Video Interviewing: A Model For Hiring

It doesn’t have to be Black Friday for this scenario: a long line at the counter, busy sales staff ringing up customers, and a job seeker walks up. The seeker could be your next star employee, but chances are that the customers are the priority so the seeker doesn’t get much attention.

In the highly service-oriented business of retail, is that acceptable?

JobOn is one company with an idea on how technology can improve this. It combines job listings with the ability for candidates to apply by video. Seekers get a free account, answer a few common interview questions, and send the recorded responses to the retailers and other employers on the site,

Employers view the videos, see the enthusiasm and other traits they want in applicants, then invite them in for a face-to-face meeting. It won’t completely solve the problem of mixing seekers and customers during busy times, however it does introduce a better way to hire.

Think of it as a cross between craigslist and YouTube.

Most candidates look the same on their application. Name, address, telephone, and maybe a little work experience. Going through applications – even those sent from the web – is painful because it’s hard to distinguish applicants. Add scheduling of interviews, and then spending a certain amount of time with each one even though managers know quickly whether someone is a good match. Suddenly there are many hours invested in the process, and even then the result may be a “panic hire” that doesn’t last.

Through video, however, managers gain an edge: they view applicants’ videos during non-peak hours so they can spend more time scrutinizing them and making better hires. That’s the real genius of this approach: it reverses the traditional hiring process. With the recorded interview first, the face-to-face interview can be a mere formality. You wouldn’t be talking to this candidate if you didn’t already have a great feeling about him or her. And you can’t get that from a paper application at the beginning of the process.

JobOn charges nothing for job seekers, and retail employers pay a modest $25 a month to view videos of up to 25 applicants (the first 10 are free). The company has subscription pricing for “super users” needing more than that).

Technology has improved retail a great deal with barcode scanning, inventory management and other tools. It has now reached down to the hiring process, which has been so manual and inefficient for so long that many of us didn’t even know it needed attention. Now that we have a solution let’s put it to good use.