VIRTUAL INTERVIEWS: If you’re job hunting, you’ve probably noticed that most large companies require candidates to take part in preliminary interviews — sometimes via telephone — before inviting them for a face-to-face meeting. More and more firms ask candidates to do an online video interview as a first step.
Job applicants log on to a company website and give answers to questions, without ever talking to a human being. Companies that use this method say it saves time and money — theirs, of course, not the candidate’s.
A number of tech firms now provide companies with the software they need to conduct virtual interviews. One of the largest is HireVue Inc. of Salt Lake City. The Wall Street Journal reports that HireVue has sold software to more than 600 firms, including Goldman Sachs, while hosting almost three million video interviews in 2016.
Typically, the programs ask candidates to go to a link or install an app. They then have from 30 seconds to 5 minutes to answer pre-programmed questions. The responses are checked by company HR staffers, who decide whether the candidate will be asked to take part in further interviews.
Talking to a video camera rather than to another person can feel odd at first. But some job candidates find they get used to it and in some cases even prefer it to the traditional interview. “You’re not trying to perform,” says Amy Hall of Cigna-Healthspring. Hall went through the video process on the way to an internal job as a senior data analyst.
"You're not trying to perform." Amy Hall
Cigna hiring manager Mary Wilson told The Wall Street Journal that Hall’s video was impressive because she behaved as if she were talking to another person. “Others tend to fidget or look away, but she looked directly into the camera and answered the questions thoughtfully and completely,” Wilson explains.
Still, despite careful preparation, any number of things can go wrong during a video interview — someone rings the doorbell, for example, or a child or pet rushes into the room. HR personnel want to see how candidates deal with interruptions and other mishaps. “All is not lost,” says Bruce DelMonico, assistant dean for admissions at the Yale School of Management. “We pay attention to how well you respond and recover.”