Use videoconferencing for job interviews

By David Essex, ITworld.com |  Career

PC-to-PC job interviews are the purpose of LawyersCareer -- from LLM Software (Birmingham, Ala.) -- which is built on conferencing software from CUseeMe Networks (Nashua, N.H.), a de facto standard for PC video. Law firms like Florida-based Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart P.A. use LawyersCareer to screen prospective hires at law schools nationwide. Candidates are, if anything, less nervous than they would be marching into a law firm for their first interview, said Mason Miller, LLM Software's chief strategic officer. "They've been treating it just like that computer is the interviewer," Miller said. Law firms regard the cheap videoconferencing as a way to mine talent at dozens of schools they could never afford to send recruiters to. "The law schools have understood that the alternative to a somewhat lower-quality interview is no interview at all," said Miller, whose company may offer the software in other vertical markets.

With a search firm, corporate hiring managers can avoid early interviews altogether, and even get-acquainted and final interviews that require management participation are easier if the headhunter sets up conferencing on the candidate's end. Managers can save even more time by recording the interview for playback on a PC.

That's the approach of Source 2000 (Houston), which uses the technology (offered at its Website, Internet-Interviews.com) to hire low- to mid-level IT workers for mostly local Fortune 500 companies like Halliburton Company. Though Source 2000 has the ability to do live interviews, "there's not much point in that," said CEO Terry Parks. Source 2000 knows the specific hiring needs of clients and has developed standard questions for positions, which tend to be for help desks and other tasks that require generic IT skills.

"The real intention of putting it on tape is that the client can view it at their leisure," said Parks. He admits that the demand hasn't taken off as he thought it would when he started 2 years ago, and clients aren't willing to pay extra for the service. Still, its value is clear when you consider the time spent on the preparation and social niceties of each in-person interview -- steps that can be avoided by viewing recorded interviews on a PC. "You know within 5 minutes whether the person is qualified for the job," Parks said.

Another IT-focused headhunter with video interviewing capabilities is Directfit (Irvine, Calif.), which makes a high-quality video of each candidate, then uses it along with other profiling and screening tools to match candidates with clients. "We have built a database of pre-qualified candidates," said Directfit's executive vice president, Nat Dodge. The company may offer live interviews within a year, said Dodge.

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