We are in the throes of the tightest labor market in decades, which gives candidates a unique amount of leverage and freedom in choosing between companies that may be facing labor shortages. This has pushed organizations to expedite, streamline, and renew the interview-to-hire pipeline. Indeed, in a recent NewtonX HR survey deployed to 450 senior HR professionals in the U.S., 68% of respondents said that improving efficiency and speed in the hiring process was the number one strategic priority for 2019.
The impetus for speed comes from the fact that most candidates today interview with multiple companies simultaneously, and may take the first offer to come their way. Additionally, candidates who receive multiple offers are likely to choose the company with which they had the most positive experience. These two pressures — speed and experience — have given birth to the rise of a new interview tool: recorded interviews. From Northwestern University to Allstate Insurance, companies across the country have embraced recorded interviews; and talent platforms are battling it out to claim the growing population of potential customers.
Fast, Integrated, and Collaborative: What Recorded Interviews Have to Offer
Because recorded interviews are digital, they can be assessed by multiple team members in real-time on a shared platform. This is a huge boon for remote, overseas positions or for global companies where the process could be expedited by a hiring manager in one country reviewing an applicant’s evening-submitted video/call and then leaving notes before the U.S. workday starts. For instance, Quest Diagnostics uses Cielo, an outsourcing and recruiting company, to do recorded phone interviews with applicants, and has a Cielo representative review the calls during the U.S. night, so that the U.S. recruiter has readily available notes in the morning on the applicant’s profile and schedule.
Additionally, recorded interviews allow for a standardized assessment protocol, which reduces the likelihood of bias. Every interviewee is guaranteed to be asked the exact same questions, and can be evaluated by multiple stakeholders. This creates initial equal opportunity, after which assessment can be corrected for bias through specific assessments.
Automated interviews have become so popular that in May, Indeed introduced free text and audio based skills tests to employers, including an option for one-way phone interviews. Even institutions of higher learning are embracing the new interview format. Northwestern University, UT Austin Law School, and Cornell Law School, for instance, all use the Kira Talent platform to interview candidates. Other companies interviewed by NewtonX including law firms, insurance providers, and tech startups reported that on average, automated interviewing reduces time to hire by six days.
Employers Love Automated Interviews – But do Candidates?
Many candidates report discomfort with automated interviews, particularly in video format. In many industries this discomfort won’t make the difference between a candidate moving through the interview pipeline, but in extremely tight job markets, such as tech startup engineering, where talented candidates have a wealth of opportunities, an initial bad impression could be a defining factor in which offer a candidate ends up accepting.
Automated interviews also place the power solely in the hands of the company; candidates cannot ask questions about the company, they do not get a feel for culture fit, and they cannot determine whether the role is actually a good fit for them. Senior level candidates are more likely than entry level ones to be put off by this power dynamic — after all, the company should be convincing the candidate to take them, not the other way around.
Several tech companies in the NewtonX survey reported that they used automated interviews solely for mid-level and entry-level positions, but conducted human interviews for senior-level positions. Until we reach a point at which most candidates have experienced automated interviews, hiring managers will need to continue segmenting which populations go through automated pipelines and which need more human attention.