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HireVue Video Interviews: HR insults talent in a talent shortage

Welcome to the machine.

video interviewsYou’ve got rare, desirable skills — but are you ready for video interviews? Maybe what makes you rare is how hard you work for your employers. In any case, you apply for a job.

You fill out several pages of online forms. You attach a resume that you spent hours customizing to address the specific employer and job. You provide names of references, sign off on a waiver and agree to the terms required.

Software and some algorithms scan your data record for keywords. If they match those in the employer’s database, your application is flagged for the next step.

Then you get an e-mail. It asks you to click on another agreement, and to sit in front of your own video camera to answer a series of questions from an online robot. You carefully organize your responses and do your best to be calm and collected as you address the eye.

No one from the employer has spoken with you. No manager has taken time to answer your questions. No one at the employer company knows you exist.

When you’re done, you click your video interview up to a database at a company called HireVue. What you don’t know is that no human will ever take time to watch you answer all those questions. No one hears you speak.

bit-streamAnother robot “views” your video and algorithms scan the sounds and movements you make in the video.

The employer has invested its money in HireVue, not in you, to conduct this assessment — which we can’t even call an interview because although HR is viewing there is no inter-action with anyone. It’s just your bit stream and a recording and some software and hardware, saving the employer the cost of deploying a human to judge you.

If your data doesn’t match the template the employer uses to match job candidates, the recruiting process ends. A quick look at the employer’s website reveals that “People are our most important asset!”

Sucks for you, doesn’t it?

Question

When I applied for a job, they wanted me to sign into something called HireVue so a robot could interview me. Are they kidding? They’re trying to attract people like me and the best they can do is a video camera? (Not to sound arrogant but the work I do is specialized and it’s not easy to find people with my skills.) Long story short, I told them (yes, told them) to take a hike. I’m a software developer. Would you like to join forces and create a robo-interviewer job candidates can send to employers? I’d like to see their faces when the talent they’re dying to hire wants them to pose for the camera before I decide they’re worth my face time. Are you seeing a lot of this, or is this just one clueless company (that I won’t name though I should)?

Nick’s Reply

In the midst of a talent shortage, HR tells the talent to sit for video interviews but can’t figure out why it can’t attract the talent it needs. Gee, is there a connection? Or is the modern HR executive daft?

I keep seeing HireVue infomercials popping up in the news. It’s a fair guess that these uncritical fluff columns are HireVue’s PR team pitching “content” to the media. Press releases are free advertising, but many media outlets eat it up because the PR agent does all the work and basically writes the article. The news outlet saves money, too, while real news reporters collect unemployment.

There’s a recent fluff piece about HireVue in the Wall Street Journal — which should know better: Video Job Interviews: Hiring for the Selfie Age. (The Journal requires a paid membership, but you can view the article for free by searching Google for the title, then X-ing past the splash screen.) On the other hand, the dusty skeleton in the WSJ’s closet is its defunct CareerJournal, which compromised the newspaper’s editorial integrity to sell its job-board service: Job-Board Journalism: Selling Out The American Job Hunter. So perhaps it’s no surprise the WSJ is hawking HR technology.

I’d like to ask the Ask The Headhunter community: Do you as a job seeker (or as a hiring manager, or as even one of the many HR folks who subscribe to Ask The Headhunter) buy this stuff?

canddiate-lineInterview videos infomercial claim #1

“…companies say [HireVue] is an efficient, fair and inexpensive way to process hundreds of applicants…”

The key word in this statement is “process,” as in “process meat.” Here’s what Gilman Louie, partner at Silicon Valley venture firm Alsop Louie, told me about how modern HR technology destroys an employer’s competitive edge:

“HR processes 2,000 candidates! They don’t look through 2,000 candidates! And at the end of the process, what they get is the same candidate that everybody else running PeopleSoft gets! So where’s your competitive advantage if everybody turns up with the same candidates?”

Infomercial claim #2

“Video interviews have significantly reduced travel costs for Cigna recruiters. Frank Abate, a senior recruiter there, said one of his colleagues racked up more than $1 million annually just traveling to meet candidates. Since adopting video interviews four years ago, that colleague’s expenses are now under $100,000.”

Gee. Imagine spending money to go find the talent. Cigna is saving by not meeting candidates.

By not meeting candidates.

By not meeting candidates.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Imagine if Cigna told its sales team to stop spending money to call on customers to close deals.

I love your idea for a robo-interviewer app for job seekers. Imagine how much you — the talent — could save by telling employers to talk to the video camera before you bother talking to them in person. Get that employer ready for its close-up. Tell HR you don’t talk to the hand.

Infomercial claim #3

eye-lensRecruiters at IBM and Cigna said they evaluate candidates based on how well the person communicates his/her thought process, whether the person answers all parts of the question—and whether he/she makes eye contact.”

Eye contact??? Uh, contact with what eye??

Infomercial claim #4

“HireVue, InterviewStream, WePow and other vendors that make video-interviewing software say their programs make hiring more fair because all applicants must answer the same questions, placing substance over schmoozing and small talk.”

Schmoozing and small talk are bad things. The robo-interview vendors now save HR jockeys from the ignominy of having to talk with the talent HR claims is so hard to find, so hard to attract, so hard to hire. Heaven forbid recruiting should be a social interaction where you can judge someone in person.

Small talk is a bad thing. But employers say they want to judge applicants for cultural fit. Tell it to the camera.

Just how gullible is HR?

While the HR profession’s existence is being questioned in the C-suite, HR outsources its most important job — hiring — in a stunning display of gullibility. Wowed by technology it doesn’t even understand, HR deploys it at enormous cost to insult the talent it needs to attract during a talent shortage.

The by-line on this WSJ “article” is Dahlia Bazzaz, a former “crime reporter” and summer intern — and Ms. Bazzaz goes on to blurt out this sales pitch for HireVue:

robo-hr“Taking robo-recruiting one step further, some HireVue customers have an algorithm review the video interviews for them. Using data about the skills and attributes companies are seeking for a given role, a program called HireVue Insights scans videos for verbal and facial cues that match those skills then ranks the top 100 applicants.”

Now I get the “crime reporter” part, and we get to what’s really going on. Personnel jockeys don’t just avoid recruiting and interviewing you. They let HireVue’s robots “watch” your interview videos. Don’t those schmutzes realize they’re next? WTF? Inflatable interview dolls?

Let’s go back to Gilman Louie, whose investments in the digital world are his livelihood. What does he say about picking people?

“When you’re selecting people..  it’s personal. And personal is not digital.”

HR eats this stuff up.

“Speeding up the hiring process allows recruiters to look at more applicants than before…”

HR complains its job postings yield such a flood of applications that HR can’t possibly “look through” them all. But now personnel jockeys have time to look through all those videos. Gullible?

We could partner to produce an app that requires HR to make video interviews job applicants can watch to judge employers. But we’d do better selling popcorn to all those couch potatoes while they dial the talent knobs. Then there’s this idea for production services we can sell to job applicants: HR Pornography: Interview videos.

Companies like HireVue, InterviewStream, WePow — can you blame them because HR is stupid enough to spend its money insulating itself from, and insulting, the talent HR says is so hard to attract in today’s hiring market?

Can you? I can. These HR technology vendors are vampires sucking the recruiting budgets out of comatose HR departments while pitching stories to the media about how people are interchangeable parts — to be sorted by algorithms and selected by robots.

The HireVue Quiz

There’s an issue with HireVue’s video interviews I haven’t even mentioned. Can you guess what it is?

Would you sit for a robo-interview? Or would you rather HR pose for you first? Just how daft do you think HR is?

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115 Comments
  1. As Nancy Reagan once implored, “Just Say No!”.

    And besides, maybe the true ‘quiz’ with HireVue is simply the skill of picking up the phone and telling the company that their ‘process’ is nonsense and needs to be changed if they want to find skilled people.

    I personally suspect companies like IBM and probably Cigna embrace this simply to ward off good quality domestic candidates so they can proceed to hire H-1Bs. They’re not looking for talent, they’re looking to get rid of talent while at least fomenting the idea that they’re actually going about it in good faith.

    • Exactly.

      The H-1B avenue has been abused for years now.

      Companies are literally creating the domestic talent “shortage” so they can import “talent” from overseas in order to justify their “emergency” employment needs to fit the initial requirements to qualify to use H-1B process in the first place.

      And Americans thought unskilled illegal aliens are disturbing the employment market? The USA job market has been under attack from both the bottom and top end for YEARS. Up to 1/3 of Millennials are living with their parents while 10’s of millions more Americans are under/unemployed.

      Recovery you say? What recovery? Check out Dept. of Labor stats for proof of the stagnant sick pond that the USA job market has become.

      Go figure…

  2. BTW, $1M annually for a recruiter is $3000/day (assuming we let the recruiter take a few days off). Such an organization has problems far, far deeper than just the recruiting process if they’re allowing a recruiter to drop 3 grand a day on travel expenses assuming they’re working a super-human 330 days a year. Either Cigna is one of the worst run companies in the nation, or the informercial company is completely lying. For some reason, both seem to be plausible explanations of a $1M/annum expense claim bill for a recruiter.

    • Mark: I had not done the calculation. Nice catch on the daily spending.

