Taking a mental snapshot of what I’m wearing now so I can have a laugh in 30 years time, my prediction is that, in the future, video interviewing will be as commonplace as phone interviews are today.

In a recent study titled ‘Engaging and Empowering Millennials,’ global professional services firm PWC pointed to a few areas that are more important to millennials (I really hate this term, partly because I am one, but it means those born between 1980 and 1995). When compared to previous generations, millennials look for greater flexibility in their jobs, are much more globally focussed and are much quicker at adopting new technologies. In the same paper, PWC estimated that 80% of their workforce would be millennials in 2016, quite a proportion and definitely worth considering when reviewing how you connect with people. Leveraging camera technology that most people will have built into their home computers as standard (or can buy for the same price as a train ticket) will become more commonplace as part of normal working life, particularly as a more globalised workforce will need ways to connect in a cost effective way.

So, it seems you could easily switch to using video interviews and capitalise on how the newer workforce likes to work... but should you?

Can a video screen really give you the same experience as having the person sitting in front of you? My honest opinion is, no, you really can’t match the experience of meeting the person in the flesh (yet), but video interviews trump telephone interviews hands down and are pretty damn close to face-to-face interviews in terms of being able to read body language and get a good feel for the person.

With the development of cheap or free options like Skype you can actually get a better interview experience for free, and having been in a position where I’ve had to decide which candidates to fly in for an interview because there’s only budget for one, conducting video interviews can mean the difference between seeing 3 interviewees or 1 - and the cost of a flight really isn’t the best way to select candidates.

An element just as important as your ability to assess the candidate is their ability to assess you as a potential employer. With millennials taking a lot more stock of the flexibility of the places they work demonstrating that you are comfortable using technology to increase flexibility is important and can only work in your favour. Furthermore, candidates will get a look at your offices, how you dress, how you interact with each other and of course your lovely smiling faces! All this can help to sell your workplace as the right choice over others who may be a voice on the end of the phone line. Finally, video interviews are so quick and easy to set up - if you have a room with a computer and a camera you could be face-to-face(ish) within the day and pip your competitors to the post while they’re trying to work out train timetables and expense claims for tickets for an interview a week away.

If you don’t believe me that video candidate selection is on the rise then pay attention to your careers inbox. If yours is anything like mine you might have started to see recruitment agencies sending speculative applications out in the form of picture and video intros for candidates. I believe this trend will continue and you will start to see more and more candidates sending applications that involve pictures, colour, video and all sorts of other media to try and sell themselves and their individuality. And if they’re going to all that effort to get your attention, why not upgrade their interview experience from phone to video and give them their moment in the spotlight?!

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Photo Credit: Surface Skype by Irish Typepad

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