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July 11, 2016

WebRTC to Become the Future of Video Interviews

Today, we live in a global, connected world where it’s not unheard of for someone from Connecticut to apply for a job in California. Years ago people would have to fly from coast to coast in order to interview for the job, if they were even considered worth the hassle. Or worse, a phone interview would be conducted. 

The words “phone interview” tend to incite a feeling of dread in most people’s stomachs because, quite frankly, they’re awkward. It’s uncomfortable to interview for a job you’re really interested in when you can’t see the interviewer’s face. There are no nonverbal cues to pick up on, and you constantly have to worry if you’re taking too long to answer the question—do they know that you’re giving their question ample thought so that you can provide an intelligent answer, or do they think you’re blanking and scrambling for something to say? These are all problems that potential employees worry about when confronted with a phone interview, but this style of conversation is more convenient for employers who don’t want to fly a “maybe” out to be interviewed, only to find out that that person won’t fit well with the position. Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC) provides a solution that is convenient for both sides of the interview process.

According to their website, WebRTC is “an open framework for the web that enables Real Time Communications in the browser. It includes the fundamental building blocks for high-quality communications on the web, such as network, audio and video components used in voice and video chat applications.” When implemented in a browser, these components can be accessed through a JavaScript API, which allows developers to easily implement their own RTC web app. This is beneficial because it enables a free, high-quality, complete solution that allows communication in the browser. So, what does this have to do with job interviews?

Before WebRTC, you would have to download software in order to have video interviews. While video interviews are better than phone interviews, they still have their problems when implemented through downloaded software. From personal experience, I can tell you that video software glitches can make for some awkward interviews. I once had to download a program onto my laptop for an internship interview that required me to read step-by-step instructions on how to use the software. Everything was going well during the interview until the program froze. I was left staring at the woman’s frozen face, wondering if my face was frozen in some awkward position since I had been in the middle of answering a question. Or, maybe her side wasn’t frozen and she could see me fumbling around while trying to figure out what to do. Do you restart the program in that situation and hope that it turns back on? Do you restart your entire laptop—which, in my case is an old, dinosaur-like machine that takes forever to turn back on— and hope that she hasn’t given up on you in that time span? The whole scenario was uncomfortable, but not uncommon since I know plenty of people who have been in the same situation.

If WebRTC had been an option at that time, we could have communicated through our browsers and saved ourselves the glitches. WebRTC enables web-based voice and video communications through an open application programming interface (API). The use of an API eliminates the need to download software or plug-ins, which means no praying that the software doesn’t malfunction. This easy to use solution allows participants to interview in a secure, browser-based, high-quality video call.

Companies have taken this new technology and run with it. On July 1, GreenJobInterview launched its new WebRTC supported recorded video interview product. The new GreenJob One-Way release supports both WebRTC and Flash to bring customers advanced HD-quality video and sound. According to the site, “The new GreenJobInterview One-Way product will support multimedia interview questions, allowing new capabilities to either personalize interviews or ask questions requiring analyzing a video as part of a response.” Likewise, VidCruiter utilizes WebRTC to offer interview options such as screen sharing, private chat, multiple interviewers at once, unlimited talk time, interview playback and more. There are several features offered to maximize the interview process, and they are all available without any extra software or training thanks to WebRTC.

As you can see, WebRTC is gaining momentum and looks to be the future of video interviews. If you are interested in learning more about WebRTC, TMC has an upcoming show on the topic. The event will take place August 1-4, 2016 at the Kimmel Center at NYU in New York City. You can register for the event HERE

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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