Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) hires approximately 11,000 new college graduates each year. For the past year-plus, the company has integrated video interviewing into its college recruiting program.
Rod Adams, PwC's U.S. recruiting leader, explains that the catalyst for developing a video interviewing platform was to better leverage the time of both PwC's interviewers and of its candidates, and to enhance the candidate experience.
"In an approach where you're doing everything in person, it put pressure on the candidate to be available when we needed them to be," Adams points out. "It was on our time. We believe an advantage to video interviewing is it provides more flexibility for the candidate as it relates to scheduling interviews."
While PwC uses video interviewing for recruiting both new college graduates and experienced candidates, there is an extra consideration for the former that doesn't apply to the latter.
"We use it for international students or those doing some type of overseas program," Adams notes. "Prior to video interviewing, it was pretty hard to engage [these students] in the interview process other than by phone, but that isn't [always the best method]."
Adams says the percentage of video interviews PwC conducts is low at less than 10 percent. However, he adds, that percentage is growing as the technology gains traction internally.
PwC's normal campus recruiting process is conducting on-campus interviews for the majority of its hires. After the interview, PwC invites candidates it is interested in to an office for a visit.
"What we've used video interviewing for more often than not at the schools that we actively recruit from is to replace, or in some cases supplement, the office visit interviews," he says. "We still meet them on campus, but then we do a video interview post-campus interview instead of requiring the office visit interview."
PwC still invites its candidates in for an office visit to meet its people and experience its culture first-hand.
"It becomes a sell visit instead of an interview," Adams explains. "The benefit of this is candidate experience because [candidates] come into the office, they're not nervous because they already have an offer, and they can really just absorb our environment and what we have to offer them versus worrying about their interview."
Elements of a successful video interview include understanding of the process and preparation for it. To help recruiters conducting video and in-person interviews become more adept and comfortable with the process, Adams and his staff have created a required eLearn training program and supplemental, in-person follow-up modules. PwC's interviewers are at and above the manager level.
PwC also provides students and interviewers with tips specifically before video interviews that include:
- Making sure there is a good Internet connection.
- Looking at the camera on the computer, not the screen to give a better impression of making eye contact.
- Treating it like an in-person interview as far as how they interact with the person on the other side.
- Creating a favorable environment, taking into consideration lighting, positioning, and background.
- Staying calm if the connection gets lost.
Still, there are challenges. Adams says the biggest one PwC faces is the technology itself.
"Candidates seem to be very receptive to the idea," he says. "But, our internal group of interviewers have to get over the fear of it. Technology isn't perfect. When the technology doesn't work, it leads people to say we shouldn't do this. The biggest thing we're focusing on is trying to make the technology better."
Another challenge is determining the best technology to remain compliant and achieve goals.
"It's important to take the time to figure out the best technology to use based on the organization's approach and its compliance atmosphere," Adams says. "Also, you have to avoid the desire for cost savings to be the main driver because, inevitably, that approach is going to have the biggest negative impact on relationships."
For PwC, the focus on growing the video interviewing platform is to improve relationships.
"While video technology may feel a little less personal, you can implement it so it's still personal," Adams says. "It doesn't mean there's less time for our client, hiring partners, and managers. We can just use [that time] elsewhere. With video interviewing, there still needs to be as much if not more of a focus on relationships."
Adams says the benefits of using video interviewing are worth the small setbacks, especially in terms of making the process more convenient for the candidates and enhancing their experience with the organization.
He recommends that employers experiencing glitches press on with their efforts.
"Be persistent with it; don't give up," Adams says. "There are going to be obstacles internally and it would be easy to say video interviewing won't work for you. But as a recruiting function, it sells and gives a candidate the perception that a company understands technology and respects their time. There's very little downside to this on the candidate side."