      • It’s actually $4000+ a day.
        365 days minus 2 weekend days each week is 365 – 2x(52) = 261 working days/year.
        Most companies provide about 11 paid holidays and other personal days, so figure a normal work year is 250 days … before deducting vacations.
        $1,000,000/250 days = $4000/day

  3. In a position combining roles of System Architect, Senior Developer, Software Product Manager for the research and new products group of a major Wall Street firm, I had responsibility for creating small teams to dream up solutions to “business priorities” then implement. I often needed to hire developers. Since the work was to imagine and create software solutions developers often had to investigate and learn new technology. It was not intelligent to advertise a shopping list of specific technical skills and hope some hirng program or service would keyword match to find candidates.

    The best hiring was intuitive and interactive. MANY OF THE FINEST DEVELOPERS WERE PEOPLE I HIRED WITH DEGREES IN HUMANITIES, AND WITH VARIED INTERESTS. I OFTEN HIRED MUSICIANS: what happens to a person when they become expert in music,along with a good general education, is they evolve a creative approach to integrating structures and patterns with sensivity to emotions and communication styles. Give the right “musician” a project and a little time to consume technical tooks and they outperformed “developers” with computer scienc degrees.

    My background was diverse, but did include graduate study at MIT. I noticed at MIT that passions and skills in music were common.
    The connections were obvious.

    Now, would the hiring programs find me creative generalists with technical skills who could imagine new solutions to vaguely define problems?

    Me? Happily retired, now teaching West African music and working hard to forget another computer language every month.

    • John: Thanks for sharing your first-hand experience. Forgetting the video interviews for a minute, consider how a personnel rep would interpret the skills and aptitudes you are able to recognize because you do the work that you’d want your new hires to do. First, employers outsourced recruiting and hiring to HR. Next, HR outsourced it to third-party recruiters. (As a headhunter, I can tell you that precious few positions should be assigned outside the company.) It also outsourced it to LinkedIn, Monster, and a raft of job boards and one-dimensional algorithms. Then, HR outsourced screening and candidate selection to companies like HireVue, which add yet another layer of interference and signal deterioration to the process.

      We can only wonder how many smart sax players are out of work when they could be designing business systems for good money. And how many employers are thus facing a, er, ah…, talent shortage.

      Keep on truckin’. King Sunny Ade trumps C++ every day.

  4. Thanks for this. Although never having done a video interview, I’d naively assumed that someone in HR would actually view & evaluate the videos.

    A couple additional thoughts. First, with increasing numbers of employers, jobs, people seeking jobs, and intermediaries, it seems unavoidable to have some sort of automation, but are we doing it wrong? I.e., relying on technology for things it can’t (yet) do and not knowing where to bring in the human component? Or is the technology itself not yet sophisticated enough to help in a positive way (as opposed to keyword / algorithm screening out (which btw is of course the automated version of human screening out on not much better criteria)?

    Second, the use of technology such as it is in the job market, is heavily on the recruiting/HR side, but not so much on the job seeker side. Which is to say that there are a lot of resources going into automating the recruiting/hiring process, to the point where rudimentary AI is even on the table, while job seekers are given more forms to fill out and more advice on how to spend more time editing resumes. To the extent to which evolution is path-dependent, this is a matter of concern. When we get to true AI in the job market, what will the process look like?

    • All good questions, Don. I love technology. I wouldn’t be in business without it. But many years ago, when I learned to program (I’m not good at it, but I’m diligent), I also learned that just because you’d like an application that would do X doesn’t mean using an application is the best solution. AI could advance dramatically, but expert human judgement is still the best tool when recruiting and hiring, because it’s not just judgement. It’s action. “Recruit” is a verb. You have to get up from behind your display and go out into the world to find the people your company needs. HR has been so bamboozled by technology vendors that it’s embarrassing and shameful. I really believe HR tech is at the heart of the phony “talent shortage.”

      • Nick,

        I would argue that many search professionals/HR types have never, ever had any informal/formal training or work experience in the fields that they recruit for. That’s why they use crutches like these – they have no clue if they are being B.S.’ed or not.

        • Dave: That lack of training in the subject area has been a problem in recruiting since recruiting was invented. Well, maybe in the second iteration — whoever invented recruiting must have known something about the jobs they were trying to fill :-).

          When I started out, I knew nothing about business or engineering, and I was recruiting EEs. My boss taught me a few things, but what I realized was that the engineers I was recruiting would teach me if I came clean and started asking questions. My advantage was that I was fascinated by technology and really wanted to learn. So I picked their brains. To my surprised, they liked teaching me. They’d laff and tell me I was the only headhunter they knew who didn’t just throw buzzwords around. They took me under their wing. Pretty soon I could hold my own, and I grew to love the ins and outs of their work, even though I couldn’t design a circuit or read a wiring chart. The fallout was that these EEs learned to trust me on the business side — they taught me technology, and I gave them business advice about their careers they could trust.

          There are a lot of headhunters and recruiters like this out there, who love the fields they recruit in, even if they’re not experts. None of the best rely on keywords or technology to make matches. They USE technology, but not to replace personal contact or judgement.

          HR recruiters could make themselves immensely more valuable if they’d embed themselves among their clients and the professional communities the recruit from.

  5. One of my biggest concerns with HireVue is: where is that video data going, how long is it stored, and can it come back to “haunt” me in the future? If I apply using this process and don’t get the job, then I end up applying to the same company again 10 years later, do they pull up my old HireVue videos to compare then vs. now, against my wishes and without my permission? Will they judge me in part on how I did in the video from a decade ago? What if I totally flubbed it then, and now my future prospects are ruined? What if I’m applying for a different company in 10 years – will the first company sell my video to the second one for “background research” on me? Will the second company take offense that I mentioned in the video how excited I was to work for the first company?

    To do these video interviews, you are required to sign away your rights to the videos – so employers can legally do whatever they want with the videos. I find that unnerving.

    • Great points. My brother was hired at a company that used HireVue for his initial screen.

      We joked that HR probably had “viewing parties” of the less-than-stellar ones. Pizza and beer, Anyone?

      After being there a few weeks, his VP asked him what he thought of their new hiring process. Jim answered that it wasn’t ideal, but he was happy it worked out for the best. The VP’s answer, “Yeah, I couldn’t do that.” I wonder how quickly this process would be eliminated if this interviewing and screening method were used for execs to keep their jobs?

    • LL: You win the prize as the first to answer the HireVue quiz at the end of the column. How much do you wanna bet that HireVue will archive all those interviews, then sell them to new company clients who will watch your interview without your knowledge years in the future? That’s how this works. The data is worth a lot of money, even if it’s not legit outside its first use. With a simple waiver buried in a “User Agreement,” HireVue owns your interview — and you can get rejected without even applying for a job in the future.

      When you consider that HireVue already promotes its robo-video-analyzer, employers you don’t know that don’t know you will never even watch your performance. HireVue’s robot will scan it and reject you. No human judgement required. No one will ever know who was scanned and judged — but HR will pay for the service. It’s an astonishing business model.

      Job boards including LinkedIn sell access to your resume/profile even when you’re not job hunting. The sales pitch is that this could result in employers soliciting you about a job without you doing a thing… “the intelligent job agent”… but do you really want that video interview rented, sold, watched without you being aware of it? (Don’t worry: Legally, HireVue will have your consent from the moment you sign that waiver and release.)

      I can see HireVue’s sales pitch to HR now: “You not only get to watch the applicant’s interview with our robot — you can compare the performance over time to other interviews the applicant did for your competitors… ain’t that a great bonus?”

  6. How costly is HireVue? Is there a way to evaluate how many applicants are actually hired through it? How widely is it used? I tend to agree with Mark, but for a different reason. Employers are always looking for ways to appear fair and impartial. HireVue looks like a way to look objective when the company already knows who it wants for the job. Read: the CEO’s nephew’s cousin by marriage.

    • Addie: “Objective” means a lot of things. If we’re talking about avoiding improper discrimination, that’s one thing. But in a business sense, who wants to be objective? Objective is not always a good thing. An employer — or investor — wants to apply their sixth sense, their intuition, their social acumen and ability to read between the lines, to make an investment everyone else might discount.

      The last thing I want when I’m being judged is fairness, objectivity and the appearance of impartiality. I want to influence the person judging me as much as possible. And if I’m the interviewer, I want to meet a candidate who is so good that she blows away the sequence of interview questions and takes me in creative directions I had not even considered.

      “We want to hire people who think out of the box. But we want to put them in a nice, tight box when we interview them.”

      Tell you what: I think “fairness, impartiality, and objectivity” are code words for “We don’t want to get busted for violating equal opportunity laws, so rather than behave properly, we’re going to shroud our hiring activities under a hiring technology that gives us plausible deniability…”

      The last thing that’s going to contribute to good hiring is a rote interview process that prohibits the applicant from demonstrating how they stand out from the competition. (Just how cleverly can you answer the question, “What animal would you be if you could be any animal?” and just how much can a robot surmise from answers to that question?)

