Video Interviewing, Resumes, and Screening Services Collide

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videoThere seems to be some misinformation abounding about the use of video in recruiting and HR. While plenty of people are writing about the digital streaming and live video as it weaves itself more into HR Tech, fewer actual practitioners seem to understand why it’s useful, what it’s for and how it can help make their jobs easier. On the other hand, even as digital video invades every aspect of our personal and professional lives, there is reticence about the dangers and legal implications it may bring specifically to the world of work.

Almost universally, recruiting professionals point out that video resumes are a non-starter. Although initially embraced by the recruiting community (see Joel Cheesman’s and Michael Marlatt’s here) recently HR pros and recruiters alike have been pointing out that they’re not easily scannable, they naturally take more time to look through and nearly everyone worries incessantly about the legal implications of discrimination claims. So why then, the purchase of VisualCV by Talent Technology late last year? It could be because of the inherent misunderstandings surrounding Visual CV, which now bills itself as an online resume sharing service. The verbiage on blogs and websites touting video resume services went from excitement over the newest thing to detached interest in this “supplementary technique”. Check out this 2009 synopsis of video RESUMES:

Video Resumes (a simple video taped recap of resume highlights) are the current “hot new technology” in recruiting. But only for their novel high tech feel… not for the value they bring. Once this newness and ‘coolness’ wears off on Employers – and it already is – then we will see the NEXT generation of products on the market that will fix the shortcomings of the stand-alone video resume. Just as the first attempts at resume databases, search engines, and ATS systems needed to go through several iterations, so will this Video Screening Phenomenon.

Like nearly everything else in the HR technology field, there are products that utilize video in their platforms for jobseekers (the user) and there are technologies built for the client (practitioner) and video resumes are built for the jobseekers. Video interviewing and screening services are a completely different animal, something the market hasn’t quite grasped yet. While video interviewing giant HireVue (arguably the largest name in the industry) reports that 10% of Fortune 500 companies use their service, it’s a pittance compared the broader market and the Salt Lake City based company has been chipping away at the corporate market for years.

Newcomers like Ovia, ASync Interview, InterviewStream boast clients like Adidas, ManPower, Deloitte and Starwood, so there’s no shortage of large companies willing to learn more about video interviewing. But education still seems slow-going, as even prominent voices confuse video resumes with video screening or interviewing, unable or unwilling to classify the technologies the way so many other HR Technology products are easily classified.

Another interesting note is that many of the platforms, products and systems that surround video interviewing differ on what features to implement within those frameworks: some have scheduling software, others have built in rating systems, some provide a quick link for hiring managers and third party recruiters, more create assessments and practice interviews. While there are so many features and processes possible, only the next few years will tell what is truly best practice in video interviewing and screening.

Proponents within corporations using the technology rave over the services almost universally, regardless of what service they’re using, citing increased candidate fit, faster screen times, and better communication with hiring managers. In fact very few users of video interviewing systems ever reflect the practitioners fears that seem to surface with every discussion regarding the technology, including the perennial favorite: discrimination. While it’s still a worry for many, the EEOC posted this informal letter:

Under Title VII, it is not illegal for an employer to learn the race, gender or ethnicity of an individual prior to an interview. Of course, Title VII requires that all individuals be provided equal, nondiscriminatory treatment throughout the hiring process. If an employer representative observes a job seeker in a video clip, and either learns or surmises the person’s gender, race, or ethnicity, such knowledge could increase the risk of discrimination or the appearance of discrimination. Employers need to take care in training hiring officials and human resources staff about the appropriate responses when gender, race, or ethnicity are disclosed during recruitment. Video clips might be analogized to information on a resume that clearly tells an individual’s race, such as, “President, Black Law Students Association.” In this situation, as with the video clip, the employer needs to focus on the person’s qualifications for the job.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., an employer cannot ask questions on the application form or in an interview that are likely to elicit information about a disability prior to a job offer. If you learn or suspect that an individual has a disability after seeing his/her video clip, you have not violated the inquiry prohibition of the ADA, but you must not use that information to discriminate in hiring. As with all other applicants, you must focus on the individual’s qualifications for the job.

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Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer and community builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. She leads Red Branch Media, an agency offering marketing strategy and content development. A consistent advocate of next generation marketing techniques, Hogan has built successful online communities, deployed brand strategies in both the B2B and B2C sectors, and been a prolific contributor of thought leadership in the global recruitment and talent space. Hogan speaks and writes on all career and workforce related subjects. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies and SMBs around the globe. Red Branch Media was formed in 2006 as a simple consultancy. Today, the firm is a full-service B2B Marketing Agency that serves clients in the U.K., Africa, China, Israel, Europe and North America. Primarily focused on the Human Resources and Global Workforce vendors, Red Branch Media handles clients of all shapes and sizes.
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