Archives For Recruitment


Video interview - Tell us about yourself - detail
It’s the opening interviewing question that all employers want to ask: “Tell me about yourself”. As a professional recruiter or hiring manager, you will have many structured questions to ask the candidate that relate to their current job, such as how they cope in certain situations and what value they can bring to your organisation, but the great ice-breaker question that has stood the test of time is: “Tell me about yourself”

There is good reason for this question as it tends to work well for both interviewer and interviewee. The candidate has the opportunity to pitch herself and effectively present her case for ‘Why me’, while the interviewer can use this time to evaluate the person.

In less than 2 minutes of answering the question the interviewer will have subliminally processed information about what they see and hear. This quick evaluation is more on the presentation, inflection, body language, enthusiasm and mannerisms of the candidate than the actual words spoken.

It may seem unfair, but the substance of the answer to this opening question is not particularly important; it’s the delivery that counts. The content becomes more critical later on in the interview process, possibly in a 2nd or final interview.

93% of communication is about what you see and hear

Nonverbal communication is extremely powerful, and the model devised by psychologist Dr Albert Mehrabian (below) has become one of the most widely referenced statistics in communications:

  • 55% of communication is visual (your body language)
  • 38% of communication is your voice (tone, inflection, etc)
  • 7% is verbal (your words)

Furthermore, according to psychologists Willis & Todorov, it takes just one-tenth of a second for someone to judge and make their first impression (See “First Impressions” 2006). Of course, professional recruiters will spend more time to decide if a candidate should be selected or eliminated, but not much more time.

In the early stage screening process, a couple of minutes should be sufficient. There’s no need for a full blown interview.

To save time, ask the classic question in a Video Interview

When you are next screening candidates (beyond the CV), think about how much time you actually need to spend. Your 2 minute evaluation on candidates answering “Tell me about yourself” can be just as effective via a recorded video interview as it is in a live face-to-face interview.

The advantage of recorded video is that it can take you just 2 minutes to review one candidate, before clicking to the next candidate, and then the next.

You can’t achieve this speed and efficiency when interviewing candidates in person.

Article by Rupert Sellers

Telegraph film - female candidate on iPad

With the increase of video interviews to screen candidates, here are some top tips for best practice recruitment:

Firstly, decide which method of video interviewing you want to use. Do you want to arrange ‘live’ video interviews or asynchronous interviews? More about the pros & cons of each here.

The ‘live’ video interview

1. If it’s going to be a live video (such as Skype), think about how you are going to conduct interviews in this way. Many candidates who are currently employed are not able to find the time or place to engage in a live video interview during their working day, so as the recruiter or hiring manager you might need to be flexible and be prepared to Skype candidates outside your normal working hours.

2. For a live video call, as with a phone call, make sure you have prepared your questions beforehand so that the interview is structured and decide how much time you are going to spend on each call. This helps to enable a fair process with questions that are consistent for each candidate you interview.

3. As with any live interview situation make sure you write notes either during the session or immediately after. It might be time consuming but without documentation you will struggle to remember who’s who if you are screening numerous candidates. And if the process drags on over a few weeks, the interviews will become even more of a blur.

4. Let the candidate finish speaking when answering a question before you start probing. In a face-to-face interview, it is much easier to interrupt and maintain a good conversation flow, but in a live video there can be a slight time delay and interaction can be disruptive.

5. If you are conducting the live video call with other hiring managers present, do not confer among yourselves while the candidate is still ‘on air’. It’s disconcerting for the candidate if he/she can see you but not hear what is being said.

The ‘one-way’ pre-recorded video interview

1. This is the best time-saving option as you can quickly review your candidate responses to your preset questions on your dashboard by clicking from one video to the next (Watch the short video demo here). There are no scheduling issues as you will be sending a link to your selected candidates for them to record their interview in their own time. Creating a video interview online is easy, and can take just a few minutes to implement, but it’s worth thinking about what outcomes you want from this type of interview.

2. Compact Interview gives you the opportunity to create as many questions you like with unlimited recording time for each answer, but while there is this flexibility you should bear in mind that your candidates will be talking to a camera on their desktop, laptop or mobile – they are not communicating with an actual person.

3. Make use of the time limit setting for each answer. As a general rule of thumb, one or two minutes is usually a sufficient maximum for most questions, but if you wanted to ask your candidates to give a presentation on a subject, then up to 10 minutes might be appropriate. As a simple ice-breaker to kick off the video interview, you might want to start with: ‘Please let us know your name and where you are located?’ And you can set the time limit for this answer to just 10 or 15 seconds.