      • Nick, I completely agree with you here –because even when we want objectivity, it’s impossible in any human interaction. “Fair and impartial” I meant to apply to the appearance of a genuine search, The need for an appearance of a genuine search could be for legal compliance, to hide the fact they already know who they want for the job from the outside when they have a stated policy to promote from within; or because the job doesn’t exist yet, and they want to see who will apply and what salary they’d have to pay.

  7. Any company using HireVue or any kind of variant is not worth considering, no matter how much of a luminary they are considered to be in their respective industry. Time and circumstances will eventually catch up and they will no doubt end up being one of those employers hacking off 10,000 jobs at a time and anyone silly and stupid enough to have actually have submitted themselves to be hired through HireVue will no doubt be part of the wreckage. Hell, maybe they will be fired by FireVue.

    Spend your time finding small-medium sized organizations that actually value human beings, for these organizations will always outperform big, dumb organizations that buy into this crap.

    • Al: Score 10 points for your idea about HireVue’s next feature. The robo-exit interview and termination by video. Think of the time HR could save.

  8. So far no one has raised the terrifying prospect that videos will be used for racial discrimination. Why do you think some people do NOT put their pictures on Linkedin? Also, will pretty or handsome people, with symmetrical facial features, do better with automated video screening than equally technically adept /business savvy people with ordinary looks? It’s a formula ripe for lawsuits or discrimination complaints. Also, it may have the counter intuitive effect of chasing away talented people who want nothing to do with a demeaning, soul diminishing one-way video session.

    I should point out that two-way Skype interviews with a recruiter are different because they are interactive. You are talking with a real person, not a machine, and can ask questions like “what does success look like for the person in this job a year from now?” If you don’t get a good answer, it doesn’t matter what technology is used in the hiring process. It is time to move on. If you do get a good answer, you have an incentive to engage further which hopefully leads to a hand-off to the hiring manager.

    A number of years ago some of America’s biggest symphony orchestra’s began using “blind” auditions. The prospective musician plays several selections featuring their instrument from behind a curtain with their performance enhanced by a microphone and speakers for a review panel. The panel then scores, literally, all of the candidates without ever having laid eyes on them. Only after a finalist is selected is there a face-to-face interview.

    This procedure has increased the number of women and minorities hiring by these orchestras because the audition of candidates is based primarily on talent.

    It is unlikely business will adopt such methods, but the video scheme seems to be a vector which is very much going in the wrong direction.

    • Mayor: Forget about discrimination. Imagine the creative possibilities in prank calls. Er, interviews. All you need to do is spoof an IP address and it’s game on. “Hey, HR… lookit this!!”

      • In the movie “Good Will Hunting” there is a hilarious bit where Will, not able to put up with a bunch of suits at a defense firm that wants his math whiz skills to plot ballistic missile trajectories, sends a ringer to the interview. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hWIr9_noRo

        In video interviewing, average joe schmo, for 20 bucks, could hire his cousin big man on campus (BMOC) to do the interview reading the canned responses. Schmo wears bow ties. BMOC wears Nordstoms specials, but in a business casual environment, the hiring manager will never know the difference since he’s never seen the video.

  9. HireVue is really just another excuse to not to do the job of recruiting people properly. It is the outsourcing of interviewing and screening taken to absurd levels.

    I was caught off-guard one day to have a company arrange an interview for my job with a third party screening organization. I spent an hour answering canned questions to somebody who had no idea what the job was about. I assume notes were made, or a transcript was taken and then passed along to the hiring manager or an HR person. This was as surreal to me as HireVue. Half the time when I walk into interviews the hiring manager has not taken the time to read my resume, what are the odds they are going to sift their way through somebody else’s interview notes.

    • The same is already going on with HR outsourcing reference checking to third-party companies. Kind of like police detectives sending a HireVue invitation to a crime suspect, to conduct the interview.

      The success of companies like HireVue hinges completely on the gullibility of employers who are trying to save money. These are the employers to avoid, because this phenomenon tells you they build their business models around expenses, not investments. Time with a job candidate is not an expense. It’s an investment. The goal is ROI. But these same companies view you — the employee or the applicant — as an expense that costs them money. Not as an investment that can pay returns and profits.

  10. 20,000 feet up, over the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the pilot comes on the intercom with the following: “Good morning, ladies and gentleman. This is the captain and I have good news and bad news. The good news is that it’s a beautiful day outside, not a cloud in sight, we’ve got a strong tailwind and are making great time, and we’ll be serving our famous 4-star French breakfast in just a few minutes, followed by an Oscar-winning movie. The bad news is that our navigation system is out, and we’re completely lost.”

    And so it is with the current employment “system.” Both sides are at fault – the employers and the job seekers – and both sides are contributing to an outrageous signal-to-noise ratio (what, perhaps 20-80 at this point?). Thousands and thousands of job seekers are sitting at their computers, firing off 5 or 10 applications a day to anything and everything, while employers are desperately trying to pick out the snowflake in the blizzard blowing their way.

    It seems to be a classic example of measures and counter-measures, with ever-increasing sophistication but no end in sight.

    There is an answer to the madness, but it has nothing to do with computers, systems, or getting robots to do what only humans can do.

    Employers need to involve management and current staff (at all levels) in the hiring process, and build human-powered filters that result in a 80-20 signal-to-noise ratio, so that only (or at least mostly) appropriate candidates get through.

    And job seekers need to realize that increasing the number of applications they send in is inherently self-defeating. They need to know who they are, what they have to offer, target specific organizations that need their skills and experience (whether currently hiring or not), and identify and directly contact those individuals who could hire them if a job opening exists or who could create a position for them.

    It is a system that has been around at least since the 1940s and was popularized by Bernard Haldane and his disciples, and works just as well today as it did then.

    • Chris: Thank you. You have to look hard to find an employer that actually recruits. Sitting on one’s duff scanning keywords and LinkedIn profiles is not recruiting. It’s hiring what comes along.

      Job seekers are guilty of the same thing, but this insane system is driven by HR, which demands that job seekers use these silly “tools.” Of course, that doesn’t mean job seekers should herd themselves off a cliff like lemmings. Not all do. Most, but not all.

  11. Claim #3 begs the question (in the true sense of the phrase). It assumes that a person would answer the questions in the same manner with a live human being. This is patently false. It’s one thing to sit in front of a camera and provide a rehearsed answer to yet another stock question. (“Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult customer.”) It’s another thing to have to sit across the table from an actual human being and read verbal and non-verbal cues during a free flowing discussion.

    Seriously, who would ever use such an inhuman approach, *particularly* for positions where people have to deal with other people? You know, just about every position. Sales people, supervisors, customer service agents, the guy in receiving who has to deal with irate truck drivers at 2 in the morning……

    This just reinforces the root problem. This system only works to find people who can interview well in automated systems. It does nothing to find people who can actually do the job…..unless companies are somehow in the business of just having their employees do automated interviews.

  12. First, regarding keyword searches on resumes: I have been contacted by potential employers often who saw the right “buzz words”, but when I read their job description or even talked to a hiring manager, it was obviously a poor fit. Now I just say “no.”

    I applied for my current job which is for a major international company, and this application included a lengthy online application. If information was available on my resume, I said so, including listing jobs. Their web site let me skip over some of that stuff, too. In the end, I got the interview and the job.

    Further insight: Before I showed up for my interview, of the 3 top candidates, they had decided I was the one they wanted even though they had not met me. We were all interviewed, and they still wanted me. I did have to go through the company’s process, including an HR interview (I even flubbed that interview somewhat). My main interview was one hour.

    I have had other interviews and job applications that went through several interviews including a committee. In the end, I did not get the job even though I crossed my i’s and dotted my t’s. The company would not tell me why. In fact, one interview I had was for an employer I knew well. I considered the manager a friend. Even they couldn’t tell my why they weren’t hiring me. (We’re still on good terms, fortunately – it turned out that the employer’s power brokers [investors] wanted someone with a higher degree in the field for bragging rights. All in-town candidates, in fact, were summarily rejected in that case.)

    Bottom line: If you are right for the job, you will get it even if you didn’t jump through all the hoops. If you do not fit a stakeholders vision, even your friend can’t help you at an employer. I got my current job going through “the system” but without following all “the rules.”

    • I get stuff like this all the time because I happen to have a modicum of programming skills. If anyone had actually spent 20 seconds to read my resume instead of relying on buzz words, they’d see that I’m an engineer who knows some programming, not some rock star application developer fluent in a dozen programming languages and experience in large scale deployment.

      One of these days, for fun, I think I’ll start answering the emails. When they balk, I’ll reply with, “But you said I was a good fit! Surely your automated candidate tracking system can’t be wrong! You wouldn’t waste money on such a useless endeavor, would you?”

  13. Back in July I applied for a design job with Connections Education. I got an email from their HR rep, “Thank you so much for applying with Connections Education! I am sending you a first round, preliminary digital interview request in a separate email through our vendor, HireVue, for the position with Connections Education. [Note the redundancy in mentioning the company name twice, was this email sent by an algorithm?] This process allows you to record yourself answering questions that will be watched by the hiring team, who will then set up second round, in-person interviews.”

    I replied as follows: “To quote the letter writer in this ATH article [link to your previous post about HireVue], I find this request creepy, impersonal, presumptuous, Orwellian, exploitative, voyeuristic, unprofessional, and perhaps even unethical. It is also insulting. A hiring manager that won’t ‘waste’ their time interviewing candidates is certainly not worthy of my time. I am withdrawing my application.”

