Goldman Sachs deal with some pretty large numbers in their recruiting process. Each year, the US investment bank hires over 2,500 students as analysts; some as a part of their summer program, but that figure also includes full time positions. The company hires from around 225 colleges and universities across the United States alone.
But Goldman Sachs are doing something incredible with their recruiting process. They have scrapped face-to-face campus interviews for first-round undergraduate candidates and have replaced them with video interviews. This isn’t a case of a few face-to-face interviews being scrapped; Goldman Sachs receive thousands of submissions every year.
For a company of that size and stature to throw away their traditional process of phone interviews followed by face to face interviews, this should be a watershed moment for recruitment… right?
For the moment, that doesn’t seem to be the case in Australia, even though the technology has been around for a while. The way we interact with people in an everyday sense has changed forever. Video calling is now a mainstream asset; thanks to Facetime and Skype; and companies have leveraged this technology for recruiting on occasion.
For example; if you needed to interview someone for a role in Melbourne but the candidate was based in Sydney, it would make a lot of sense to hold an initial interview over Skype, rather than having the candidate travel all the way to you. It makes sense, but it isn’t as widespread as it perhaps should be.
Hirevue, for example, specialise in video interviewing, but also use predictive analytics and data points from interviews to build an ideal candidate profile. It can then use that profile to align potential candidates with you. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) have been around for a long time and many large businesses use them. Most ATS providers would have some form of partnership with video interviewing companies. The technology is there and is accessible. It shouldn’t be difficult for companies to use it.
It would make sense, for example, for a company with multiple stores around Australia to send a list of questions to candidates for them to respond to. As a recruiter, you can immediately get a feel for whether or not they might be a good fit for your culture even before you have met face-to-face.
So why are Australian companies not embracing video interviews?
There are a few limitations, the obvious ones include poor internet connections. But the key issue may lie with a traditional Australian market. The technology is there to be used, but it is such a big change from the normal process.
When you think about it, the current recruitment process is almost ingrained in us. You submit a form online, you may then have a phone interview, and you definitely have a face to face interview. Australia has just accepted that it has always been the way of doing things. So surely, there is no hope for video interviewing when we are just too stubborn about change? The best example is performance reviews. The traditional performance review process seemed to be standing the test of time; but what we are now seeing is a gradual shift away from that process.
There is still hope for video interviews. Just a few years ago, people didn’t seem to have the right tools. Phones didn’t have cameras and computers didn’t have webcams, but now everyone has become used to streaming videos and watching videos on their phones.
There is also a benefit for candidates. You can attend the interview from any location you want; just set up the camera, wear a suit on the top half and wear your pyjama pants out of view!
There is a role for video interviewing in Australian businesses.
Video interviews are great for high volume roles. They can be integrated with your Applicant Tracking System. Potential candidates can go right through the process and submit the video interview ahead of time. Video interviews could definitely quickly replace phone or face-to-face interviews
For recruiters; it would save a huge amount of time. The amount of work involved with telephone interviews can’t be underestimated. Frantically writing notes during a call is one thing, but having to work your day around a scheduled call can be frustrating.
That being said, if you are recruiting for a senior position with more than one round of interviews, you would need a face-to-face session at some stage. The process may require a presentation and it isn’t feasible for the candidate or the recruiter to present over video.
While video interviews would be able to tell recruiters more than a phone interview, you really can’t beat the human interaction you get from being in a room with someone. Face-to-face interviews can give a really good read on whether or not the candidate could fit into your culture and that can be lost through video. A combination of both video interviews and face-to-face interviews across various stages of the recruitment process could be the best way to go.
The benefits are clearly there and video interviews could fit into most, if not all, interview processes at some stage.
But the major resistance to video interviewing stems from one simple fact.
It’s a disruption to the normal process. It’s a massive shift from what has always been done. Perhaps businesses are hesitant to adopt it because they feel it will take some time to learn the new process.
But the next time you are on a train, look at the amount of people who are using smartphones. People are uploading videos to Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram and are using Facetime and Skype to connect remotely.
Everyone has access to this technology and are able to use it in their everyday life. Why can’t recruiting do the same?