Seen the video, got the job

The electronic CV cuts costs, saves time and raises standards, writes Roger Trapp
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The Independent Online
INFORMATION technology has been making its mark in the world of recruitment for some time, largely through the establishment of databases to which both employers and candidates can gain access. But one firm specialising in sales and marketing positions is bringing this know-how to the desktop through what amounts to an electronic CV.

Jon Sotnick, managing director of Staffordshire-based Hemmingway Recruitment, sees the product as a valuable aid to harassed recruitment managers who are having to fill positions at short notice. Even though people such as him have traditionally sifted applications so that companies are not deluged with CVs, Mr Sotnick points out that the process of recruitment can take a long time. So he and his colleagues have been looking for a method of reducing the time spent on candidate selection - and they believe that the "screen-to-client" technology, developed by an organisation called Mancos, provides the solution.

"Our objective is to provide management with 'live interviews' from a short-list of candidates on a PC screen using state-of-the-art IT," says Mr Sotnick. "The system not only significantly reduces the amount of time managers spend on recruitment assignments, but also ensures a high rate of success in identifying and selecting the right candidate."

The system involves the recruitment consultant using a Windows-based software programme to develop with the client company a list of critical criteria for the position on offer. Then the consultancy chooses the five or six candidates deemed to have the right skills and experience and, having explained what is going on, shows them a short corporate video and tells them a little about the organisation and the job.

The candidates then go through filmed interviews which are recorded on a CD and sent to the client. The idea is that the client can then view the session in a relaxed manner and come to what is reckoned to be a more objective decision on who gets a face-to-face interview.

The real gainers seem to be the clients. Not only do they save a lot of time and money, they are also presented with a sort of scoreboard that enables them to compare candidates. Moreover, the recorded interviews allow them to go back over the ones they want to see again.

Geoff Dixon, sales and marketing director at food supplier Oakland Foods, is one of the first to have tried out the new system. Having used it to fill two junior management positions, he says: "The most notable benefit of Hemmingway's system was the reduction in the time it took to not only identify the right person for the shortlist, but to make the appointment. In one instance, the tech- nology provided by Hemmingway allowed us to evaluate a shortlist of nine in three hours rather than the usual week.

"But the CV will continue to play a vital role in recruitment," said Mr Sotnick. "The issue for us as recruitment consultants was to provide a system that would improve the recruitment process, both for management and the candidates."