Archives For video interviewing

Article by Rupert Sellers

Michael O'Leary - large

Well, not Ryanair. The airline’s boss, Michael O’Leary hasn’t given a damn about customer service for 20 years and has been very public with his foul-mouthed comments. When he was promoted to Chief Executive in 1994, his mission was to revolutionise air travel across Europe with a low-cost, no frills model – similar to Southwest Airlines in the US. With ruthless determination, O’Leary’s plan worked and today Ryanair is one of the world’s most profitable airlines.

But times are changing. This month, Ryanair has declared that profits are down, while their rival, easyJet has just announced a 50% jump in pre-tax profits. So what’s going on? Has O’Leary’s free PR campaign, using ‘negative publicity’ for his appalling customer service, finally backfired?

To have created a low-cost, no-frills airline model is a good thing and there are numerous budget airlines now operating in this space. We are all influenced by price and Ryanair’s success is largely down to being cheap or the ‘cheapest’ – a word that O’Leary constantly uses whenever interviewed.

But no company that relies on paying passengers to fill their planes should get away with a blatant disregard for customer service. The term ‘customer service’ is nothing to do with frills, such as free meal and drinks (as was standard on all airlines pre-Ryanair). Most customers are happy to dispense with frills for the sake of keeping down price.

Customer service is about attitude – which costs nothing

Customer service is about attitude, genuine care and empathy to people. Having worked in the hospitality industry for most of my career, great customer service is essential for a hotel to be successful – and it’s not just for external customers, but internal customers (ie staff) too.

Technology and Customer service

If customer service is essential for the Service industries, what about the Technology sector? We live in an increasingly automated, self-serve world – and for the most part, technology has made our lives a lot easier. We use multi-function smartphones and tablets; we shop online; we bank online; we compare things online. But when something goes wrong with the transaction or we can’t find something we are looking for, technology can be extremely frustrating.

Invariably, customer support is automated – We type in the problem and an FAQ panel provides a possible answer. If this hasn’t solved the problem, we want human contact.

Technology companies strive to differentiate with their product offering but, however slick and useful it is, the real winners in technology are those who embrace customer service and who solve problems for customers efficiently.

HR Technology and the human touch

In the people function of human resources, new HR technology tools are increasingly being used to streamline processes such as payroll, applicant tracking, recruiting and training. But many of these tools become redundant or are under-utilised if good customer service is not provided. Video interviewing is a classic example; the process is simple and intuitive but HR managers are going to be reluctant to use this screening tool if they are not fully supported by the customer service team. At Compact Interview, we have developed our system using the best video technology but we know that our human contact and empathy with clients and their candidates is what really helps us to be successful and set us apart.

Customer service is vital for any business that interacts with people. As profits dip at Ryanair, Michael O’Leary has decided to change tact and get touchy-feely with his customers. Really? I’m not convinced he will learn what genuine customer service is any time soon.


Rupert + Janette photo - medium

Since joining Compact Interview in October, Janette MacKay has already made a great impact on our UK business, signing up many new clients to our video interviewing system – Go Janette!!

If you would like to see how easy this tool is to use and and how it can save you hours of recruiting time, please get in touch and email


Janette + Malene - portraits

Article by Rupert Sellers

I am delighted to announce two new appointments to the Compact Interview team.

Our video interviewing system is now helping HR teams in many different industry sectors to streamline their recruitment for a faster and more effective process. With increasing demand, not only in the UK, but also in the Middle East and Asia Pacific, it’s perfect timing to bring on board two very well respected and professional sales directors, Janette MacKay and Malene Bertelsen – and I’m fortunate to have known them both for many years.

Janette MacKay (pictured left) will work closely with me to pick up the growing demand in the UK and Middle East, and Malene Bertelsen (pictured right) will oversee our developments in Asia Pacific, including Australia and New Zealand.

About Janette

Janette spent 16 years with Initial City Link, one of the UK’s most successful parcel delivery services. As Sales Director, she was responsible for leading both the New Sales and Business Development teams generating turnover in excess of £50 million each year. Janette’s team was the most successful within the Initial City Link Network and constantly exceeded ever-growing sales targets. A multi-tasking guru, Janette was given the added responsibility of managing their Customer Service and IT teams. Married with two young children, Janette is passionate about international travel and exploring new cultures – there can’t be many countries in the world she hasn’t yet visited!

