Video Interviewing: the recruiting tool of the future?

Facial expressions can give away a lot of additional, and important, information about a person’s character and motivation.

Video interviews are hot. Companies are increasingly using this new tool to form a first impression of a candidate ahead of an assessment or face-to-face interview.

CVIVE is a startup company whose name derives from a combination of the Latin term Curriculum Vitae (or CV) and the French word for “live”. It was conceived three years ago by students at Maastricht University as an innovative resource to help companies take advantage of the potential of video job applications.

CVIVE is based on the principle that video applications are different from video conferencing tools such as Skype and are much more adapted for the screening of a job applicant. The main difference with Skype is that CVIVE is asynchronous: the applicant listens to a pre-recorded video question and records an answer through the webcam.

Why video recruitment?

Service-oriented companies are starting to realise that their human capital is their most important differentiating asset and putting more effort into finding the right people for the right job.

Previously, recruiting tools were limited to phone interviews, CVs, cover letters, photographs, social media profiles and assessments.

Nothing, however, beats the impression a candidate can make in a pre-recorded video interview. One’s demeanour, mannerisms and behaviour clearly emerge on the screen.

Reyndert Coppelmans, co-founder and managing director of CVIVE

CVIVE, a startup company from Maastricht

CVIVE is a startup originally founded in 2009 by six Master students in International Business (IB): Entrepreneurship at Maastricht University. Backed by the Limburg business plan award LIOF Yeah! in 2011, venture capital investment and deployment at several large organisations, the company has continued operations and development and professionalised its offer.

There is competition out there. But most important for CVIVE in its current phase is to keep focus and not differentiate its product by offering too much. As a company in growth phase, it might be tempted to apply the same solution for different uses.

Diffuse application of the CVIVE software, however, would only confuse potential customers.

Increasing the quality of the recruitment process

The CVIVE application is linked to a company’s corporate career site and branded in the company’s own style. After hitting on the Apply Now button, candidates are redirected to the CVIVE application where they are invited to watch an introduction and instruction video and answer a number of questions asked by the recruiting company via webcam. Applicants are then evaluated on the basis of their video answers and CVs.

This procedure allows companies to cut back on costs and measurably increase the quality of their recruitment process because they no longer need to assess every single candidate through face-to-face or video conference meetings.

How is CVIVE different from video conferencing?

Although video conferencing is location independent, it still requires planning and all the social chitchat that goes with direct contact. Not every applicant can be interviewed via video conference, simply because the process would be too time consuming.

With CVIVE, applicants can record their interview anytime, anywhere, and the recruiter can evaluate their video answers at a convenient moment.

How it all started: Barney Stinson’s Awesome Video Resume

 The future of recruiting

CVIVE was founded on the belief that in a few years from now, video job applications will become the standard. Although videoCVs work well with companies, applicants cannot be expected to make a separate clip for every job application. The CVIVE cloud application allows applicants to record video answers to company-specific questions. The benefits are large, both for companies and applicants, ranging from costs-savings to employer branding. Even in times of crisis, companies are willing to invest in this solution.

A possible future development for CVIVE would be to exploit the insights in body language that can be revealed through the replaying of a video clip. A regular face-to-face interview does not allow body language to be rechecked. In assessing a job application, however, it is often more important to pay attention to how a message is delivered than to what is being said.

We have grown to rely too much on speech and tend to underexploit our ability to communicate through facial expressions like chimpanzees. Yet, the face can give away a lot of additional, and important, information about a person’s character and motivation.

CVIVE’s latest tool taps into new insights in Human Resources

People and personnel are starting to be increasingly regarded as assets instead of costs. Up until now, the reason why a company’s Human Resources department has not enjoyed the same influence as e.g. Finance is that it used to limit itself mainly to the administration of salaries. Nowadays, however, HR’s tasks list also encompasses coaching, learning and development.

Companies are slowly starting to recognise the importance of having the right people at the right place, which in essence is a HR responsibility. The challenge for HR lies in the fact that there are not many consistent measurement tools available.

This is changing however, and besides video applications, CVIVE is now also developing a tool that will allow to objectively measure job requirements based on personality match and to look at people’s likes/dislikes through facial expression and voice stress analysis. It is even possible to pinpoint which person needs which type of training, and derive a measurable return on investment (ROI) from it.

CVIVE recently completed a successful pilot with a multinational in the Netherlands with this new tool and will continue developing it in the next five months. Stay posted!

Six tips to make an effective video job application

Environment – Make sure to record the video clip with a good quality webcam in a quiet surrounding.Switch off your phone. Avoid distracting objects in the background. For instance, place yourself in front of a relatively neutral wall with few decorations. If the wall is coloured, make sure that it is a colour that you would use at home. The same tips apply for the colours of your clothing, such as shoes, ties and dresses.

Lighting Make sure to have a light source positioned behind the webcam, not in front of it. A light source behind the webcam will display your picture more clearly.

Answering – Don’t spend too much time thinking about what you believe the recruiter wants to hear. Answer the questions from your heart and mind. Obviously the quality of your recording is important, but if you use a modern webcam (e.g. integrated in your laptop), the video quality will suffice. The recruiter does not expect your answers to be delivered in high definition quality.

Review & rerecord – Review your videos, and don’t worry about that minor stumble over words. Companies want to see the real you, not a perfectly rehearsed video. You want to avoid painting a picture of yourself that you would not be able to live up to in a face-to-face interview.

RelaxBe as you are. Record your application in a comfortable environment, where you feel relaxed. This will help you focus on your answers, instead of worrying about how you will be perceived. A relaxed attitude in your presentation will radiate confidence and belief in yourself.

Smile! – Your first video interview might feel like a stressful experience. No matter how tense you are, don’t forget to smile in the camera! A relaxed presentation and a smile are the elements that will get you to the next round, the face-to-face interview.

By Reyndert Coppelmans

Reyndert Coppelmans (26) is founder of CVIVE. He’s an alumnus of Maastricht University and entrepreneur at heart and mind. He is interested in business, politics, psychology and travel and enjoys all sports of a competitive nature. He actively practices football, fitness and jogging. With CVIVE he aims to offer better alternatives to current tools used in HR. 

Further reading

Reyndert Coppelmans: “I did not doubt the success despite the crisis”, Alumni News, Maastricht University, September 2012

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