Why some employers still “Interview like it’s 1999”  

When speaking at events on the topic of video in recruitment, I regularly show a video from The Armstrong and Miller Show (BBC) called “The Origin of Job Interviews” as a humorous mirror of their current situation. Obviously the contrast to the stone ages is a bit steep, so let’s look at a more recent period: 1999. By then we did have Internet, but it was still very much a collection of online brochures called websites. It was the same year that Salesforce.com was founded as well as Monster.com by the merger of The Monster Board (TMB) and Online Career Center (OCC). And yes, it’s the same year featured in the infamous Prince song “Party like it’s 1999”. We did not even have LinkedIn (2003), Facebook (2004) or YouTube (2005), even though we were happily riding the waves of the dotcom bubble.

Ever since online job boards have surged (while cost of posting has plummeted), we introduced multi-posting, e-recruitment software, e-assessments and so on. However, most companies today still interview like it’s 1999… Although many employers have embraced video recruitment as a way to enhance their interview process, there are still too many employers who are wasting valuable candidate talent with an outdated interview process. Here are 3 reasons why:

#1 – Online video interviews cannot replace job interviews

That’s right. Video interviews seldom replace the on-site interview. They do allow you to do a better pre-screening of candidates by adding personality to the CV with a visual first impression. Very often that means replacing the phone screen, which is cumbersome, inefficient and only gives a very limited impression. Video interviews will really help you spend your time in on-site interviews with candidates that you want to meet.

#2 – No clue which questions to ask or unstructured interviews

It still surprises me how many organizations do not have structured job interview guidelines available, resulting in random interviews that cannot easily be compared. Determining questions in advance is obviously an important requirement of automated online interviews, where you can set-up a questionnaire once and invite candidates to answer at their own convenience. Pre-structuring interviews also helps provide a fair process.

#3 – Video does not give me a complete picture of candidates

I agree, but also think that a CV, cover letter or e-assessment individually also do not give a complete picture of the candidates. A CV by definition looks at the past and navigates around the truth. A cover letter is a crowd-sourced project using friends and family to compensate the fact that an applicant is not a professional writer. The combination of CV, structured video interview and e-assessment gives you a comprehensive first insight into the candidate’s potential.

So let’s stop interviewing like it’s 1999 and start recruiting like it’s 2017. You will do your candidates, your hiring manager and your calendar a great favour!


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