4. Compact Interview gives you the option to allow your candidates to re-record an answer and you can specify the number of attempts you are willing to offer per question. We highly recommend you use it to provide the best candidate experience possible. Learn more.

5. Set an appropriate deadline date for completion of the video interviews. Your candidates can record their interview in their own time, perhaps in the evening or over the weekend, away from their work environment. Of course you want the video interviews completed as soon as possible, but if you are inviting candidates who have heavy work commitments or are located overseas in different time zones, then a minimum 48 hours notice is recommended. At least five days is preferable if you really want to include your full selection in the process.

Finally, when you review the video playbacks on your online dashboard which you can do at any time, as well as share with other hiring managers, try to make allowances for a few imperfections and ‘umms and ahhs’. This is not a BBC broadcast and we encourage candidates to be as natural as possible. However, talking to camera can feel a strange experience particularly if it’s the candidate’s first time to record a video.

The video interview is best used as a quick, convenient screening tool to gather insight – particularly soft skills which cannot be shown on a CV. From the videos, the candidate selection can be narrowed down, ready for more probing questions that can be asked towards the end of the recruitment process in a face-to-face interview environment.

As more and more candidates embrace video interviewing, it’s great to review these feedback comments which were submitted immediately after completing their online interviews:

The following are also recent feedback emails from candidates using the Compact Interview system. All are genuine and unedited:

“An easy format that makes a video interview a pleasurable (as much as it can) experience. Easy to set up, follow and complete.

Thank you
Ben”

No technical know-how required:

“Amazing innovation and simple user interface. Does not require any technical know-how to operate.

Highly commendable tool.

Cheers”

Slightly scary but…

“What a great idea. Slightly scary to start off, but with practice becomes easier. Interesting to see one’s mannerisms as one talks as well – I’ve not recorded myself before.

Thank you”

Great for candidates abroad:

“To Whom It May Concern:

First of all, I would like to thank you for the opportunity given. It has been my first time to record an interview and I must say it was a great experience. As I mentioned in one my answers, it is a great form of interview, especially for candidates abroad, which is my case.

I look forward to hear back from you soon, as I will be delighted to be part of (company name).

Best Regards,”

First time but would recommend again:

“I thought the video interview was very useful. It is the first time I have ever used this technique but would recommend using it again.

Many thanks”

Looking at the camera takes getting used to:

“This was a very different experience from what I am normally used to. However it was a good experience for me. One of the drawbacks which I have seen is that it is not easy to look at the camera as your eyes are naturally drawn to the screen. Otherwise from this, I think it was ok, it only needs getting used to this. Thank you.

Regards,”

If you would like to find out about Compact Interview and experience a free trial, please get in touch with us and we will be pleased to assist.

 

 

Sample CVArticle by Rupert Sellers

How useful is a CV today for hiring purposes?

Most recruiters are at breaking point as to how to handle CVs effectively, and quantity over quality is the constant issue.

To process the volume of applications generated from online job sites, many HR teams rely on automated keyword filters to sift CVs.

That might seem smart, but candidates who don’t include certain words that match the criteria set by the employer will immediately be discarded. Pity those highly suitable candidates that didn’t make the cut, simply because they chose to use alternative descriptive words in their CV.

It means that a lot of great talent is condemned to the reject file, without even being considered.

Candidates have a tougher application process than ever before and they are having to rely on the right keywords in order to make the initial selection. Unfortunately many keywords that appear in CVs do not reflect the actual candidate. Any candidate, good or bad, can add the keywords an employer is looking for – regardless of whether they actually have that skill.

The same applies to LinkedIn profiles: Users are renowned for overstating their skills, so how can a recruiter/employer find the right candidates based on a keyword search?

Advising candidates to copy keywords from a job description to their CV ridicules the recruitment screening process

Candidates will of course welcome advice and tips on how they can stand out and have their job application considered, but so-called ‘career coaches’ and ‘expert resume writers’ who constantly tweet the lines below are a nuisance for employers:

“#Jobseekers. Review the job ad & company website & mirror keywords in your resume that the employer uses.”

“#Resumetips: Beat the filters. Use keywords in your resume drawn from job descriptions or ads.”

These tips may help applicants in the selection process, initially at least, but this advice completely skews the keyword sift that so many employers rely on. Screening a text CV based on matching keywords to select talent is flawed. Employers and candidates deserve a fairer, more robust recruitment process.

See also: The diminishing value of a CV

 

 

My whole world is falling apart!Recruitment can be stressful, costly and inefficient – and many good candidates are slipping through the net. So maybe you need to change your application process.