    Her response: “I am sorry that you feel that way and it is certainly not meant to be any of those items listed. If you would prefer to do a phone interview instead, we can arrange that. The reason we use HireVue as the first step in our process is because of the high volume of positions we have open, it would be impossible to screen the amount of applicants we are able to using a tool like HireVue. You can also opt to turn the video part off and just do audio id desired. I hope you’ll reconsider this position and agree to a phone interview.”

    So, there ya go, I refused the HireVue and got a phone interview with the hiring mgrs. The call consisted of a man who was the creative mgr and a woman who was director of marketing. The woman seemed nice, but the man had the personality of an uncooked potato. How’s that for ironic? I certainly would like to have seen this guy perform on a video camera to see if it would have been worth my time to talk to him (it wasn’t!). Needless to say, the “interview” went nowhere — when you talk and talk and talk but the hiring mgr has nothing much to say other than “do you prefer mac or pc” (and you get sentenced to hell if you answer pc!) the outcome is inevitable. I got their rejection email a few days later, to my relief. Of course, I’m still unemployed, but hey at least I stood my ground…*sigh*

    • “Personality of an uncooked potato.” That wins the internet for today.

      I think your solution to the automated process is a great idea. Have the hiring managers ask the questions in videos. Imagine what would happen if a large number of candidates decided not to interview or withdrew and the reason was, “I didn’t care for the video performance of the hiring manager.” Imagine if that information got back to upper management.

      • Probably should have used “unbaked” here :). As for upper management, I’ve sent loads of letters to CEOs and boards of directors (all via snail mail with signature confirmation) about the shoddy treatment I received at the hands of their HR depts, haven’t gotten one response yet. NOT ONE.

    • sighmaster: Your comment was so good, I posted it on the home page as a separate column. http://www.asktheheadhunter.com/9103/what-hirevue-tells-us-about-employers

      Maybe we need a “Hot Comments” section on the home page, eh?

      Thanks!

      • Yes I saw that (not generating much comments, though)!

  14. Now the point to find is the key attributes in this cybernetic process. Find a way to make one of the inputs illegal, then they become a criminal enterprise. This was done with salary history in Massachusetts. But the problem arises in jailing all those robots once all the principals are in the clink.

  15. I used hirevue during a training module at a networking club. Horrible experience. If an employer requested this my answer would be no. The purpose is to: make the software company rich and turn away as many candidates as possible. I don’t see how this makes this makes the hiring company more creative, innovative and successful.

  16. Just to give one example of what a bad idea it is: You mentioned one of the criteria for HireVue was how well the applicant made eye contact; what if an applicant is sight impaired or simply shy, or comes from a culture where direct eye contact is frowned upon? Then that criteria becomes a measure of discrimination based on culture or disability.

  17. Nick,
    Robot exit interview? I just retired (on good terms) from my company, and my “exit interview” was an on-line survey. Never even met with anyone from HR. But we are there already.

    I have a great idea for a startup. If HireVue is automating looking at the interview, we can automate the interviewee. Collect the questions they ask, simple enough, and generate an avatar which makes the desired eye contact and has the desired vocal quality.
    It reminds me of a running gag in a great movie called Real Genius. More and more students of a boring professor leave tape recorders to record his boring lectures – until in the last scene he leaves a tape recorder to give it to the tape recorders of the students. The future of HR?

    • Scott: As you point out, we’re already there. HR is mystified about not being able to find the talent. But it’s not looking at talent. It’s looking at keywords. Duh.

      • In my area I wouldn’t want to talk to someone who can’t figure out that the keywords (very obvious for us) should be there. And we need to do that to sort out the resumes which are not even close from people who didn’t bother to read the description.
        But automation ends there.
        And we found the talent – but HR didn’t get in the way.

  18. “It’s just your bit stream and a recording and some software and hardware, saving the employer the cost of deploying a human to judge you.”

    Yep. You’re not even just a number anymore – simply the bits (data) that make up that number.

    “A quick look at the employer’s website reveals that ‘People are our most important asset!'”

    LOL!

    Check this out from an author on video interviewing a few years back:

    “Bailo: ‘Most people face digital interviews entirely unprepared. They sit down, turn the computer or camera on and go. But in the competitive job market you should consider yourself the actor, the director and producer of an event that allows you to create your own storyline.'”

    Gee, thanks?!?

    So now I’ve got to get in touch with my inner “actor” to hopefully impress a robot!?! How many of you are qualified video producers, directors or actors of your own “event”?

    Hey folks, looks like your job search budget must include funds to hire an actor in order to fool the body language algorithm and a voice over actor to fool the voice tone analyzer.

    DIY?

    Then be prepared to deal with all the lighting, location, background and other blunders. Oh, and don’t forget about the tech issues too (bandwidth and data transfer delay) that will make your wonderful video look like amateur hour – earning the delete key from HR.

    Best of all…

    National brand name companies (including banks) have proven their inability to keep your personal data safe. Not even the USA DOD is immune to data theft.

    And you’re going to trust a clueless employer with your video interview data?

    NO thanks.

  19. I think the key underlying point is Nick’s Just how gullible is HR?
    While the HR profession’s existence is being questioned in the C-suite, HR outsources its most important job — hiring — in a stunning display of gullibility. Because what you are seeing happen is a group of professionals, enthusiastically dumbing down their value and usefulness, in tandem with weakening their company’s ability to compete in the future. It’s like they’re sending a message to upper management, “hey look! a monkey can do what I do, let me find you a monkey”.

    This is history repeating itself. Remember an HR function called “Benefits”? Back in the day when I started working for major corporations HR had a benefits department, staffed by real humans, who would work with employees with benefits related questions. Say for example an insurance coverage screw up, or simply clarification questions. You may not have always liked the answers, but you got them quickly, often face/face. And also the flip side, where you did like the answer because they cut through red tape and fixed the screw ups to your benefit…per their mission. Then came the benefits outsourcing model and instead of talking to an HR benefits employee, you were given an 800 # and some third party company. From personal experience this did not work well and did not make for happy employees.

    I’m simple minded. I think everyone has one common job requirement. From CEO down. That is to make your company successful. That includes HR. And again my simple minded idea about HR is that they have one basic objective..As one outside facing organization, they have a job requirement to sell the company’s value to outsiders, in particular to people who’d like to work for the company. They are akin to Sales who’s supposed to sell the company’s products or services. Farming out interviewing to a 3rd party is much like Sales telling a prospective customer, “before I talk to you, here’s a website I’d like you to visit. An animated monkey will ask you some questions to see if you’re worthy of my time. It’s very cute you’ll enjoy it. Good luck, hope you make it to the next level and we get to talk”. Regardless of all the spin about company virtues, actions speak loudly. Sending you off to a 3rd party video app says it all. “We don’t place much value on people” And we’re sooo leading edge. Should you get hired you’ll find we have an app which saves you & your manager from wasting time talking to each other. You talk to an animated monkey. It’s cute, you’ll love it.

    But the real fallacy in all these time saving ideas behind auto-recruiting e.g. resume bots, sterile questionaires, hirevue and the like is the assumption that interviewing is a one way street. Any recruiter will tell you it’s educational. People are interesting, people have stories, people have ideas. And recruiting works best when you have a good 2-way conversational interview, talk shop & horrors just talk with each other about a wide range of interests. You learn as much from candidates as they do from you. And the more you interview the smarter you get, and much of that smarts not only benefits you, but your company as well via you.

    No it won’t make you a programmer. But what your growing business intelligence can do is position you to give a hiring manager, with a high degree of certainty, the info from you that really helps them the most about where they need to spend their interviewing time. When you can tell them “You’ll really want to talk to this candidate…and ask him to tell you about this project, this program, this accomplishment”, you are a real value to that manager. They trust your judgment.

    When HR outsources their interviewing role and/or dumbs it down to a list of questions devoid of conversation and judgment you are the poster child for gullible. You’ve stripped yourself of the ability to learn and align to your hiring managers, reducing your organization to no-value add. And pay for the privilege.

  20. one more relevant point. The underlying excuse, justification for all these supposedly time saving short cuts is the statement “we get so many applications we can’t review them”. This is BS. It’s more correct to say we won’t review them because we don’t give recruiting a high priority.

    This is not an HR fault. I worked in small to huge corporations and when it comes down to it, the hiring managers don’t like to take the time to interview. Recruiting is a variable when it comes to expending time. It’s easily put off, unlike a project deliverable, a customer order, operational needs. So it does get put off. HR takes the heat externally for seeming lack of interest, poor follow through etc, but …the hiring managers are the key.

    From my experience this behavior is linked to accountability. There usually isn’t any. That is recruiting goals aren’t linked to managerial compensation to any meaningful degree. Miss a project deliverable and it can cost you bonus $, promotion or even your job. Miss hiring goals..not a bigee and you can cast blame on HR…not giving me good resumes, not enough resumes, sending me poor candidates

    I had a rare experience that intensely highlighted my point.

