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Selecting video interviewing technology: GE and Cigna share stories

Discover which features leaders at GE and Cigna were looking for in video interviewing platform vendors, and how they made their ultimate decisions.

Although video interviewing has a ways to go before it reaches mainstream adoption, more employers today are beginning to discover the benefits of such technology. According to users, it saves time and money and reduces stress for hiring managers as well as candidates.

But as video interviewing technology becomes more widespread in the hiring process -- particularly among larger companies -- hiring managers and recruiters should learn best practices for selecting and using the technology.

In this piece, learn how and why leaders at two companies chose their video interviewing technology vendors, and discover a second use case for video in the hiring process: recruitment marketing.

GE looks for change management and global capabilities

Shahbaz Alibaig, global recruitment technology leader at General Electric Co., headquartered in Fairfield, Conn. said he went into the video technology selection process bearing the company's complexity in mind.

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"Although [GE] is one [organization], it's made up of eight different companies," he said. "We had to do different strategies for different parts of the world and parts of the business -- healthcare, capital, aviation -- [because] they all have slightly different cultures and capabilities."

Alibaig started the project by evaluating all vendors in the space for the technical capabilities of their products. He found that most vendors offer similar core functionality, such as the ability to perform live and prerecorded interviews, as well as branding capabilities so the interface that candidates see looks like the company's site rather than the vendor's.

Technical requirements aside, Alibaig said he was looking for a vendor with strong project and change management capabilities. "Because this is such brand-new technology, it really requires expertise" in this area, he said. "So, vendors that have that have an edge."

Also, because GE is a global organization, Alibaig had to ensure that the chosen vendor's platform featured multilanguage capabilities and could accommodate different infrastructures in the U.S. and other countries.

Finally, Alibaig said it was essential that the video interviewing system could be integrated with GE's existing technology.

"Companies have applicant tracking systems or ... talent management systems, so you want a vendor [whose technology] can be easily integrated with [these] tools," he said. "We also like to work with vendors that have done one or more of these integrations, so they're not starting from scratch with us. That was an important criteria for us."

With all these considerations in mind, GE selected vendor HireVue, and implemented a video interviewing pilot program in late 2012.

Mobile, global features key points for Cigna

Because using video interviewing technology in the hiring process is currently the exception to the rule, employers should take care to ensure candidates understand what's expected of them.

Frank Abate, a talent consultant in IT Consulting Services at Philadelphia-based health services organization Cigna, said this is the first step in the process at his company. Cigna uses video interviewing technology from vendor InterviewStream.

"At the first touch, the talent team is explaining to candidates what's going to happen," Abate said. "We give them a guide and tell them if they have any questions, they should let us know -- so we're walking them through the process. But the tool itself has directions that come with it. There is also the ability to practice before they start."

Abate said he and his talent acquisition team looked at approximately a dozen video interviewing tools, and narrowed the list to three after talking to vendors and seeing demos of the products. After testing the tools, the team selected InterviewStream because they felt it best met Cigna's needs.

"What was important to us was our global strategy," said Dina Kraus, talent lead for strategic initiatives at Cigna. "We have operations in 35 countries, so being able to [reach out] to candidates outside the U.S. was very important to us."

Mobile was another key point, Kraus said, because the company wanted to be sensitive to candidates' device preferences. "Being able to have that flexibility was important for us, and I would imagine for most organizations."

Using video in recruitment marketing

Video is also being used in the talent acquisition department as a recruitment marketing tool. Kyle Lagunas, talent acquisition analyst at Brandon Hall Group, an Austin, Texas-based market research firm, encouraged companies interested in this video use case to consult with their marketing department.

"Tap into your marketing team and say, 'We're thinking about rolling out video in recruiting, what should we be paying attention to? What messaging should we be doing?'" he said. "Work with [them] to make sure what you're rolling out is consistent with your consumer brand -- that your employer brand rings true to the actual value proposition of employment, and make sure that everything is aligned," he said.

He pointed out that job descriptions are another area to check for alignment with a recruitment video. "If you have a boring job description, and then send candidates a fun, high-quality production recruiting video, [they're] going to ask, 'What's up? Where's the disconnect here?'" he said.

Cigna's Kraus said branding and candidate experience are also important with video interviewing technology. She explained that InterviewStream enables Cigna to record a background video and send a message to candidates. Cigna's InterviewStream site is branded to look like a Cigna page, she added.

And after a candidate completes a video interview, he receives a survey so that Cigna can gauge his thoughts on the process.

"We're able to gather that feedback to understand the candidate's experience, which is very important, because for us, every candidate is a customer," she said. "So, we want to make sure they have the best experience."

About the author:
Linda Rosencrance has written about technology for more than 10 years and has been a reporter for more than 20 years. A former Computerworld reporter, she is a freelance writer in Massachusetts and also an author of several true-crime books.

This was first published in January 2014

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