Here’s Janette’s take on joining us: “I’m very excited to be part of the team at Compact Interview. Employers have been crying out for better recruitment solutions for years. Video interviewing makes so much sense and this screening tool breathes fresh air into the hiring process. It would certainly have made my life so much easier if this was available when I was recruiting in previous roles”.

About Malene

Malene has spent most of her career handling Sales for the luxury hospitality sector. She worked at London’s Dorchester Hotel in the early 90’s and I later hired her as my Director of Sales for the brand new Metropolitan on Park Lane. Malene then ran her own successful hotel sales & marketing consultancy before relocating to Perth, Australia in 2008 to be with her partner (now husband!). Malene is very well travelled and in her Regional Sales Director position for Design Hotels she has worked closely with her colleagues and clients in Asia. Her location in Perth makes an ideal base from which to develop business with clients in Australia and across the Asia Pacific region.

Here’s Malene’s take on joining us: “I love the Compact Interview concept and I’m very excited to be part of something new. I think this is a natural progression considering how video is used now including skype calls and similar. I am sure this online screening tool will be very useful for employers in Australia, given the vast distances between cities. So much time and money can be saved with pre-recorded video interviews before taking final steps to meet candidates in person.”

As for Asia, Compact Interview is already working with companies in Singapore and Malaysia and we currently have strong leads in Hong Kong and Thailand. This recently published survey which polled 578 Asia-Pacific based companies found that ‘over a third of countries in the Asia-Pacific area are moving to streamline their HR departments…Technology is seen as the main driver of the cost-cutting and HR efficiency measures’.

Welcome aboard Janette and Malene!

Click here for full press release.

CIPD - 100 yearsWrong. That’s what many employers may think, but youths have a range of talents that can complement an organisation’s workforce.

A great new initiative from the CIPD and Inspiring the Future highlights the issues with youth unemployment, not just for the young individuals themselves but also for the future growth of businesses. Whilst UK unemployment is falling, the statistics for youth unemployment have barely changed – there are still 958,000 16-24 year olds looking for work.

Many employers do want to hire youths, and this bodes well with their Corporate Social Responsibility policy, but the challenge is HOW to do this effectively.

On the flipside, young candidates struggle with HOW to be considered for a job. How can they grab attention with their text CV when their qualifications are going to be similar to their socio-economic peers applying for the same jobs? Graduates with 2:1 degrees may pitch for a different level of job to non-qualified candidates but the issue of getting noticed is the same. At this young age, there’s no real work experience to speak of, so what will the employer be looking for when sifting through hundreds of CVs?

It’s hugely demotivating for candidates who submit their CV for jobs and are constantly rejected. In spite of all the advice that is written about how to compose a CV – what to include, how many pages etc, the CV screening process can feel like a lottery.

Failing to deal with youth unemployment now is creating a ticking time bomb of skills shortages

As shown in the excellent ‘HR Inspiring the Future’ video, employers who do recruit young people say ‘they bring fresh ideas’ and ‘think outside the box’. Businesses need to overcome the headache of HOW, and find ways to ‘connect’ with youth talent. Short video interviews that candidates can record for the employers review is certainly one way to address this issue. Most 16-24 year olds will readily embrace video using their smartphone and tablets as a means to get noticed.

The short film on Compact Interview has just been published today on The Telegraph website. In the film senior managers from two of London’s top hotels, The Lanesborough and InterContinental London Park Lane discuss the benefits of video interviews in the recruitment process.

Watch the Telegraph film here.

Telegraph Business Club - logo


Telegraph film - Anja Henschel IHGTelegraph film - Paula McColgan - LanesboroughTelegraph film - female candidate on iPadTelegraph film - female candidate on iPad 2Telegraph film - Rupert SellersTelegraph film - Matt Evans








The Telegraph Business Club is profiling Compact Interview in a new film and talks to top executives at The Lanesborough and InterContinental London Park Lane about the benefits of video recruitment. The film will be posted on the Telegraph site next month but I’m pleased to offer you an exclusive peek.

Watch the video here:

In the film, my colleague Matt Evans and I discuss the reasons we created our video interviewing software and the benefits the system provides HR professionals and hiring managers, including:

•          Improved recruitment efficiency

•          Reducing the cost of hiring

•          Assessing candidates’ soft-skills

•          Reaching and engaging with graduates and global candidates

Contributing to this short film are senior managers from London’s top hotels who discuss the merits of video interviewing.