Empathise with applicants

Candidates hate filling application forms, whether applying for a position directly on your website or via a job board. Of course recruiters want to glean information but it shouldn’t be an endurance test. Impersonal recruitment processes can be obstructive and many candidates will simply drop out if you force them through too many hoops.

At the initial stage, applicants may not have emotional attachment to your brand, so simplify your application process to keep them engaged. Take a moment to apply for one of the jobs listed on your site – you might be in for a shock. If the form is long and tedious, you need to change it.

Don’t rely on robots

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) may seem like a no-brainer for quickly eliminating candidates who don’t have the right skills and experience. But beware, many active job seekers know how to beat the system and embellish their CVs with keywords to pass the first sift. While others, often the more sought after talent, don’t spend enough time on their CV to add keywords that can be searched on by an ATS system. There is no substitute for human judgement, particularly when assessing intangible ‘soft skills’.

Beware of one-click job applications

Most job boards enable candidates to apply for multiple ‘suggested jobs’ at the click of a button. This easy process results in many users clicking the ‘Apply’ button without knowing anything about the employer and/or job. It’s not surprising that so many job applicants are unsuitable. There are many cases when candidates can’t even remember what jobs they applied for.

Don’t keep candidates waiting

Good candidates have limited time for applying and interviewing. They are busy in their jobs and expect the recruitment process to be straightforward and efficient.

If you are going to phone screen or meet candidates in person, make sure you provide sufficient scheduling options, and bear in mind that many candidates request interviews to take place out of office hours. When candidates come to interview, don’t keep them waiting and don’t drag out the interview process. It leaves a lasting negative impression of your organisation.

 

Job interview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Tell us about yourself” and “Why do you want to work with us?”. They sound such straightforward questions, but the interviewer will hang on every word you say.

“Tell us about yourself.”

It’s an open-ended question that always comes up, usually near the beginning of the interview. It sounds like an easy one to answer – But it isn’t.

You have only a few seconds to create an impression to the interviewer and engage. If you get off to a shaky start, that first impression can be difficult to change. So make your story interesting and upbeat. You can start by saying which city you grew up in if you want, but focus on what is likely to be most relevant, such as your recent career.

If there is no interaction from the interviewer, nor body language signals to suggest you should keep talking, I wouldn’t spend any longer than one minute to tell your ‘story’. Don’t make this a long, drawn out monologue; only continue if the interviewer interjects and clearly shows interest.

“Why do you want to work with us?”

Can the interviewer envisage you working for their company and fitting with their corporate culture? Too many candidates give a standard ‘I want work for XYZ company because it has a great reputation and a friendly atmosphere’ And they regurgitate similar words for every job they apply for.

This is your chance to shine and stand out from other candidates. Do some thorough research on the company and try to find a hook that can give you a great answer. eg. ‘I’m very excited about XYZ’s expansion plans announced last month, and I want to join a company where I can develop my career and contribute to your company’s successful growth.’

The interviewer will probably take more note of your answers to these questions than any other in the interview, so make sure you are well prepared.

Article by Rupert Sellers

ReTraditional CVs - 8.8 seconds to reviewcruiters need better solution to screen talent than outdated text CV

A Curriculum Vitae, Latin for a “course of one’s life”, used to be a rare document and employers to whom it was sent would take their time to review every detail. This all worked pretty well when there wasn’t much movement in the jobs market. A few decades ago, jobs would become available to graduates and apprentices when employees after 30 or 40 years of service retired. A ‘job for life’ was quite normal.

Today, that approach to employment is unimaginable. Average job tenure is now 4.4 years, and most millennials expect to stay in a job for less than three years. Thanks to the internet, employers post thousands of jobs every day via job boards, aggregators and social media, and in return they receive millions of CVs – unfortunately many of which are completely unsuitable.

With so many CVs to review, recruiters are spending less than 10 seconds on each one to decide whether or not to keep a candidate in the recruitment process. Inevitably, some hidden gems get rejected as words ‘on paper’ provide only limited insight on the candidate.

CV writer specialists are not the answer

Given the precious window of opportunity (the 10 second glance of a CV), it’s not surprising that there are hundreds of companies and ‘specialists’ offering advice on ‘how to write a CV’ – and some even charge for the service. Content in a CV has become so critical due to the sheer volume that recruiters and employers have to process, and every word written has to be considered a potential keyword a recruiter is looking for (often searched for via an applicant tracking system). But does a CV stuffed with keywords that mirror the job description mean it represents a good candidate?

