The secret to finishing 3 days’ worth of interviews in 2 hours

‘Video interviewing drastically reduced our time’

One Saturday when Chris Tatum, director of secondary personnel at Amarillo ISD, was 496 miles from his district, he found the perfect opportunity to complete nine candidate interviews.

“I was out of town for a conference committee meeting, and I had about two hours where I didn’t really have anything to do,” Chris said. “In that time, I reviewed nine interviews, rated them, informed our principals who was certified for which positions, and sent each candidate a personal email. With a traditional face-to-face interview process, that would have taken three days.”

His secret? Video interviewing.

When candidates apply to Amarillo ISD, they are required to submit a video of themselves answering 10 standardized questions related to the open position.

“We started using video interviews about a year ago,” Chris explained. “We don’t use it for every position yet, but we’re moving in that direction.”

When initially rolling out video interviews, Amarillo ISD started with internal transfer requests — a process he recommends to other districts thinking about moving to video interviewing.

“That really allowed us to kick it off with a captive audience instead of just throwing it out there to the general public,” Chris said. “It let us test the process with people we know and who know us.”

With a year under their belt and an expanding candidate reach, Chris can now see the impact video interviewing has on time-to-fill.

“When we started the process with our non-classroom vacancies — principals, counselors and curriculum — it took a lot less time to get the approved candidate pools to my executive team,” Chris said. “Obviously once the pools go to the executive team, there has to be movement to fill those spots, but overall, video interviewing drastically reduced our time.”

In spite of the benefits, there was one major concern about how video interviewing would affect the district.

“We worried that using online interviews might cause us to lose out on that personal connection,” Chris said. “We want to have a chance to sell candidates on our district, which we would typically do in our face-to-face interviews.”

To address this concern, Amarillo ISD now schedules group applicant orientation sessions.

“We bring in groups of eight to 10, share the vision of our district with them, and meet with them face to face,” Chris said. “We’re spending 45 minutes or so doing that instead of days and days spent on interviews.”

Overall, Chris views video interviewing as one more tool to help the human resources team better support the district as a whole.

“Anything that makes life easier for our principals and candidates is great,” Chris said. “That’s what we’re here for.”

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