The latest thinking, news and events from the world of Recruitment

Did Video Kill the Phone Interview?


Just after midnight on August 1st, 1981, MTV launched its first music video, “Video Killed the Radio Star,” sung by “The Buggles.” The event was symbolic on a number of levels, but the most obvious came from the song’s title. Was the advent of the music video poised to end the reign of music’s popularity as heard on the radio? The revelation changed the music business – it was never the same.

Lately, talent managers may be facing a similar, though less dramatic, crossroad. Interviewing techniques are evolving and technology is becoming an increasingly important part of the hiring process. More and more recruiters are using video interviews to discover top talent. A recent survey by OfficeTeam highlights this new world order. It found that 63% of HR managers said their company often uses video to interview candidates. This represents an increase of 49% from 2012 when just 14% said they were in favor of using video to screen applicants.

So why is video killing the phone interview?

In short, video interviews provide a more detailed overview of a candidate than a phone interview. As recruiters can watch the completed interviews as many times as they want (at a time which is convenient for them), it is less likely that they will miss something the candidate said while they were busy trying to take notes. There is also the option for more than one person to view the interview, allowing for quality checks and consistency across different assessors.  As call schedules can often be tight, viewing pre-recorded interviews may mean those recruiting are less rushed and perhaps more accurate in the scores they give and the opinions they form.

Of course, the hunt for top talent often goes global and with video interviewing, the act of international recruiting is made less of a chore. MWV (MeadWestvaco) uses automated video interviewing platform Sonru to eliminate the problems that come with global recruitment. By its own admission, MWV seldom has the candidate and client in the same country, thus making Sonru an invaluable tool in accommodating international recruitment needs. Cazary Wasiak, Manager Talent Acquisition Europe at MWV says, “With a phone interview, there may be language issues, a bad connection, or the interviewer might be distracted or entering the conversation with some biases. All this risk is removed with a standardised process which is respectful and fair – all candidates are asked the same questions in the same manner – there is no difference in how we treat candidates”.

Also impressed by the Sonru offering is the UK’s biggest mobile network, EE. The company first used Sonru for internal recruitment purposes. Claire Chalk, Frontline Resourcing Senior at EE said, “We didn’t conduct face-to-face interviews as we already knew them intimately. We felt that face-to-face interviews would have brought in too much subjectivity. We wanted to find out more about their motivation for applying, their feelings toward leadership, what they could bring to the programme and their ideas about store management for the future”.

As well as eliminating bias in the recruitment process, the Sonru platform brought about significant time savings for EE. Before implementing automated video interviewing, each phone interview could take up to one hour per candidate. In stark contrast, video interviews take a mere 15 minutes each to view.

So, just like “The Buggles” and MTV, video interviewing is doing something that will change the face of its purpose – it’s made its name well and truly heard in the recruitment process. Technology has changed the way we live; the way we work and now it’s altering (and improving) the way in which some of the world’s most successful companies recruit!

About the Author:


Video Interviewing Software |

Sonru, a multi-award winning automated online video interview solution for screening candidates, replaces first round phone and on-site interviews.

Sonru is a global leader in the field of Asynchronous Video Selection. As recognised leaders in this field we have established the effectiveness and validity of using video in the recruitment process. Companies like Volvo, Nestlé, CERN, Boston Scientific, EA Games, eBay, Schroders and Oracle have innovated in their talent acquisition processes by using Sonru’s video interview solution.