    I worked for a hi-tech company growing fast. There was a huge need for programmers and engineers and related support people. The Division I worked in had (a real #) 1000 reqs. And here’s what made a big difference in behavior. Senior management gave recruiting highest priority. Told their reporting VPs and Directors that they needed to treat recruitment as if it was a product development. They would be held accountable for meeting their goals. Meaning it would be a key factor in calculating their bonuses and stock options. You miss, you pay. Progress was tracked daily and reported on weekly in their status meetings. The goals by the way were demanding, fast hiring was expected, with butts in seats the measure.

    Aligned to this was a healthy economy and high times for the high tech industry. Competition for people was nation-wide.

    The company was receiving that flood of applications (electronically and the old fashioned way, snailmail). outside recruiters were approved. So the same scene was in place that justifies the current shortcuts under discussion.

    Keeping in mind the priority..what we did was all hiring managers in our division would meet daily. A large pile of new resumes, hard copy would be brought in. We divided them up, everyone was looked at and triaged to A (high interest) B(interest) C(maybe) and No interest. they were passed around so everyone saw them. This did not take as long as you might imagine as reading them quickly became an acquired skill.

    Note too that internal competition was high. That is groups competed for the same people. Be that as it may this was a transparent system. Everyone got to see everyone else’s choices. And on the positive side everyone knew everyone else’s missions and interests and people would draw likely candidates to other’s attention.

    Also to level the playing field. interview schedules were disseminated daily to all managers. A manager would be a sponsor for the visit…but anyone could opt to get in on the interviewing schedule. HR/Recruiters value add was to organize the visits, get them to the facility, debrief candidates, inform them on HR matters (e.g benefits program) assist with offer packages etc. It wasn’t unheard of to have an offer ready before a candidate left for the day.

    This worked marvelously. It wasn’t risk free. Moving fast invited mistakes and some were made. But as a whole the positive end result was worth the risks and the job was done well with mostly win/win/win results for the candidates/hiring managers/the company.

    My point is..if management sets a high priority on recruiting, ties it to accountability, volume is no excuse, and managers will quickly engage without the need for crutches.

    When you see outsourcing approaches, like Hirevue you are seeing a low priority recruiting model. Regardless of all the arguments about efficiency, the trade off is judgement. Recruiting requires judgment and judgment is one thing you cannot delegate to an outsider or a computer.

    • Don: “From my experience this behavior is linked to accountability. There usually isn’t any.”

      At most companies, no one is accountable for hiring. HR may be, but only nominally. But where HR exists, that’s where the finger of suspicion points. Anyone in HR who wants a good career needs to decide who is going to be accountable for hiring, and then make it so. If it’s the managers, that’s fine. HR? Okay (though I’d argue it’s not smart). Bottom line, if you exist in an HR department, it’s up to you to create accountability for hiring, or HR should be eliminated altogether.

      “It wasn’t risk free.”

      Fast hiring isn’t. But nor is dawdling for months.

  21. I think another problem with HireVue might be its ability to “spam” job hunters with bogus interviews.
    I have been to two interviews in the last month for jobs where the interviewer candidly admitted at the end were contingency interviews. Meaning there was actually no open position.

    I can see HR using Hirevue to run regular interviews for jobs that don’t exist. From the employers perspective there will be no real cost to them, even though they will be wasting candidates time, having them take off work and raising their hopes (an emotional cost), which will take the candidate away from more productive job hunting activities.

    I can see this technology doing damage to the labour market.

    • Of all the screwed up things in this job market, it’s the fake job that ticks me off the most. I’ve lost countless days and loads of money (gas/parking/etc.) not to mention heartbreak chasing jobs that were never valid to begin with. I can show you a bunch of jobs being advertised right now that I know are fake. Why is this legal?

      I’m trying to think of other areas in our lives where we have to deal with this kind of nonsense…Let’s see, the last time I went to the grocery store with their weekly flyer which I received in the mail, it never occurred to me that any of the products shown would not be there unless they had sold out — and, when they do, they restock almost immediately. Buying a car? We have a bunch of ordinances around here that state a car dealership cannot advertise a car for sale if that car does not currently exist in their lot. Buying a house? I know some people looking to buy a home, I wonder if any of the houses their realtor showed them had a “for sale” sign “just for show” and not really for sale at all.

      How about Google start updating their maps with false information, like throw in a connector road where this is no road now because “someone might build a road there eventually.” When you follow the route in the Maps app and are led to a dead end, just say “oh, well, what can ya do?!”

    • The most frightening example of jobs that don’t exist is rescinded job offers. You’ve made me realize this is really just a natural extension of “contingency interviews.” Of course we’re seeing more offers rescinded, because so many jobs are just figments of a company’s imagination.

      I think this is so because job applicants and resumes and job applications are free. It’s like the freshman in college visiting the school cafeteria for the first time. The meal ticket is for unlimited eats. So the student loads the tray just because he can. As a freshman, it took me weeks to learn how much to put on my tray. The rest was wasted. When a system encourages waste, people waste.

      • Or maybe because just looking like you’re hiring appears just as good as actually hiring…*sigh*

  22. Why can’t HR just do their job? Is it really THAT hard? And to think that a friend who is a VP at a major software company thinks HR is worthless. He does his own recruiting.

  23. No longer legal to require a picture with a resume.

    But legal to require a video interview.

    Nasty way to screen by age or race

    • This is a good point. Before recorded video interviews, the only record you had of a person’s race/gender/ethnicity/etc. (beyond what you could gleam from a resume) was voluntary information provided for EEOC documentation purposes……that supposedly kept separate. Now, you’ve got a record that can be subpoenaed that includes such things in the application records. I wonder if some lawyers are advising companies to never, never, never do this due to the potential problems. “Oh, look, our review of all the subpoenaed video applications shows that x% of applicants were but only comprises a fraction of your workforce. Please explain.”

      • That should read “but only y% compromises a fraction of your workforce.”

      • I still can’t figure out how a personnel jockey can tell from a video whether a person can do a job.

        • Nick,

          I think it is about metrics. I actually think some of these HR departments have come up with ridiculous measures to evaluate their own staff such as conducting X number of interviews per quarter, or reviewing Y number of resumes per month. That would help explain some of the insanity like thinking that HireView is the way to go.

          Seeing the quotes in the HireView case studies makes me shake my head. The supposed benefits are mostly centered around not meeting the candidates. They also use the excuse of HireView solving talent shortages.

          “With HireVue, I was able to recruit globally to staff locally in Warsaw. We were looking for experienced engineers that just weren’t available in Poland. HireVue was a great, easy to use tool for us to interview candidates from India, Spain, Malaysia, and Mexico. Using HireVue was the only way we could have made this possible,”
          Source: https://www.hirevue.com/customers/ge-hirevue

          Really, in all of Poland there are no engineers that would meet this employers needs? Okay, what about neighboring countries in the EU? You need HireView to recruit in Asia for a job in Europe? It seems like a stretch and an odd way to recruit efficiently.

          This quote blows my mind:

          “We were also having challenges with multiple site visits for candidates. They were coming back and forth for onsite interviews on five or more occasions. It took too much time. Scheduling the interviews took up to 90 days or more if there were multiple interviewers involved. Many of them worked remotely so coordinating everyone getting in one place was drastically impacting interview cycle time.”
          Source: https://www.hirevue.com/customers/ge-hirevue

          I don’t think any technology can solve the mess this HR guy is describing. I blow a gasket after coming to an office twice for interviews, I don’t know how many candidates would put up with the gong show of 5 or more visits and 90 day process.

          • Michael: I love it when someone digs up the quotes. Thanks for sharing these. They blow my mind, too.

            Consider why HireVue even posts stuff like this: They’re so enamored of their technology that they don’t realize the people quoted are lousy managers. That reflects badly on HireVue.

            Recruiting for Poland in Malaysia? 90 days to do interviews? If I were HireVue’s CEO, I’d never post “endorsements” from inept employers. But HireVue doesn’t get it, any more than those inept employers don’t understand that the problem isn’t “long distance interviewing” or “instant interviewing.” The problem is that these employers aren’t recruitng. They’re sitting on their duffs hiring who comes along.

            HireVue’s service is a distraction. A solution for the wrong problem. Dopey HR execs buy this stuff because it looks like they’re “doing something.” All they’re doing is sucking down marketing campaigns.

            No one is recruiting. They’re turning on a fire hose and waiting for a good pinot noir to come through it.

          • To Nick’s point: Perhaps the customer is NOT the competent hiring manager, but rather the incompetent. So, testimonials are from those with whom the incompetent can identify.

        • They can’t.

          It gives an illusion of “science” but probably encapsulates the prejudices of the people who wrote the program.

    • Want to hear some real feedback (not speculation) from someone who actually knows what parameters for acceptance and rejection are being used in these “hiring” software products. I DO NOT believe they are not actively engaging in illegal discrimination. Where is Edward Snowden when he’s needed? I think many can & will be found engaging in bad bevavior, intentionally, just because they are too smug to do otherwise.

  24. I assume that HireVue would NOT be willing to show the algorithms and peer reviewed research behind their product. Nor would HireVue or companies using it share the reason(s) behind a rejection.

    • Hmmm. Why don’t you ask them for the research behind their algos?