Anja Henschel, Human Resources Manager at InterContinental London Park Lane is one of our clients who reports an increase in efficiency since she began using video interviews to pre-screen candidates.

Paula McColgan, Director of Sales & Marketing at The Lanesborough, is considering using video interviewing as part of their recruitment process to better assess soft-skills and attract overseas candidates.

Quotes from the film

Anja Henschel, HR Manager, InterContinental London Park Lane:

“I think it can save quite a bit of time, helping the HR team and the hiring managers use their time more efficiently – and that affects financial results.”

“It’s more futuristic than anything we have done before.”

Paula McColgan, Director of Sales & Marketing, The Lanesborough:

“I think this is leading technology. It’s the way forward.”

“Video interviewing can broaden the scope of interviewing overseas candidates.”

“It gives the interviewer a great snapshot of the candidate’s soft skills, not just the hard copy CV.”

Zoe Collings, Sales Manager, The Lanesborough:

“It allows you to interview in your own time.”

NG_Barometa-110315-2353It wasn’t long ago that the term “video interviewing” drew a blank, even in recruitment circles. Today it is one of the hottest topics in HR as recruiters increasingly recognise the benefits of this new, effective hiring method to cut time and cost.

It’s great to see more and more stories being published on this subject, but ‘RecruitmentBuzz‘ particularly caught my eye this week with their 10 Articles that show Video Recruitment is the Future. Each article is objectively written and one carries a survey revealing that “63% of HR managers say their company uses video technology to conduct interviews, compared to 14% the previous year”. This is a real testament to video interviews as a smart screening tool for employers.

Of course, there is a wide range of ‘video technology’: Skype which we can all relate to, Facetime (launched by Apple in 2010) and the growing specialist companies that offer recorded live video interviews and asynchronous (one-way) video interviews.

This latter model is arguably the most convenient and time saving as the interviews tend to be much shorter than a live interview and there is no scheduling involved. The employer simply creates the interview online, then emails the link to invited candidates. While candidates have the flexibility to record their interviews in their own time, the employer can get on with other tasks. When convenient, it’s a quick login to the system to watch and evaluate the recorded interviews.

Systems providing the best candidate experience are inevitably the ones that are intuitive with a clean and simple interface.

With the UK now well on the road to recovery, HR teams need to be ready for a surge in hiring new staff. If companies are not already using video interviews as part of their recruitment process, perhaps now is a good time to start.

Employment confidence has reached its highest level since 2008, according to the CIPD’s latest Labour Market Outlook (LMO) survey. As hiring needs increase, there’s never been a better time to introduce video interviewing into your recruitment process.

Before the recession started in 2008, the recruitment landscape was very different. With many years of prosperity, HR teams had big budgets to play with and when a job needed to be filled, a quick call into their recruitment agency to source suitable candidates often provided the solution. At the time, few people had grasped social media. Some people dabbled with LinkedIn, social climbers took to Facebook and only geeks tweeted (that was when Twitter was only two years old).

Fast track to 2013 and look at how these social networks have impacted our lives today. Not only in our personal lives, but in our business lives too. Matching candidates to jobs has always been an art, and still is, but with so many channels to showcase jobs to candidates, and candidates to jobs, the recruitment process has become more challenging. Extensive distribution channels through job boards and social media throws up a much broader range of candidates. Of course it’s good news that there is greater diversity of talent to be considered, compared to the rather blinkered approach to hiring staff 5+ years ago when employers would readily rely on a recruitment agency’s static database of candidates.

So how do the much leaner HR teams of 2013 handle recruitment when they have to process so many more candidates for each vacant job? Reviewing CVs can be painful when content is stuffed with keywords and superlatives that doesn’t relate to the actual candidate, but the process is useful for a quick snapshot of a candidate’s track record and qualifications.

Having sifted through the CVs, what next? Scheduling and conducting phone screens and first round interviews takes hours… That was so last decade.

As we head towards 2014, with employment on the increase at last, recruiters should consider what new tools are out there. Yes, social media certainly to help source good talent. But when it comes to filtering volumes of diverse candidates, cut out the phone screens and first round interviews, and instead use video interviewing as a screening tool. It’s a no brainer to quickly identify the most suitable candidates for your organisation.

