The advantages of using video to meet and vet your top candidates are obvious: convenience, no travel required, and speed. Less obvious is the opportunity to see how well your candidate performs in front of a webcam, something that will never show up in phone screen. That’s no small detail considering fully 80% of the largest employers in the U.S. — those with 10,000 workers — use live video interviews at least sometimes.
Why? Cost is the number one reason companies use video interviews, according to a GreenJobInterview survey. Of the corporate leaders surveyed, most of them in HR, cost was cited by 88% of them. Second, cited by 56%, was improved time to hire.
Companies with 10,000 or more workers are most likely to conduct video interviews, but even those with less than 100 employees have video interviewed a candidate at times. Nor is this one of those shiny new object trends. Unlike the video resume, video interviews have been spreading as their advantages become known and 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, independent recruiters, like small employers, can use 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.
However, the bigger issue with the free services is that unlike their for-fee counterparts, recording a video interview is not 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.
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Fortunately, for PC Skype 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 30-40mb for a 5 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.