  25. As usual, a lively assembly of insightful comments. When the robo theme was spotlighted a few blogs ago, I had wanted to call attention to the film Elysium (2013) with Matt Damon.

    Matt Damon’s character is required to talk to a robot parole officer, who looks much like the pictures Nick has used.

    The film was supposed to explore many important themes, but I think this little two-minute snippet was the most frightening scene in the whole movie.

    I often joke that the reason I fell into clinical depression eight years ago is so that I would be ahead of the curve when the horrible things that I was only imagining back then actually became true.

    The universal blacklisting LL mentioned was one of them. I truly believed a blacklist was being initiated against me, based on my firing by an acquiring company, and that I would never find any employment anywhere for the rest of my life.

    A famous shrink once said that even paranoids have real enemies. I sympathize with an employment situation ten times worse than the one that drove me to the edge of madness eight years ago.

    I also encourage everyone to hang in there. One thing I learned is that hope never abandons anyone, but many abandon hope just five minutes before help arrives. Just a few weeks ago I picked up a quote to the effect that we have to have faith that the universe has our back.

    I always tune in to this blog every week, even though I don’t always chime in. I was once a hiring manager who successfully used the “piles of paper” technique. An important part of the process in the final decision was “The Walk”, as my workers called it.

    I had a 50,000 sq ft distribution center. I would walk with the applicant as we discussed things. The other workers would offer feedback (or place bets) on the applicant, which I carefully considered. (I had nothing to do with the bets.) How the person kept up with my naturally brisk walk was a determining factor, as was getting a feel from the applicant on how they viewed the DC: was it a challenge, or was it overwhelming?

    And, of course, the office staff viewed the applicant as he or she was passing through the office. I always solicited feedback from them, also. Did they feel comfortable with the applicant?

    A piece of paper, in the hand, in front of the eyes, with no rush to absorb the implications of the stuff written between the lines, or skim over hidden talent that might one day emerge to save the company.

    Yeah, I like doing it that way.

    Be seeing you.

    • I still teeter on madness in my days and also have seriously wondered if I’m on a blacklist considering the number of rejections I have (over one thousand). The human mind is always looking for that cause/effect relationship, and when it doesn’t see a cause for an effect, it makes one up thru superstition, conspiracy theories, etc. One now former friend of mine told me I couldn’t find a job because I don’t believe in a god (like I said, *former* friend now). As for hope, I finally lost all hope when that Transamerica job didn’t come thru — recall they flew me down to Baltimore, told me to “expect an offer in a week,” checked my references, and then decided not to hire anybody. In the words of Doctor Who, they “gave me hope and then took it away, that’s enough to make anyone dangerous.” Well, I’m done having hope, best not to have it in the first place, that way you can’t get hurt…

      • sigh: When I was offered my first job headhunting, I asked the owner of the small firm, “How does this work?” Being totally naive about business, I figured I had nothing at all to lose in asking questions I really needed answers to. She didn’t miss a beat.

        “Well, it’s a business where you can make a lot of money, enjoy the work and the people, and actually do a lot of good. If you can stand the fact that you’ll get 999 nos before you get a yes.”

        I asked her how she dealt with that herself. 999 is a LOT of nos.

        “You only need one yes every now and then,” she said. “And if you start to think the 999 nos are a conspiracy or proof that you’re just stupid or wrong, come talk to me and I’ll remind you that you need only one yes every now and then. The rest is faith in yourself. As long as you work smart.”

        Something to that effect. I trusted her. She helped me through the hard parts. And I learned that if I am honest with myself about working diligently, hearing NO from the universe 999 times is just part of the gig. It’s not the gig. And it’s not me. I’ve survived a LOT of dry spells because I learned NO does not = Nick.

        I like to think this blog and this community are here to help you remember that the 999 nos are nothing beside that one yes.

        Odds are, SOMEONE is going to get more than a thousand nos because someone else will get only around 50. Nice to meet you. Sorry you’re 1,000+. Keep moving and remember who you are. I agree about hope — you can’t have hope in people who might hire you. But you must always have hope for yes, because yes stems from you being the best you can be in front of any employer. You need only one.

        Sorry if I’m preaching.

        • I appreciate the pep talk and was just typing up an initial reply when yet another automated rejection appeared in my inbox. As usual, it was for a job I was 100% qualified for and where I know nobody at the company reviewed my portfolio (thank you, visitor stats). Which to me is just further affirmation that, unfortunately, there is no law of the universe that says eventually you will get a “yes” after so many “no”s. It’s like playing the lottery where you know you’ll never win or being in an abusive relationship where you know the only way to stop the abuse is to walk away from the relationship. That’s pretty much what I’m down to considering here…and just like a battered wife being scared and not having the guts to walk way, it’s a difficult decision to make, no matter how abusive the situation…

          • I won’t give you a pep talk, but rather, advise you that if you keep doing the same thing over and over and don’t get results, then you need to change what you are doing.

          • “I won’t give you a pep talk, but rather, advise you that if you keep doing the same thing over and over and don’t get results, then you need to change what you are doing.”

            I am very well aware of the definition of “crazy.” Seriously, this “advice” is so NOT helpful. Why don’t you just tell me I’m not trying hard enough? Sheesh. The fact of the matter is, I can’t find a job because of my age. End of discussion.

            From here on, please don’t comment on anything I post, okay?

            • I’m 50 and just got a job. I know a guy in his 70’s who keeps getting consulting gigs and he has to turn people away. I know a number of people in their 60’s who have gotten jobs. I’m sorry to have offended you, but need I remind you that our two main presidential candidates are 69 and 70?

              On the flip side I had a potential employer pretty much admit that they thought I was too old. So I understand.

              I will also admit that finding a job is harder for me now – I am typically searching for a more senior position.

              Finally, like it or not, you are in sales now, and a most positive attitude will help.

          • sighmaster: Sorry if my pep talk came across the wrong way. I’ve met more people who’ve been dissed over their age when applying for jobs than I could ever track. It’s a bad thing all around. While employers panic over the loss of “institutional knowledge” as older employees retire, they huff about older applicants. Which just confirms my contention that most businesses are poorly run. I know it all looks and feels different when it’s you — I don’t pretend to understand all you’re going through.

      • @sighmaster: Your comment (and those of Citizen X, supra) reminded me of something one of my former supervisors at a previous job used to say “Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me.”

        Sal was a practical, common-sense kind of person who believed in cutting through the bs, but working for the world’s largest bureaucracy (outside of the military) for over 30 years meant he developed a finely tuned sense of when things were hinky or someone was out to get him. After working there for a few years myself, I came to see the wisdom in that response.

        There’s nothing wrong with listening to your gut, especially if you’re otherwise a sensible, reasonable person (not the kind of person who sees Elvis).

  26. What is the job (business purpose, if you prefer) of HR? Is it merely to keep the C-Suite out of lawsuits, court, and jail? Most of you have seen this be now, Companies Rethink Annual Pay Raises (http://www.wsj.com/articles/companies-rethink-annual-pay-raises-for-all-employees-1471964521).

    When companies implement this policy, how will HR cope? They are not coping very well right now. More HireVue? Unfortunately Miss Cleo recently passed away.

    • Jim: Doesn’t it seem just a bit scary if companies are depending on under-qualified and incompetent HR staff to protect the company’s behaviors from legal action? An obvious lack of judgment from the get-go. And a reminder. It used to be that whenever corporate layoffs were begun, HR was the first to be thinned out.

    • @Jim: The last thing HR should be doing is trying to keep the C-Suite out of court, jail, and/or defending them in lawsuits. Most HR staff are not attorneys; most businesses have attorneys, whether they’re in-house counsel or not. Unless the HR staff are all lawyers, they shouldn’t be acting as lawyers. Leave the legal matters to the experts (the lawyers).

  27. Perhaps the businesses that use these robot interviewers really believe that the jobs they’re interviewing for are not important jobs. After all most people would never hire a baby sitter, a dog walker or a caregiver for a relative without a face to face interview. Those are jobs where outcomes can be critical. For business owners to care so little about the people who work for them is a sad commentary on what they think of their workers today.

  28. when confronted with auto-recruiting, always keep in mind an old saying “Show me your metrics and I’ll show you your behavior”

  29. A lot of great comments above. I went down the HireVue road more than a year ago with AON for a customer service role. First, I had to download software in order to attempt to practice with the video aspect. It’s not easy if you don’t like being in front of a camera. Aside from the fact, that you want to make a good impression and answer the questions intelligently, you have to fool around with finding a place in your home with a good background, be comfortable looking into the camera and switching from answering multiple choice questions/writing essay responses to remembering to stare into the camera (and not look down at the screen) while at the same time, being able to limit your “video” response to 30 seconds or a minute before the camera shuts off. The whole process is ridiculous. However, I pursued it at the recommendation of a friend whose relative went through the process. Later, I followed up with Nick/ATH on the issue, received his customary great advice, and realized my mistake. I didn’t think about how the process would be stacked against the candidate. The fact that less than professional individuals would have access to the video for who knows how long and could sit around a room criticizing my “performance”. In person, you may flub an answer that could be easily forgotten, but not so with a video. The fact that as a candidate I couldn’t see the expressions of the interviewer or ask follow-up questions was also problematic. It was a cold and insulting process. It is crazy to think that it’s now a robot measuring the performance of the videos before it moves to a human.