Stressed-Business-WomanAfter all the stress of exams, students can breathe a sigh of relief now that the season is over.

It’s perhaps a good time to reflect on examination conditions and how appropriate they are within an interview process.

Interviewers are usually eager to find out how a candidate handles stress and are likely to ask a question that tests an applicant’s behaviour in a busy environment. But actually most candidates feel far more stressed in an interview environment than they ever do in their busy work environment.

In a face-to-face interview, a good hiring manager will understand that a person’s stress in an interview does not necessarily mean that they will get stressed in a work environment. They can provide reassurance through tone of voice, smiling and nodding to steer the interview so that the candidate is given a fair chance.

With the growing popularity of video interviewing used in the candidate screening process, I have heard different views about whether or not a video interview should be treated in the same way as a face-to-face interview.

I’m talking about asynchronous or ‘one-way’ video interviewing here, where candidates record their interview remotely and employers then review the video at a later time.

Some employers feel that candidates should only be given one chance in a video interview to provide spontaneous answers to each question. That’s how it is in a face-to-face interview, isn’t it?

Well no, not really. If you want to provide a good ‘candidate experience’, it’s important to recognise the different interview environments.

Talking to camera for 2 or 3 minutes with no interaction from an interviewer does not come naturally for many, particularly if candidates are experiencing the asynchronous video interview process for the first time.

By contrast, in a live meeting, candidates have the opportunity to engage with the interviewer. If they’re not getting a good vibe whilst talking it’s often possible to get back on track by adjusting the answer, perhaps adding further explanation to what they are trying to get across.

Then, why bother with video interviews, you ask.

There are many benefits to video interviews. They save hours in the recruitment process and are convenient for employers and candidates. But to make this innovative process work successfully, there needs to be a great user experience.

Here are just a few reasons why video interviews should be treated differently to face-to-face interviews:

  • Body language – In a live meeting interaction, non-verbal behaviour is two-way. The interviewer assesses non-verbal behaviour, but so does the interviewee. Whilst answering a question, the interviewee is usually able to gauge if the interviewer is interested or bored, and can up the tempo if necessary.
  • Understanding the question – Candidates in a live interview sometimes start their answer with a question: ‘Do you mean…’ Most of the time, it’s not due to a language barrier, but a tactical way to find out more from the interviewer what answer they are looking for. It’s also a delay tactic so that the candidate has more time to think about how he will answer the question.
  • Technophobia – As intuitive as the video interview process may be, some people will always feel uncomfortable with computers and gadgets, and their unease will show on the video.
  • Camera shy – Some people just are!
  • Disruptions – You are at home and in the middle of recording your video interview. The dog starts barking, someone walks into the room and interrupts – It happens!

So, should a video interview be rigid like an examination? Or should there be some flexibility so that if something does go wrong during a recording, the candidate has the opportunity to re-record an answer in their video interview (rather like modifying an answer in a face-to-face interview)?

Having researched and developed our video interviewing model over the last 4 years, we feel video interviews are most useful for providing quick insight on candidates and showcasing soft skills. Offering flexibility has been important and client setting options, such as the number of attempts permitted to record an answer, have been an attractive feature.

It’s these small details which help to engage candidates and prevent them from ‘dropping-off’ from the interview process.

Does that mean candidates can cheat? I wouldn’t call it cheating. It depends what you want to achieve from the video interview process. If you make it too rigid with exam-like conditions, you may find that candidates will not complete the interview. This could result in good candidates being eliminated for the wrong reasons.

Candidates should breathe a sigh of relief – Video interviews are not an examination.

CIPD - 100 yearsCompact Interview exhibited at the CIPD Recruitment Exhibition and HR Software Show at London’s Olympia last Wednesday and Thursday. What a great Show – but exhausting! We were blown away by the interest level in video interviewing. It’s clearly very topical for progressive HR teams and most visitors to our stand knew what the concept was, but not so many knew how video interviews worked and their true benefits.

We were able to demo the Compact Interview system at the Show and many of the contacts we met have taken the opportunity to try out our video interviewing system on a free trial basis. Within just a week we have gained 12 new clients.

With such increasing interest levels in this effective screening tool, we have already signed up for next year with the CIPD.