Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

HR Horror Stories and Video Interview Solutions

Halloween can be a very scary time of year. Ghosts and goblins seem to be around every corner. Each week in October a new horror movie opens, letting audiences indulge in their most primal fears. On the small screen, television shows like American Horror Story have garnered huge ratings by playing on common horror tropes. But the big and small screens aren’t the only places you can find horror stories. There are plenty to be found in the trenches of HR.

Sure, HR professionals aren’t dealing with spirits, hauntings, or killers on the loose. But these brave professionals do deal with their fair share of hiring horror stories. From the candidates who come completely unprepared to the video interview to being inundated with people all wrong for the job, it’s not easy to find the best talent for your open positions.

Instead of calling in the Ghostbusters to solve these scary hiring stories, here are some video interview solutions to these common tales of woe:

HR Horror Story: It’s a herd of applicants! Help!
In a zombie movie, you know you’re in trouble when the herd starts shambling toward you, looking to eat your brains. What zombies lack in speed, they certainly make up for in dedication and sheer numbers. Similarly, HR professionals are being inundated with applications for every open position.

According to recent research from the Corporate Executive Board, there are an average of 118 application for every open position. Even quickly weeding out the people who are clearly all wrong for the job is going to leave you with a large candidate pool. How do you refine this group down to only the best people?

The Solution: Screen with a one-way video interview

Without wasting time and spending 30 minutes or more on the phone with a candidate, you can easily evaluate skills, qualifications, and fit with a one-way video interview. In a one-way video interview, employers pose written questions candidates answer on video. These videos can then be viewed whenever you have a free moment in your schedule. If the candidate spooks you after the first answer, you can move on to the next person without wasting more of your precious time.

HR Horror Story: 28 under-qualified candidates later…
In the horror movie 28 Days Later, a man wakes up from a coma to find out the zombie apocalypse occurred while he was sleeping. You would have to be snoozing pretty deeply not to notice it has become a lot harder to find candidates with the right skills and credentials for the job. While unemployment may have made the candidate pool wider than ever before, the skill shortage has also made it more shallow.

The Solution: Ask about specific skills in the video interview
In the video interview, dive deep into a candidate’s qualifications and skills. Ask specific questions about programs, projects, and other relevant work experience. See if the candidate is willing to take a test after the video interview to back up the skills they’ve been selling during your conversation. When you start asking candidates to get specific about their skills, you might just be in trouble if their confidence disappears like a ghost.

HR Horror Story: I can’t tell the zombie candidates from the superstars
At the end of horror movies, sometimes you find out the killer has been in your midst all along. These trick endings don’t just happen in scary movies, they can also surprise you in the hiring process.

A candidate might look great on paper, but completely fall apart in the interview. It can also be hard to tell the difference between two candidates who have similar qualifications and experience levels. How can you be sure you’re hiring the superstar candidate and not a zombie office drone?

The Solution: Use a live video interview
It’s time to connect with candidates face-to-face in a live video interview. These interviews allow hiring managers and job seekers to connect in real time, like an in-person interview without the commute.

In this interview, be sure to evaluate personality to make sure the candidate will fit into your company culture. Cultural fit can really be the difference between an employee who will bring value for years to come and a vampire who will drain the life out of your employee morale.

Halloween can be a scary time, but not as frightening as some of the challenges faced by those in HR every day. Utilizing video interviews can be the solution for these common hiring horror stories.

What are some of your scariest HR horror stories? Share with us in the comments!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Terry.Tyson

Heather Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is the Career & Recruiting Advisor for Spark Hire. She writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets, and is the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010).