    I recently became unemployed again and applied for a simple Administrative Assistant position with US Cellular. I received the email stating that I had been selected to move forward and that I would need to do a HireVue interview. Needless to say, I learned my lesson the first time. I responded that I would be happy to do a “live” Skype interview but that I would not do a recorded video as I found it to be a cold, impersonal, and insulting process. The recruiting coordinator responded that I was the only person to refuse it. I responded that I couldn’t judge the intelligence of the other candidates, but that the process was stacked against the candidate and didn’t allow a back and forth dialog. I was told I could submit my questions in an email. At that point, I stated that if this is how US Cellular treats future employees, I would respectfully request that they withdraw my application from consideration. I heard nothing more from this individual, but two weeks later, I get another email from another recruiter of US Cellular, out of another state mind you, indicating their interest and again requesting the HireVue interview. I declined again. Unbelievable.

    • As the first poster stated: “As Nancy Reagan once implored, ‘Just Say No!’.”

      “NO thanks” as I posted earlier.

      Overall, it appears that “Millennial Madness” is in full effect. For them, and any others with their heads buried in mobile devices, technology trumps real life. I find it amusing that the response to your simple Skype request was turned down on the basis that ‘everyone else is doing it’ philosophy. LOL.

      Anyone old enough to remember the movie Blade Runner?

      Hold onto your seats – here it comes!

    • Jean: My compliments for calling B.S. on US Cellular. If you have the correspondence from the US Cellular representatives, I’d love to see it. I might even contact them to ask why they let good candidates slip through their fingers after they spend money to recruit them. (You must have been a good candidate, or why would they have wanted an interview?)

      But the most telling thing here is that US Cellular’s recruiters are clueless robots themselves. After you asked to be removed from their system, they contacted you again. How does that work?

      My e-mail links are here if you’d care to share the evidence: http://www.asktheheadhunter.com/contact

  30. This is nuts. Employers complain about the “talent shortage”, complain about the “skills gap”, but they’ve not only automated hiring to the point that now even computers/bots are doing the “interviewing”, which only adds insult to the injury of the online applications/ATSes, and Taleo. I hesitate to use the word “interviewing” because this isn’t interviewing, this is more distancing. If I were a hiring manager, I would WANT to not only meet with candidates in person but talk to them! What is so awful about having conversations with the person that you may be spending 8 plus hours per day with on the job?

    If companies are “saving” $$$ by using HireVue, what are the costs of using HireVue? A computer can’t ask questions, can’t follow up, and more. Is it more of an excuse in the event of a “bad” hire so the hiring manager can blame the computer/software, so no humans are responsible? Or is it just laziness?

    They can’t persuasively argue that outsourcing and using bots for video “interviews” will eliminate biases–those bad biases (age, gender, race, etc.) can be just as easily programmed into the software.

    • Automated discrimination? Racial, gender, etc. bias via video?

      Forget all that!

      This will revolutionize the long-forgotten obscene phone call! All you need is to spoof an IP address and it’s Dancing With The HRs in your birthday suit!

  31. The next big “crisis” in the talent pool: “Everybody we get seems to act like they are talking to a machine. We can not find anybody who is good at interacting person-to-person.”

  32. Nick:

    Apparently you thought the worst thing about this was the fact that your interviews would stay around, in the “cloud”, for years.

    As someone who has had to train Dragon Dictate for several years for it to get close to understanding my speech, and has already done three corrections this early in my response, let me just say that the ability of machines to understand what someone is saying is horrible. Maybe you’ve seen what Google voice does to voicemail; or maybe you’ve seen what Google’s YouTube does for automatic captions. Consider those to be some of the best automatic voice transcription services, and now think about the likelihood that HireVue will actually be able to screen your responses.

    Let’s also not forget discrimination against the disabled. Consider someone like me who has Asperger’s; my body language and facial expressions will not match the cultural norms. Does this automatically disqualify me? If so, who has the liability for job discrimination?

    I agree with this view: if a company is going to use this to automate hiring, then fire the people who used to do the job of hiring. Can you think of any company that is willing to tell people, “evaluate this automated system that is going to replace you, and let management know if you are no longer needed”? How about a company that says, “train this H1-B visa worker to do your job so we can fire you”?

    Funny, real companies have done that second one. Is it time to have them do the first one?

    • “evaluate this automated system that is going to replace you, and let management know if you are no longer needed”? How about a company that says, “train this H1-B visa worker to do your job so we can fire you”?

      And…

      “Funny, real companies have done that second one. Is it time to have them do the first one?”

      The above was exactly my previous contention but in different words posted earlier.

      USA based tech workers were already training their replacements before companies started abusing the H1-B process.

      Yes, why don’t they fire HR personnel that were “interviewing” real people in person? That was were my sci-fi based comment about the movie Blade Runner (not to mention RoboCop) came in.

      Of course, Nick mentioned “robots” many many posts ago regarding HR on a separate topic.

      Technology seems to be the go-to method for almost everything now. Soon enough if you have a pulse you’ll be deemed the “enemy” to the so called “cost saving” microchip running the robot CEO. Joy!

      What a shame.

      • Have a pulse, be the enemy? Didn’t one of the fast food chains say it would be cheaper to purchase robots instead of paying a $15/hr minimum wage?

        • …and didn’t liberal CA promptly pass legislation to approve said $15/hr. – to be phased in over about FIVE years? Oh, and doesn’t WA or OR already have a $15/hr min. wage?

          And can’t commercial aircraft taxi, take-off, cruise and land WITHOUT pilots? Yes, they can. The technology has been with us for over 16 years – at least. Yet, no airline nor the FAA is pushing for this to happen. No thanks. As of 2016 I’ll pay current ticket prices in lieu of a “cheaper” ticket with no human pilot aboard.

          And did’t both Tesla and Honda(?) have serious “autopilot” car crashes lately?

          Electrical Engineers use the term “spurious faults” when it comes to credible evidence in favor of limiting technology from replacing humans in many cases no matter how “cheaper” it may be.

          Goly Gee, looks like automation isn’t the cure-all bean counters thought would be. Who-da-thunk-it?

  33. New business idea:

    Given the advances in motion capture, CGI, and computers, start a company to generate CGI answers to the HireVue process. You send in several pictures of yourself and record answers to standard interview questions. My service uses professional actors who will provide natural body language (designed, of course, to be picked up by HireVue’s algorithm) that’s captured via green screen. We pop your face and image onto the actor, downgrade the quality to web camera resolution to help with the illusion, and upload the “answer” to HireVue. When we get really good, you just have to read a bunch of words so we can reproduce your voice on the fly in a completely natural sounding manner.

  34. I’m reminded of a story I read several decades ago.

    An astronaut goes on a 20-year deep-space mission, and while her rocket returns safely to earth, she dies on the trip home. To spare her parents unnecessary grief, the powers that be manufacture a life-like robot to greet the parents after a few days of “decompression.”

    Several days after the reunion, another group of scientists disassemble the “parents” and return the parts and components to the robot-manufacturing facility … the robots having done their duty of greeting the returning astronaut, to spare her the unnecessary grief of learning that her parents had died before she returned home.

  35. ” … is the modern HR executive daft?”

    On their best day, the “modern HR executive” can screen for and hire an entry-level HR person. Maybe keep the pay envelopes correct and the benefits paid up & turned on for the rest of the employees. Asking HR to recruit, screen and hire for everything from the guy who sweeps the floor and adjusts the Sloan(TM) valves to lead programmer to business process assistant project manager to master control operator for your TV station is ludicrous.

    Better HR just sticks to pay and benefits, and let mangers who know what they need actually recruit, screen and hire.

    IMHO, HireVue is just a bright shiny new toy designed to (a) drive talent away and (b) embed age and veteran discrimination into an already fractured hiring process.

  36. “HireVue is just a bright shiny new toy designed to (a) drive talent away and (b) embed age and veteran discrimination into an already fractured hiring process.”

    Bingo!

    Otherwise known as LDDD – Long Distance Digital Discrimination.

  37. I’ve worked for a company that used HireVue in the recruiting process, so I’ve been both the hiring manager and the interviewee in this process. We used as kind of a second line: we’ve gone through the resumes, then would send out the HireVue, then do the phone interview. The HR people, because our business was so technical, could not effectively screen candidates beyond a few basic questions. As the hiring manager, I would watch the videos, as I was able to do so on my schedule. So it wasn’t reviewed by a robot, as we actually customized the questions for each position. That being said, the majority of the company was virtual: we did not have offices, nor particular restrictions on where candidates would need to be located. Face to face interviews would have been nice, but the other factor involved in traveling would have been time. The recruiters can’t qualify the candidates, so it would have to be technical people (such as myself) traveling to do the interview. So that would be another cost above and beyond airfare, hotel, meals, etc.

    • Why couldn’t you use Skype or something like that? Since you used phone interviews, how did HireVue add value?

  38. So, that’s one actual GOOD use of this service — a company that has no actual location, that exists as a virtual location on the internet. There’s a number of those, and being able to interview people from all over the world in that case does make sense.

