More and more employers all the time are finding that conducting at least an initial, live interview can save them both money and time, and can give them a better sense of their candidates than even an in-depth phone screen.
The heaviest users of live video interviews are the biggest employers; 80% of those with more than 10,000 workers have used or use video interviews. But even employers as small as 100 workers are giving it a try.
A GreenJobInterview survey of corporate leaders, most of them in HR, found that nearly half of all employers with fewer than 100 workers have conducted a video interview. And almost six out of 10 employers with 1,000 to 5,000 employees use remote video interviews.
This isn’t one of those shiny new object trends. Unlike the video resume, the use of video interviews is steadily growing as the technology has become both more affordable and easier to use.
An Office Team survey last summer found that in just one year the percentage of HR managers saying their company at least sometimes uses video interviews went from 14% to 63%. Not only is this here to stay — 85% of the managers said they expected no change in their use of video — but 14% said it was likely they would increase their use.
Larger companies tend to use video suppliers like GreenJobInterview, HireVue, Montage Talent, and InterviewStream. Their platforms offer all sorts of bells and whistles that a large employer is likely to want and use. Naturally, the service comes at a price. Though heavy users with a contract may pay as little as $50 or even $25 per interview, there are plenty of free services such as Skype, Apple’s FaceTime, and Google+.
Each has its pluses and minuses: FaceTime works only among Apple devices; Google+ requires users to register with Google and obtain a Gmail account; Skype, which has some security issues, has to be downloaded and installed, though it is the most ubiquitous with more than 250 million users worldwide.
And, it should be pointed out, these conversations are not as secure and confidential as the connections provided by the video platform vendors. Skype, for instance, had a hijack vulnerability disclosed by, of all groups, a Russian hacker website.
A bigger issue with the free services is that unlike their for-fee counterparts, recording a video interview is not, in many cases, a simple matter. Capturing the interview and saving it for later review requires a second application, and even then, because of how they work, quality can be uneven and, on older or slower machines, the process can be limited.
Though there is no shortage of recorders, nearly all of them are designed to record Skype calls over a PC. Apple users have far fewer choices, Ecamm among the best of the few.
For PC users, there’s SuperTintin. It’s a silly, made-up name for a remarkably useful and cheap video recorder. At $29.95, SuperTintin does all the essentials, and offers some neat options. For instance, it will record both sides of the Skype call: side-by-side, picture-in-picture, or as two completely separate files. You can also choose to record only the audio, only the remote (candidate) video stream or just you.
File sizes are surprisingly small; about 30-40 MB for a five-minute high def recording. That’s because the video format is .mp4, making it playable by most media players, including Windows Media.
It’s even easier to use than Skype itself. Simply open SuperTintin after you start Skype and hit “record.” Simple, said Lei Ju, co-founder of IMTiger Technologies, which built the program. “That is exactly how we designed it,” he said. “Extremely easy to use,” he added, noting there’s “no post production” as there is with some more complicated programs.
Right now, SuperTintin is for PCs running Microsoft’s operating system. Lei is working on a version for Windows 8, which should be out later this year. In addition, the company, which is based in the U.K., has a similarly easy-to-use recorder for MSN Messenger. Versions for other instant messaging programs — AIM, Yahoo, etc. — are in development.
About that name: Lei, who lives and works in Beijing, told me it’s made up and means nothing. He makes up bedtime stories for his kids, and came up with the name in the same way.