Video Thesis

The following videos are excerpts from the Overview chapter of my master’s thesis.

Rarely will anyone read your thesis, so I thought, “Why not create a few videos to share some of the content?” If what you read or watch interests you and you’d like to read more, I’ve included the link to the complete thesis below.

Thank you for your interest!

Using Asynchronous Video Interviews to Enhance Self-Awareness of Video Communication Skills in a Community College Setting

Asynchronous video interviews are an emerging trend in the hiring process for assessing communication skills crucial in interviews. Industry leaders perceive a gap between communication skills and work-readiness of college graduates. That gap may reflect a lack of self-awareness. The purpose of this study was to explore the value of using a peer-assessed, asynchronous video interview assignment to enhance self-awareness of communication skills on video. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected using two questionnaires and two semi-structured interviews. The findings suggest that students became more self-aware of their communication skills, revealed experienced difficulties using body language and eye contact, showed low confidence levels recording self-facing videos, and had a preference for anonymous peer assessment. There was also a positive relationship between cognitive and affective attitudes towards asynchronous video interviews.

Keywords: asynchronous video interviews; self-awareness; communication skills; video communication skills; peer assessment; post-secondary education

What Are Asynchronous Video Interviews?

Asynchronous video interviews (AVIs) are pre-recorded applicant responses to job interview questions. Asynchronous video interviews are also referred to as digital interviews (Langer et al., 2017); one-way interviews (Pavlik, 2019; Torres & Mejia, 2017); interface-based interviews (Rasipuram et al., 2016); virtual-recorded interviews (Eike et al., 2016); web-based interviews (Guchait et al., 2014); and on demand interviews (Sellers, 2014). Using asynchronous video interviews is an emerging trend in the hiring process (Brenner et al., 2016; Torres & Gregory, 2018). Multiple service providers offer digital interview solutions; one source identified 127 service providers (Software Advice, 2020, Video Interview Software section).

What is the Asynchronous Video Interview Process?

Asynchronous video interviews are not the same as video resumes. A video resume is a standalone video uploaded to social media platforms, search engines, and websites (Hiemstra et al., 2019). While a video resume is also asynchronous and recorded for the purpose of securing employment, a video resume is initiated and the content is determined by the job seeker (Apers & Derous, 2017). By contrast, asynchronous video interviews are initiated by the hiring organization. A job applicant receives a link to proprietary video interview software and records timed responses to predetermined interview questions using a computer webcam or the camera on a mobile device (Torres & Mejia, 2017). Multiple decision makers review the video interview and decide if the candidate progresses to the next stage of the interview process (Guchait et al., 2014; Torres & Gregory, 2018). This interview method saves time and travel expenses for the employer and the candidate (Torres & Gregory, 2018; Torres & Mejia, 2017). This interview method also allows the employer to replay the candidate’s responses to interview questions (Guchait et al., 2014) and provides an introduction to the candidate’s communication skills.

How Important Are Communication Skills?

Communication skills are among the most valued workplace skills (Rao et al., 2017) and are included in the Essential Employability Skills for graduates of post-secondary studies in Ontario (Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities [MTCU], 2019). Communication skills include proficiency in writing, listening, speaking, and presenting. Effective communication skills in a job interview, whether in a digital or in-person context, are crucial in facilitating an applicant’s ability to move to the next step in the hiring process (Rasipuram et al., 2016) and to be successful in the workplace. Technical skills might help an applicant get a job, but it is their communication skills that will help them keep the job (Robles, 2012).  

With asynchronous video interviews, a job applicant’s communication skills are evaluated by multiple decision makers (Guchait et al., 2014) thus placing significant importance on effective communication during the screening process. This Masters research exposed students enrolled in a college workplace preparation course and a communications course to a simulated asynchronous video interview. Students engaged in anonymous assessment of peers’ video interviews and offered feedback about their peers’ communication skills. Students also engaged in self-assessment of their own communication skills on video. The findings of this applied research project are presented in this thesis.

Gaps in Research

Toldi (2010, 2011) was one of the first researchers to explore video interviews in the hiring process, focusing primarily on the perspectives of job applicants and their perceptions of procedural justice and fairness (Guchait et al., 2014). Considering asynchronous video interviews is an emerging trend (Guchait et al., 2014; Torres & Gregory, 2018) and a relatively unknown interview method (Seller, 2014), there is limited evidence or research to support the effectiveness of this practice. Some identified gaps in research include validating the effectiveness of asynchronous video versus in-person interviews (Langer et al., 2017; Rasipuram et al., 2016); establishing how digital interviews are evaluated by recruiters (Langer et al., 2017); determining how applicants react when asked to take part in AVIs (Langer et al., 2018); and ascertaining whether the practice of using AVIs provide a more accurate measure of applicant information compared to other recruitment methods (Torres & Gregory, 2018). While gaps exist, “digital interviews are described as one of the rising stars in personnel selection practice” (Langer et al., 2017, p. 371) offering flexibility, standardization, and analytical information (Langer et al., 2017). While previous research focused on perceptions of AVIs (Basch & Melchers, 2019; Brenner et al., 2016; Hiemstra et al., 2019), this study focuses on self-awareness of video communication skills through AVI practice.

Research Goal

The purpose of this research is to explore the value of using an asynchronous video interview assignment in college level communications and career preparation courses to (a) prepare students for the emerging trend of asynchronous video interviews in the hiring process; (b) enhance self-awareness of communication skills on video; and (c) consider opportunities to inform the practice of post-secondary educators by incorporating the development of communication skills on video. This research addresses the following questions: 

1. Does asynchronous video interview practice relate to self-awareness of video communication skills? 

2. Does peer assessment of asynchronous video interviews relate to self-awareness of video communication skills?

3. How can using asynchronous video interviews help post-secondary educators develop students’ video communication skills?

Personal Reflection

My interest in using video began when I created a video resume following several years of precarious employment. I contemplated what I could do differently to stand out to potential employers. I had experience in commercial auditioning and acting, so I created a video resume. I enjoyed experimenting with different learning technologies and software programs, so I created two versions of my video resume: an animated audio version (Black, 2016) using the animation software program, PowToon (https://www.powtoon.com/), and an on-camera talking head version (Black, 2016b) that I outsourced to a videographer. I posted both video resumes on the search engine, YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/), and the professional social media platform, LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/). Both versions demonstrated my communication skills and technical abilities in “information-rich” formats (Apers & Derous, 2017, p. 9). As a direct result of my video resume, I secured a full-time position with a non-profit organization. 

Early in my research on video resumes, I encountered the term asynchronous video interviews. I discovered that this was an emerging trend in the hiring process, particularly in the retail and hospitality industries (Guchait, et al., 2014; Torres & Gregory, 2018; Torres & Mejia, 2016). Unlike video resumes that are initiated by the job seeker, asynchronous video interviews are initiated by the employer and are used as a screening tool and a prerequisite to in-person interviews. Considering the ability to communicate effectively on video could be the determining factor in moving to the next stage of the interview process, my research focuses on how to prepare students for this new method of communication. This research also exposes challenges and opportunities that may help post-secondary educators when creating course content for asynchronous video interview preparation or video communication skills development.