    Still, as Nick pointed out, the “Your comments are now a matter of public record forever” (because, since you gave it to a company, it is no longer private and can be grabbed by the government for any reason, or given/sold to any other company for any price, or just plain published for whatever reason) … I just hate data mining.

  39. Great Topic.

    Sounds like maybe a good first step to improve the broken hiring process.

    Let’s face it as Nick says most HR & managers are robots when it comes to hiring anyway. Most have idiotic preconceptions about “fit” and turn the interview into a pop quiz instead of an honest discussion of interests and challenges. ATS and real robots cant do much worse, at least they provide consistency.

    I don’t believe interview success is critical to success in a role. The correlation is actually quite low. Direct experience and interest have the highest and where there’s strong demonstrable interest related experience will often do just as well.

    The ugly truth is that HR and management are really just skirting need of developing real talent on the job by inanely filtering for it at the door. That’s the main reason for the phoney back log in the first place. The best companies have already figured out that the war for talent is internal.

  40. I am a senior level IT worker, employed. Looking for something new. I submitted what is pretty darn nice resume to a major company in my area. I got a hirevue interview request this afternoon. If I was out of work, why not. But I’m looking for a six figure job and if a five-figure HR recruiter can’t be bothered to have me come in for 30 minutes, why would I bother? Is his time more valuable than mine? Not to me. Does make me wonder how many applicants look at these requests and delete them in disgust.

    With a conventional interview you know at least you got a bite. They won’t interview a hundred people for a position, so there is genuine interest. Seeing your resume was the first date, so now you have the second. Yet if somebody in HR just clicks a button to send you a video interview and throw you in a lot hundreds or thousands of applicants, you’re very likely wasting your time. And moreover, it’s highly impersonal.

    This sounds snotty, but maybe hirevue is not a good idea for higher-tier positions. People applying for those jobs don’t want to jump through silly hoops because HR doesn’t know a decent resume from a bad one.

    • Greg: Nothing snotty about your observation. The more your time is worth, the less HR should be wasting it. But it’s impossible for HR to justify wasting anyone’s time with HireVue.

      Do good programmers add more code to software, or strive to do more with less? Same deal with HR. Good HR people remove steps and obstacles, they don’t add them. But there are not many good HR workers.

      If I were you, I’d send a polite but firm note to the CEO of the company. Someone upstairs needs to know what HireVue and its ilk are costing employers.

      • I’m definitely thinking of letting them know this somehow. I think it’s a really bad idea. If you google my name, literally nothing comes up; I’ve been very careful over the years to protect my privacy.

        Looking over the HireVue terms and conditions, if I submit this video they now have the only video of me on the entire internet, on their servers in perpetuity, combined with personally identifiable information. Absolutely not happening. The time of interviews conducted by robot may be here in time, but we’re not there yet, and as long as there are other options I decline to condone the whole thing. Like Sighmaster said above, it’s voyeuristic and creepy!

  41. HireVue is just deplorable.

  42. #Pfizer uses #HireVue and I asked the recruiter through e-mail several times to accommodate me through a one to one phone interview. No reply despite several e-mails to her as well as Hire Vue. I sent one to their HR dept. and got a reply many weeks later stating that the original recruiter left the company and I was not being considered for either of the two jobs I applied for and invited to interview for. They went with candidates who better matched the position requirements. This, after violating the right to accommodation request through ignoring my e-mails to them. I was denied the right to be accommodated and denied based on asking for it – all because the recruiter left the company? But they were still able to select fro her pool of candidates.

    The format is potentially discriminatory no matter how it is framed. I do not send in a photo with my resume for that reason. Get enough people to speak out about this and it will be directly addressed at some point by EOE in anther light.

    Until then, I refuse to support companies who use this method and claim it is an interview. It IS NOT.

    Those same individuals behind companies and HR violations of accommodations may be in need of a job at some point. God forbid they have to endure the same and then see what it is like. It is ridiculous.

  43. The Hireview audition is just an uncomfortable step imposed on you so employers have an additional chance to reject you before an actual interview. Don’t do it. Be a good negotiator and ask for a phone or Skype interview instead. Your chances are greater at being hired and you also avoid all of the other baggage mentioned here already.

  44. I just declined a two-minute video “interview” through Wepow. I applied for the job three weeks ago, and the first contact from the potential employer was an email request to do the video, with a 48-hours turn-around time. In the weeks since I applied, I accepted another job (part-time), and I cannot drop everything to do this interview. I have a webcam on my laptop, but I’ve never used it, and do not judge it worth several hours of my time to get up to speed for a two-minute “interview.” Just look at my LinkedIn page, you will learn everything you will learn in a two-minute video. (Hint:I am white.)

    The video “interview” request, particularly the 48-hour turn-around time, struck me as downright rude, and put me off from the company. So, I declined the interview.

    Within a half hour, another email came in extending the deadline one day. Also, a voice mail came in going on and on about did I get the original email, did I still want to do the video, etc. I called back this morning and explained my reasons: I am not up to speed on the technology, I am time-pressed because I am working, and (most important) having looked at Wepow’s privacy policy, there is no telling who will get access to that video.

    The (presumably HR) person on the phone was also rude, but I left the ball in her court.

  45. More and more companies are using this technology, whether it be through recorded answers or face to face video chat. It saves companies money, time, and allows companies to go through hundreds of applicants when previously you were only able to see maybe 10-20 in person. I laugh at the people who say they will take a stand and not do the video interview. We now live in a day and age where there are hundreds of other applicants who are just as talented as you with the same background.

    • @John Paul: You’re missing one critical point. If a company has identified a good candidate that it truly wants to RECRUIT, it will not balk at the candidate’s refusal to do a video interview. To RECRUIT means to pursue, cajole, seduce, attract — not to demand a person jump through hoops for the chance to apply for a job they may not even really want.

      What you’re describing is not recruiting or hiring. It’s dumpster diving. Those who consent to demands like video interviews are consigning themselves to the dumpster. And employers who “shop” there get what they deserve.

      • Well said, Nick.

        Apparently it is more trendy to laugh at candidates who decline these types of cold, unconnected video screens.

        These are not interviews – Video screenings are subjective, detached and a one way street for all types of EOE violations: age, appearance, etc.

        • @EVOLVE: Video interviews create a whole new vector for data theft problems. If you do a lousy jobs in one of these video interviews, and the video vendor’s servers are hacked, potentially every employer on the planet could one day see how lousy a job you did. Lotsa luck reeling that back in.

          • @Nick

            Absolutely, Nick. Data theft is only the tip of the iceberg surrounding the video screening trend.

    • You laugh at people for having a difference of opinion based on their experience? How unevolved of you.

      You would not know who would be a better fit if they decline to video interview.

      There is a multitude of reasons not to utilize video interviews. All of them sound and reasonable.

      Nothing you wrote supports why you choose to laugh at those other people. Your statement is a prime example of what is the new HR mentality sweeping the nation and hiring poor talent.

    • You are laughing at the wrong group as any methodology employed to find like minded robots will produce a singular culture that restricts company growth. Diversity is what gives a company constitution (or not, if they are utilizing videos for subjective judicial purposes), and determines leverage in the marketplace. Laughing at those who have logical reasons that are both valid and timely, speaks more about your character than anything. It is not funny that those of race, religion, etc., regard video screenings are concerned about being denied employment (etc.) based on submissions. How you find this funny is deplorable. My suggestions is that you consider the word, evolve the next time you find it funny.

  46. There’s all kinds of issues with humans in the loop, too. Consider an interviewer that really connects with someone because they’re from the same state. Interview goes great because they “click”, and they get pushed through the process. How does them both being from Nebraska indicate that the potential employee is a good fit? At that point, you have to worry about unconscious race discrimination because people aren’t from the same cultural background.

    What if the interviewer is hungry and in a bad mood? Tired? Emotional in any way? How does that help? What if the previous interview was bad? See “Hungry judges dispense rough justice” at http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110411/full/news.2011.227.html.

    My gut reaction to AI-reviewed videos was revulsion, but people have their problems too.

    • Such people should not be making determinants of eligibility based on such “moods”. This is why their education would shape how they interview and account for such instances.

      If an HR person is recruiting from video, the same instance is just as likely if not more so: people are less likely too exhibit conduct unbecoming in-person. It is much easier to be a jackwagon to negate a candidate if selection is conducted via video. There is a modicum of conduct and responsibility for company that should be inherent with an in-person interview.

      Assuming a human being would ever see said video is also a concern. Why? Video interviews employ facial intonation recognition which HR never sees – and this is based on algorithm calculations. Would you want a computer program to decide you are a high risk candidate because you have a unibrow – and – that unibows are highly associated with bank robbers?

      Facial recognition is another scary term – Capture a screen-shot of a frame from the video – and reverse-image-lookup. Think of the possibilities for exclusion. If H can’t meet ftf and this is the future of our world – we don’t need a human race. It will be a moot point as computers replace human connection. Recruiters will be pissed when their jobs are replaced by hirevue and they have to sit in front of an algorithm to decide their credentials or lack thereof. Nobody is immune once this BS takes over HR.

  47. Is it possible to interview with hireview and just shut off your webcam?

  48. oops! HireVue.

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