Video Interviewing is Making Phone Interviews Obsolete

(In case you missed it, here’s an article I wrote for the Australian Teleservices Association September 2013 newsletter)

video_interviewing2Screening candidates via a phone interview rather than having them come in to interview has helped companies save time and money. By talking to a candidate, you CAN get a sense of how well they speak and present themselves and their professionalism. And given that you will be hiring contact centre reps for their phone skills, a phone interview seems like an obvious and very relevant way to go.
But there are problems with phone interviews. For one, just trying to schedule with a candidate can waste lots of time playing phone tag and having to endure “voice mail hell.” Your HR people can also waste time because good manners dictate their completing interviews they know in 5 seconds are going nowhere. And phone interviews, like all interviews, can be very inconsistent, hard to capture in your Applicant Tracking System, and virtually impossible to share.

It’s for all these reasons that video interviewing has become so hot. Versus phone screening, video interviewing saves time and money while allowing for higher quality hires.

Some of the specific benefits include:

  • Video interviews can be completed online by candidates themselves at any time of day or night, no scheduling required and no HR staff time required.
  • They provide structured interview consistency, assuring each candidate gets the same questions.
  • Collaboration is easy – Because video interviews are recorded, numerous managers can view and weigh in.
  • You don’t just hear candidates but can see them too.
  • Some video interviewing solutions allow your organisation to integrate video interviewing with competency-based assessments to provide greater insight into a candidate’s ability to perform.
  • Since recorded interviews are stored and can be easily retrieved, they are useful for reference, e.g., if you cannot remember who a candidate was at Assessment Centres
  • Video interviews can also shorten and make more use of time spent during Assessment Centres

You can see a short video demo of how video interviewing works here:

Check into using video interviewing at your company… and free your HR Staff forevermore from voice mail hell!

Looking for Hires in All the Wrong Places?

(This article originally appeared in the Australian Teleservices (ATA) August newsletter…)

I have heard many a contact centre recruiter bemoan the “lack of quality applicants” for the roles they need to fill. Certainly it is true – excellence is always a rare commodity and finding best fit candidates who will stay in the job and perform to deliver positive return on your recruiting and training investment is always a challenge.

But at the same time, I personally have witnessed numerous real life business examples where the prevailing wisdom on what makesa quality candidate was off the mark. And we were able to prove it.

So what was it that prevailing wisdom said was most important? Prior related work experience. And sure, it seems reasonable that the best contact centre candidates would be those who had previously worked in a contact centre.

Based on this reasoning, recruiters would scan resumes for that experience and discard all those that lacked it.

But a funny thing happened when we started screening candidates based not on prior work experience but rather on an assessment of the key personality and critical reasoning competencies that research showed were most important to be a successful contact centre rep – things like Customer Focus, Problem Solving and Sales Focus.

In every case where a company switched from resume review to talent measurement assessments, recruiters reported back that they were now looking at people they would have never previously considered – and hiring them! And the crop of assessment hires outperformed the “prior work experience” hires across a wide range of measures – in ratings by managers, in taking less time before they started hitting their targets, even in their sales conversion rates.

The recruiters in question were surprised, though we were not. Numerous studies, including a seminal 20-year study conducted by the Harvard Business Review with over 360,000 participants all produced the same conclusion: Individuals with no experience in a position are as equally likely to succeed as individuals with 2 or more years experience in a similar position.

The conclusion is clear. When judging candidates, you can’t rely on what they have done. You’ll get a far more accurate insight on their ability to succeed in the role by assessing their skills, behaviours and motivations to determine what they can do. This is especially important as the ascent of social media is changing the job description for contact centre team members and requiring them to do new things such as interact with customers on Facebook, Twitter and the web – things that probably wouldn’t have been required in a past contact centre position.

And, if a candidate’s lack of prior contact centre still makes you nervous, consider that you can confirm their ability to perform by having them complete a simulation of the specific job you want them to perform.

So stop focusing on the CV/work experience past and start using talent measurement assessments and job simulations to hire for the future. You will likely find that not only is there not a lack of quality candidates, but also start finding and hiring better quality candidates.

About the Author:

John Austin is an Organisational Psychologist & CEO of Talegent, Inc., a Sydney-based provider of talent measurement for pre-employment screening and employee development and an ATA sponsoring member. Previously he launched Talent Technologies which was acquired by Previsor, and held senior management roles for SHL.

You can find out more about Talegent’s solutions for contact centre recruiting at:

Why Performance Reviews Turn Off Employees (And What Can Turn Them On)


What is the event that comes once a year that everyone looks forward to… with dread? Performance Reviews. HR has to track down managers to do them. Managers have to try to put aside their subjectivity and bias – if they can – but also position their comments to keep employees motivated.

But what is it that employees really want?

According to the recent Workforce Mood Tracker Report issued by Globoforce, what a lot of them don’t want is the traditional performance review. Over 50% see their performance review as inaccurate, and say that their performance review does not motivate them to work harder. Why do people dislike reviews? 63% feel they are not a true indication of their performance, and 40% resent the fact that their review is based on a single point of view (their manager’s POV). Not surprisingly, the survey goes on to point out that those who ARE satisfied with their reviews are more highly engaged and satisfied with their jobs, and those who are not are 2X more likely to leave.

So what might make employees more satisfied with reviews? In my opinion I think using assessments would help. Assessments are scientifically objective so there can’t be any complaint of unfair bias on the part of a manager. And able to accurately identify strengths/abilities and areas that require work, assessments can provide sound insight on whether an employee is ready for greater challenge or in need of further development. And according to the survey, employees would welcome that kind of feedback – 70% said for them, the point of reviews is “to help me develop and grow.”

Infographic courtesy of

Infographic: The Startling Truth About Performance Reviews