that we're headed for a mistrial.

Views: 1606

Comment by Craig Fisher on October 16, 2013 at 11:33am

Is this market saturated with vendors?  I have found that many of the vendors in this market offers something specific to various industries.  I have seen a large adoption of platforms like Montage, for instance, (btw check out their survey that says Skype isn't easy to use as a candidate for video interviewing http://info.montagetalent.com/skype-not-suited-for-video-interviews/ - clearly somewhat self-serving, but interesting none-the-less) for the restaurant industry, an industry that is well served by video interviews.  What I find is that the recruiting teams and hiring managers like these solutions so much that they will fight for budget to include them in their process.  Most of the vendors also have strong data on how using video interviewing lowers time and cost of hire.

The market maturity for these platforms is, as you say, still in the unproven phase for many employers.  Check out this post by Mark Wilaman on that: http://hrmarketer.blogspot.com/2013/10/marketing-maturing-category-....

Comment by Matt Charney on October 16, 2013 at 11:40am

Craig: OK, but until that video can bring me an order or clear my table, I'm still wondering how that's relevant.  Will be on the look out for this at the BlackBox/People Report Conference next month. And Skype is video interviewing, not video screening - and therein lies a distinction I think is emerging.  Either way, proof of concept should come before segmentation in any maturity model out there (thanks for sharing Mark's, always great work by HRMarketer on covering this industry).  Appreciate your feedback.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on October 16, 2013 at 12:03pm

If you can use video to have someone interviewed remotely, then in many cases you can use the same technology to work remotely. I would be very interested to find out in all those  arguments saying that you need F2F  collaboration to increase productivity, how much F2F interaction time is required to achieve the optimum results. I would be surprised if it's anywhere near 8/5/52.







Comment by Pete Radloff on October 16, 2013 at 12:50pm

Matt - this is pretty relevant right now. It seems every so often there is a blitz of tools that hit the market. Sometimes its video interviewing, other times it's social graphing (Entelo, Talent Bin, etc). I think there is some merit to the video interviewing, but I think it has to be piloted and honed in the right environment.

When you have a high growth company with high volume (read: sales) recruiting, video can be a good way to make it through the masses efficiently. I think the lack of adoption is more skepticism than grounded in fact. It's new, it's tough to sell to the C-Suite, and therefore many companies shy away.

I think that there are merits to testing it, and having fact-based data you can sell to your company internally. Very few places will be willing to just jump in head first, since the recruiting tech tool industry is so schizo.

Really timely post. 


Comment by Matt Charney on October 16, 2013 at 1:46pm

Pete: Thanks, and appreciate your feedback.  I actually think the tools you mentioned (which I'd classify as federated search, not necessarily social graphing) have a huge business value from a sourcing perspective, and basically streamline the manual steps recruiters have been using since the first Boolean string was written into a single experience to save time and standardize data.  To that end, I do think that video interviewing actually might have a business value, and am curious to hear your thoughts on this as the market evolves - again, I haven't been swayed either way, and appreciate your insights!

Comment by Pete Radloff on October 16, 2013 at 1:49pm

I guess federated search is a better way of saying it. but yes, many good tools for this, and you wonder how we didn't have this before. 

Comment by Maren Hogan on October 18, 2013 at 10:48am

This is an interesting post and it makes me wonder. Are there any more video interviewing platforms than say...performance review or employee referral programs? (the answer is no) Most of these start out as standalone "one-trick pony" apps and then they get a little funding and start building out the stuff that their customers really need. Most of the vendors in this (and our entire) space begin by building for consumers and the candidate and then realize that corporate TA holds the checkbook; the smart ones start building integrations and partnerships to move past the single application phase. So I partially agree with you about the stage, definitely do not agree with the specious thing. Not sure about you but when video interviewing started becoming "a thing that we are talking about now" I equated it mentally with Visual CV and other Video Resumes, which I still don't really believe in but that might make more sense as we move more toward a power balanced contingent workforce (I don't think the whole workforce is gonna go Galt or anything but there is a clear trend) -- anywhooty that is not what it is at all. All the benefits you rattled off are REAL benefits to companies and the primarily corporate customers and specific verticals (retail, restaurants are two primary examples of verticals that are growing nearly as fast as tech hiring PS) have shown that this is a model that works very well in a world where "ain't nobody got time for that" but still need to ensure hiring collaboration and quality of hire. All the things that we've been discussing lately like candidate experience, time to fill, retention, reduced onboarding cycles; all those are affected positively in most cases, by things like video screening and interviewing -- they provide a super real value for the companies.

Comment by Ryan Leary on October 19, 2013 at 9:30pm

Peeling back the many layers of what many of the video interviewing tools offer I believe one of the key things you need to look at is how the tool (any tool for this matter) allows the recruiting process to shrink in both time and the number of touch points a recruiter has to take in order to complete the process.

Video interviewing can be inserted in a few key areas (that I have experience with) to reduce the time that it takes a recruiter to physically make a connection with the prospect (in between the potential many voice mails) and to alleviate the challenge of a generalist recruiter that in most cases simply cannot convey the technical ability and thought process of a technical candidate.

With that said you need to define if you are speaking about live video interviewing or a recorded video interview. I am fan of recorded video interviewing as part of the screening process and can stand behind the results of decrease time to slate and eliminating at best 2-3 potential touch points the recruiter has to take in the absence of recorded video interviews.

Comment by David Geddes on October 20, 2013 at 4:21am

Another video interview platform to consider that is somewhat different to the above is TalentVX.  Established in 2008 and designed specifically for recruitment consulting, search and RPO firms rather than internal recruiters, TalentVX helps consultants present candidates to clients rather than screen applicants.  There is nothing to download or set up, it works on any PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet.  The videos last for 3 years (ideal for contractors) and costs $2.95 per video. 

Comment by Matt Charney on October 20, 2013 at 11:48am

Ryan - I think you make a great point in terms of needing to distinguish between "live video interviewing" and a "recorded video interview." Almost unilaterally, vendors in this space are selling products designed around the latter, but I don't think that constitutes an interview at all.  As I point out in the article, interviewing is a critical recruiting competency which lies in using behavioral based methodologies to interact with and adjust the interview to really get to know the candidate, and without that interactive ability, it's more a video resume redux (which SocialCV & VisualCV, the two formerly dominant players in this space, will tell you is not a sustainable business model, although they were acquired by Dice and Talent Technology respectively, albeit at firesale prices) - but is most decidedly not an interview the same way that post & pray isn't really sourcing.


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