Ready for your close-up?: Virtual interviews gain foothold in job placement industry

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Lucille Barrett
Lucille Barrett
Future teen idol. Hardcore tv lover. Social media guru. Zombie aficionado. Travel scholar. Biker, shiba-inu lover, audiophile, Mad Men fan and proud pixelpusher. Working at the junction of minimalism and elegance to answer design problems with honest solutions. I'm fueled by craft beer, hip-hop and tortilla chips.

About a third of the way through his interview for a job as a concrete specialist, Tulsa Aaron Galloway disappeared.

Not from the room. From a computer screen.

“To tell you the truth, we had some technical difficulties,” says Galloway, who was doing a Skype job interview with a recruiter. “… My screen cut off for some reason. She could hear me. She couldn’t see me. But I could see her.


“It was probably a mistake on my end. I’m very old-school when it comes to technology.”
Welcome to the new school, Aaron.

Forget firm handshakes, and shoe shines. Today’s first — and sometimes subsequent — impressions often are forged not personally but digitally during a vetting process that saves companies both time and money.

A recent survey by professional staffing giant Robert Half showed more than 60 percent of hiring managers and recruiters use video for their remote job interviewing needs.
“There’s been a huge evolution from a corporate standpoint,” Carey Baker, CEO of ProRecruiters in Tulsa, says of video chat apps such as Skype, FaceTime, and Google Duo. “That’s the beauty of it. Everybody’s busy and has limited time. To fly in and meet somebody, that takes an entire day, if not longer.

“You can pretty much blackout 30 minutes to have a phone call. It’s just a face-to-face phone call.”

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ProRecruiters has about 500 business partners in the Tulsa area, and it receives from 60 to 100 applications a week, Baker says. Since 2009, the company has given job seekers the option to do a video resume about a 90-second pitch highlighting what a candidate brings to the table.

Karen Holmes, of Tulsa, recently sat down for a video resume at ProRecruiters and found the process painless.

“It didn’t work for me at all,” says Holmes, who is seeking a position as a claims analyst or human resources manager. “I’m just not shy.”

Words on a page can relate only so much about a candidate’s qualifications, Baker says.
“If you have the experience if you have the intellect, if you have the ability to do a job, why wouldn’t you want a chance to tell your story?” she says. “You can’t tell it on paper. You can tell a piece of it, but you can’t tell all of it.”

Most companies, however, still want an in-person interview before they pull the trigger on a hire. Baker estimates that only 5-10 percent of candidates get a job without a face-to-face with an employer.

“It’s low, but it does happen,” she says. “We want them to meet. Our mission is about finding the perfect match. So we want the job-seeker to feel comfortable in that environment, too.”
About a year and a half ago, Tania Geradts sought, through ProRecruiters, a position at Flintco’s Tulsa office. After some introductory phone interviews, she Skyped with several Flintco representatives from her then-home in Washington state.

“I definitely prepared myself as if I was there in person, just like I would any other face-to-face conversation,” says Geradts, who was hired as the company’s director of talent management. “I dressed appropriately and wanted to present myself well.”

As Flintco’s employee services generalist, Vanessa Payne manages the company’s hiring for all six branches through its corporate human resources department in Tulsa. Everything typically starts with a phone call, she says.

“But in positions where we might receive more than 100 or so applications, for the lower-level positions, we have started doing some of the video screenings to allow us to kind of get a preview of a candidate for

two minutes,” Payne says of Flintco, which employs 574 people overall, 186 in Tulsa.

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