Ironically, the most desirable candidates tend not to have the best CVs in terms of layout and details provided. The active job seeker who might not be remarkable is far more likely to have a CV with all the necessary content to advance to the next stage of the process.

Too much emphasis on CV for candidate selection

Organisations will of course conduct interviews for candidates that make the selection, and possibly use psychometric tests, but there is too much emphasis placed on the CV – and many good candidates could be wrongly eliminated without the chance to prove themselves in interviews and tests that would follow the CV assessment stage.

In the many years I have been a recruiter for the luxury hospitality sector I have seen some fantastic looking CVs that simply don’t match up to the person. I have also come across great candidates with underwhelming CVs. Work experience can be deceiving. If a candidate has worked for some top brands they tend to be much more attractive to an employer than a candidate who has experience with unknown company names. We assume that the brands speak for themselves and therefore associated candidates must be good. But I have come across many mediocre candidates with seemingly glowing CVs who have somehow managed to hide below the radar and progress in their career from one good brand to the next.

Looking beyond the CV with video

Recruiters have a big job to process high volumes of candidates but racing through CVs is not the solution, particularly when you are hiring for customer service positions. A quick glance at qualifications and work experience doesn’t tell you much about the person. How do you know what their ‘soft skills’ are like? Of course it is not practical to meet all your applicants in person, and conducting phone interviews could also be a lengthy process. But before you eliminate your ‘maybe’ candidates (those that you are not sure about, but you haven’t the time to include them), consider inviting your candidate selection to record a personalised pre-set video interview. You will gather much more insight and you are likely to make a better judgment on whether or not to keep a candidate in the early stage of your recruitment process.

CIPD logoOverall jobs growth set to continue while pay growth edges up but shows little sign of taking off

Against the backdrop of low unemployment and rising recruitment pressures, UK employers are increasingly turning to young talent to fill their skills gaps, signalling the end of a broadly ‘bleak’ decade for young jobseekers and giving a boost to the thousands of young people who are entering the jobs market for the first time this summer.

This is according to the latest Labour Market Outlook from the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, which shows that the proportion of employers that say they plan to hire more apprentices and school-leavers has increased sharply in response to recruitment difficulties since spring 2014. Up-skilling for all employees remains the most prevalent employer response to recruitment difficulties, cited by half of employers (50%) but a third (33%) of employers currently reporting hard-to-fill vacancies plan to hire more apprentices, a marked increase compared with just 22% in the spring 2014 report. Around a quarter (26%) predict recruiting more graduates and twelve per cent plan to hire more school leavers, up by a third compared with the spring 2014 report (9%).

The findings help explain the latest ONS data which shows that the employment rate for 16-24 year olds that aren’t in full-time education has risen to a level last seen in 2008 (74.3%).

Gerwyn Davies, Labour Market Analyst at the CIPD, comments: “After a long, dark decade, the prospects for young people are finally looking brighter. The tightening labour market is undoubtedly encouraging more employers to turn to a wider range of younger recruits. However, it is also due to a recognition among a growing number of employers that they need to develop talent to limit the potential for future labour shortages and pay pressures. The increase in the number of high-quality apprenticeships and the ongoing recruitment pressures faced by employers should mean that the pathway to sustainable employment will be within the reach of more young people.

“However, employers need to support this recruitment drive by ensuring that they have the people management practices in place to support the effective utilisation of skills, which is critical to job retention and productivity. The UK has the second highest level of over-qualification in the OECD and unless more employers get better at putting their people’s skills to good use, efforts to boost their and the UK’s productivity will be critically undermined. Looking further ahead, the introduction of the ‘National Living Wage’ may boost the attractiveness of employing workers aged below 25 further, which could see young people reverse recent trends by becoming the new winners in a new era for the jobs market.”

Pay becomes polarised

While prospects for young people have improved, the CIPD’s report highlights an increasingly polarised picture for wages. It shows a continuation of the clear gap that exists between workers that have comfortably exceeded the current inflation rate in their pay packets, those who have received modest increases or none at all, and the majority of workers who exist in the middle.

Davies comments: “At one end of the spectrum, workers in occupations where there are skills or labour shortages and thriving sectors such as finance and construction seem likely to get pay increases well above current inflation. However, at the other end of the scale, many workers in areas such as manufacturing and public sector, are seeing only a very modest increase in living standards. In-between, the bulk of workers will continue to see moderate growth in their pay packets but with inflation expected to stay low, they should still feel the benefit of any increases.”

