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HR video apps spreading beyond training to recruiting, engagement

Users say cost savings, faster turnaround and better corporate branding are some of the benefits from using video at more stages of the talent management process.

Increasingly, hiring managers and heads of human resources are investing in some type of video tool for recruiting as well as developing employees. HR video use is becoming more mainstream.

One reason is that the younger workforce -- millennials (ages 18-34) are now the largest generation in the U.S. labor force -- is expecting and demanding it, according to Jeanne Meister, a founding partner of Future Workplace LLC, an HR executive network and research firm based in New York.

In addition, the older workforce -- e.g., baby boomers -- are accustomed to going to YouTube to find out how to do things.

"Video in the last decade has become part of how we all expect to learn and develop, but I think what's interesting is we have some early adopters using video in the recruiting process," said Meister, co-author of the book, The Future Workplace Experience: 10 Rules For Mastering Disruption in Recruiting and Engaging Employees.

For example, Meister said, an online shoe and clothing shop, was one of the first companies to require candidates to submit video cover letters responding to certain questions, such as, "Why do you think you're a perfect fit for the job you're applying for?"

The idea of using video in recruiting has evolved into video-based assessments, said Mark Newman, founder of HireVue, a provider of video interviewing software based in Salt Lake City. HireVue combines its video job-interview technologies with recruitment screening and evaluation tools for employers.

So, instead of having the traditional 200-question test, now companies can get the same predictive value from four or five video questions, Newman said.

"We've created a lot of analytics off the interviews," he said. "We tie that to performance outcomes and can help evaluate interviews, as well, on whatever the company is trying to measure."

Over the past five years, more companies have been using HR video as an interviewing tool because it saves them money, improves efficiency and reduces the time it takes to hire candidates, according to Meister.

Imo Udom, co-founder and CEO of WePow, a provider of video interviewing services based in Redwood City, Calif., agreed with that assessment.

"We've been in this space about five years. And what we're seeing more recently is companies becoming more comfortable with the concept of [video interviewing]," Udom said. "But we're also seeing a shift from our clients' perspective on how they use the technology."

Engaging with customers and employees

Today, WePow's customers are using video as engagement and communication tools in addition to using it for interviewing and getting to know candidates better.

"For our clients, recruitment is two-way. Yes, you're trying to screen a candidate and understand who they are and what drives them, but, at the same time, as an organization, you're trying to make sure you stand out and tell your authentic story," Udom said. "Specifically, what our clients are doing is adding a lot more video content [about what it's like at their companies] into the interview experience."

Organizations are becoming more comfortable telling their stories to the candidates and creating unique HR video content that uses less marketing-speak and incorporating that into the interview experience, according to Udom.

"[Our clients] are trying to help their candidates make great first impressions by telling them a little bit more about [their companies]," he said. "And they're using our technology to empower their recruiters so they can focus a little bit more on managing the relationships versus doing more of the administrative-type tasks and repeating themselves over and over."

Some companies, such as Cigna, a health services organization based in Bloomfield, Conn., have adopted HR video for internal use in addition to using it to bring external candidates into the company, said Frank Abate, senior recruiter of IT consulting services at Cigna. The company is using video interviewing technology from InterviewStream, which is based in Waco, Texas.

"We're using video for people who currently work for us and may be getting promoted, or talking to multiple people who may be getting other roles within a team or changing to another cross-functional role," Abate said.

Using video internally makes interviewing employees more convenient and less expensive because it allows hiring managers to look at people in other offices without traveling to their locations, he said. This also greatly reduces the time to fill internal positions.

However, Cigna has never used and will not ever use InterviewStream as a first-touch tool for internal or external candidates, according to Abate.

"This becomes a piece of the process after they've been screened and after they've moved into the selection process where they're going to move to interview," he said. "However, we don't record our live interviews because we treat them as we would any face-to-face interview and we don't record those."

In addition to using live video to interview external candidates, Cigna often records interviews with internal candidates that can then be re-reviewed, if warranted, Abate noted.

For example, two candidates are interviewed for the same position on a particular team and one is selected for job. If another role opens up on the same team, the hiring manager can look again at the interview with the other candidate without having to conduct another one.

"So, we can just use the videos that we've already done because they're going to be working on the same team anyway," Abate said. "That shortens the time cycle on the subsequent hire by leaps and bounds."

HireVue's Newman said some of his customers are also using HR video technology for internal promotions.

Rather than just having the employees fill out paper forms during the performance-review process, some organizations are having them answer a few questions on video about what they've been working on and what they want to experience in their careers, he said.

"It's almost like an internal interview, but it's focused primarily on the development of the employee and the promotion path of the employee," Newman said.

Training still a popular HR video application

A number of companies are also using short videos as part of their online training programs as well as to bring new hires on board, according to Future Workplace's Meister.

She said companies are turning to the model of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), a type of online course geared to unlimited participation and open access via the web. Initially used in higher education, MOOCs are being used by company heads of HR to design and deliver training to employees. The core of the MOOC model is a short video, she said.

"Research indicates that the ideal length of a video embedded in an [online] training course should be between five and six minutes," Meister said. "It's the ideal length for a company to state its case, its learning objective, give a few brief examples, share some of the latest research and then do a recap summary."

Companies are also using MOOCs to bring new employees on board, Meister said. After a candidate accepts a position, a company has to determine how to help the new employee understand the value of the organization so they can figure out where they fit in.

"We have companies creating MOOCs about the company, and embedded in the MOOCs are videos by the CEOs," she said.

One company using the MOOC model is Tenaris, a manufacturer headquartered in Luxembourg.

"They've adopted the MOOC model as a way to create MOOCs and video about the company and use it for recruiting purposes and for onboarding new hires before they start," Meister said. "So, in this way, you can get up to speed on why you selected the company."

Jody Ordioni, chief brand officer at Brandemix, a branding agency specializing in HR communications based in New York, summed up how companies are using HR video technology.

"There has been an increased use of videos for everything from employer brand activation internally to training and development, interviewing and recruitment communications," she said. "Showing realistic job previews, cultures, as well as employee-generated video testimonials, go a long way in helping candidates identify fit."

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