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Job Interviews Without Interviewers, Products of the Pandemic

There are challenges. A job seeker who starts off shakily but pulls together and finishes strong may not have their whole video watched by the recruiter. Technical snafus still happen. It can also be harder for applicants to know whom to contact to check their application status.

Sofia Tobón, a college junior, has applied for 15 banking internships this year, and most required her to do a recorded interview, which was evaluated to determine if she would make it to the next round of interviews, with people. “It feels weird,” she said of the lack of feedback. With a person, Ms. Tobón said, she can receive cues on how things are going, like encouraging nods or requests for details. Still, the more recordings she did, the more comfortable she became.

Ms. Tobón said the recorded process also required an additional level of preparation. Like many job applicants, Ms. Tobón has put together a stable of stories to answer typical queries like, “Give an example of your creativity,” or, “Tell me about a challenge you faced.” Those stories vary in length, but in the case of the recorded interview, a specific time limit is set, so Ms. Tobón had to deliver her answers within that parameter. “It took more practice,” she said.

The impersonal nature added to the stress. In some cases, submitting an application garnered an automatic invitation to record an interview. “With so many qualified people applying, sometimes I ask myself, will this even get viewed?” she said, “or will I be weeded out before they see it?”

Ms. Laurano said it was important for companies to reduce applicants’ stress by clearly communicating what the candidate should expect, minimizing the time and effort required to apply, and quickly delivering an answer. The communication should be personalized, she said, and ideally even convey some of the company culture.

The pandemic has accelerated the use of this technology. In February, Ms. Laurano found that 58 percent of businesses were using or considering using digital hiring systems, including ones with the ability for applicants to schedule their own appointments online and participate in video interviews, either with a recruiter or recorded. Now 77 percent of companies she surveyed are using or considering the use of interview software. Many of the others “probably just aren’t hiring,” she said.

The growth is also global. HireVue tools are available in 40 languages and used in 180 countries, according to Mr. Parker. His new bilingual interview software is gaining popularity in the southwestern United States, he said.

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