The Labour Market Outlook finds that the level of median pay awards anticipated by employers for the next 12 months has edged up from 1.8% to 2%. Looking back over the last year the median basic pay award is also 2%. The CIPD data and analysis suggests that the increase in average earnings in recent months highlighted in official statistics may be inflated by a number of factors. These include a disproportionately large increase in the number of people in full-time employment, a relatively large above inflation increase in the National Minimum Wage and perhaps most significantly, workers in thriving industries or key roles which are in demand where workers can earn a premium.

In the year to June 2015, almost a quarter of employers gave an increase of at least 3% while almost a fifth froze pay. Just 16% of employers raised wages in response to recruitment challenges. Looking ahead, a fifth of employers, mainly drawn from the private sector, say that their organisations will award a pay increase of 3% or more in the 12 months to June 2016. Meanwhile, fourteen per cent plan to freeze pay.

Employer confidence continues

The Labour Market Outlook also suggests that employment confidence looks to remain strong over the next three months. This quarter’s net employment balance – which measures the difference between the proportion of employers who expect to increase and those that intend to decrease staff levels – has increased to +29, up from the +24 reported in Spring 2015.

With backingSample CV music track of ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’, watch this great 2 minute video that shows how technology is changing and largely improving our lives.

Many purists argue that technology rips out the soul from some of our treasured traditions, such as the classic vinyl LP replaced by iTune downloads or the cherished paperback steadily being replaced by Tablets such as Kindle and the iPad.

And these purists have a point. There is something special about listening to music on vinyl; the vocals and instruments seem more real and vibrant. Fortunately, three years on from when this video clip was published on YouTube, vinyl is having a great resurgence. And so is the wrist watch, albeit as Apple Watch (not the clockwork type)!

What about the traditional CV?

Preserving some traditions makes sense. But when it comes to identifying talented candidates, there is nothing to cherish about the traditional Curriculum Vitae. Yes, it documents a candidate’s track record of employment and qualifications which is important, but it tells you nothing about personality and attitude, the hugely important ‘soft skills’ required for customer facing employees in hospitality.

Thanks to technology, assessing candidates is now much easier and employers can view video interviews from each applicant at the click of a button, and have much richer insight on a candidate than a text CV alone.

So should you carry on screening candidates with the traditional text CV …or embrace Video where you can see and hear a candidate answer questions you would ask in an interview?

Technology has clearly paved the way for more effective talent selection in the early stages of the recruitment process.

This 2 minute video shows how technology is impacting our lives. The evolution of CV to video is not included in this piece but it would have been another good illustration.

Perhaps Video will kill …the CV!

 

 

Article by Rupert Sellers

Profile photos - smallIt’s a long standing debate about whether or not a candidate’s photo should appear in a CV.

More often than not, published articles advise candidates not to include their photo as it could lead to discrimination – and some quote that there is an “88% job rejection rate if candidates have a photo of themselves on their CV”. Really?? It’s worth noting that this ‘statistic’ was compiled by a company called ‘Be Hiring’ over two years ago (Try finding them on the internet; I don’t think they exist anymore).

It’s time to be more realistic in today’s visual, multimedia age about how a CV / resume should be presented. And employers should stop overly worrying about discrimination implications due to a photo.

Think about LinkedIn and how powerful this social network has become as a recruiting source. LinkedIn’s Nicole Williams makes the case that “You’re seven times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have (a photo). Like a house that’s on sale, the assumption is that if there’s no photo, something’s wrong.”

In Susan Joyce’s piece in the Huffington Post, she feels if you can be visually judged when you meet someone in person then why is a photo any different: “If someone doesn’t want to hire me because of my age (shown by my gray hair), they won’t hire me whether they see my gray hair in my LinkedIn photo or in person. So, I feel that I’m saving my valuable time and energy by making it clear who I am.”

We have all become far more visual in our communications, so why should a CV be any different? The photo personalises the CV and helps the individual to be more identifiable rather than just another applicant.

Video interviewing takes visual a step further (before any face-to-face interviews), giving candidates the opportunity to showcase themselves by answering questions on video that have been pre-set by the employer. Compact Interview provides this straightforward service as part of a growing number of employers’ recruitment process, and the visual and audio insight is proving invaluable.

It’s true that age, sex, race and possibly religion can be determined from a photo or a video, and of course when a candidate meets an employer in person. But instead of worrying about discrimination employers and recruiters should focus on best practice recruitment: Treat applications professionally and don’t be influenced by a candidate’s appearance other than grooming standards and dress sense (which are important factors for customer service industries such as hospitality).

Photos and video undoubtedly enrich a text CV, so let’s stop putting off candidates from including their photo and embrace the visual, multimedia age we all live in.