Video Interviewing Works for Universities Too

Although video interviewing is typically associated with the world of HR and employment, it can also be effective in the academic sphere.

Although video interviewing is typically associated with the world of HR and employment, it can also be effective in the academic sphere.

The role of video interviews in employee recruitment has been growing steadily for years; in fact, a recent survey found that 63% of companies now use videoconferencing in their hiring processes, according to CNBC. But the trend is beginning to take hold in the world of education, too, as colleges and universities across the globe increasingly turn to video technology in order to speed up the cumbersome application process – especially in the face of a rapidly growing international applicant pool.

A Growing Problem

In both the United States and the United Kingdom, the number of international students vying for placement in universities is rapidly increasing. The number of Chinese students in American colleges, for example, rose to more than 300,000 last year, according to the Daily Mail. This rapid rate of growth brings with it a wide range of issues: for example, many students turn to agencies that promise admission into American universities, and may submit false application materials on their behalf.

Moreover, there have numerous been reports of plagiarism, forged transcripts and surrogate test-takers. One of the greatest challenges for admissions officers is distinguishing between fraudulent applications that are submitted by the prospective students themselves and those submitted by third-party agencies without the applicant’s knowledge.

Video interview platforms help universities verify the identity of potential students, and enable academic recruiters to evaluate their spoken English language skills, providing a baseline for assessment. First years can sometimes struggle to adapt to campus life, and these interviews ensure the best possible match between the institution and the individual.

A successful interview requires spontaneity and adaptability, just as first year classes and campus life would. As colleges pursue intellectual and cultural diversity, recorded interviews provide a simple yet incredibly effective way to effectively evaluate an increasingly global applicant pool.

Applicant Aid

For the students themselves, a recorded interview provides the opportunity for an authentic introduction, putting a face (and voice) to their essays and test scores. The video can be recorded at any time and at any location, so students don’t have to make expensive campus trips for in-person interviews.

This is true not just for international applicants, but for local students as well. Video essays help candidates stand out, giving them a platform to discuss personal interests outside of their school work. A recent applicant to the College of Florida, for example, made jokes and sang in his video, according to the Huffington Post.

While other schools may not have found the performance valuable, the College of Florida and the admissions team “loved that he wanted to serenade” them; the video solidified the student as a great match with the school, and vice versa.

Growing Popularity

American academic institutions like Wellesley College, Georgia Tech and the University of Oregon, among others, have already implemented video interviews into their admissions processes to reduce cheating and effectively cope with the steadily rising volume of applicants.

The Laney Graduate School at Emory University started using video in 2012, as CollegeNET explains, describing them as “an enormous asset to the interview process,” and the prestigious Northwestern University School of Law became the first of its kind to offer an online video interview option last year.

Today, more than 200 institutions across the globe accept video interviews from international applicants, according to ICEF Monitor, and approximately 70 actively recommend them. Undoubtedly, video is going to play an increasingly important role in the application process for colleges and universities in the future – as such, academic admissions officers must seek out the best possible vendors and products if they want to remain ahead of the curve and attract today’s brightest young minds.

(Main image credit: Vadim Sherbakov/Unsplash)