Advice for Employers and Recruiters

Video interviewing tools are efficient, but it might surprise you to learn that they can also deliver authenticity

Shelby Konkel AvatarShelby Konkel
January 16, 2023


Welcome back to the High Volume Hiring Podcast, the podcast that features news tips, case studies, and interviews with the world’s leading experts about the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to high-volume hiring. 

The High Volume Hiring Podcast

In this week’s episode, host Steven Rothberg, College Recruiter’s Founder and Chief Visionary Officer, talks to Jason Seiden, Chief Strategy Officer of Wedge, a video interviewing platform focused on delivering efficiency through authenticity, especially in high volume environments.

While many high-volume hiring organizations tend to focus on efficiency, it often comes at the expense of effectiveness. Wedge manages to tackle both. Wedge focuses on speeding up the time to hire by turning candidates from interested into interviewed in minutes. If you’re interested in cutting down hiring time and attracting the best candidates for your roles, this episode is essential:

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TRANSCRIPT

Steven (00:14):

Welcome to the High Volume Hiring Podcast. I’m Steven Rothberg, the founder of Job Search, site College recruiter. We believe that every student in recent grad deserves a great career. This podcast features news tips, case studies, and interviews with the world’s leading experts about the good, the bad, am the ugly when it comes to high volume hiring. Thanks for joining us. Today’s guest is Jason Sein, a good friend of mine and far more importantly, the Chief Strategy Officer of Wedge. It’s a video interviewing platform that focuses on delivering efficiency through authenticity, especially in high volume in environments. Jason, welcome to the show.

Jason (00:59):

Well, thank you so much. It’s great great seeing you and hanging out with you again.

Steven (01:03):

Awesome. So, for, for the listeners who might not know that much about you or about Wedge what else should they know?

Jason (01:12):

I think you hit it. I mean, about me, nothing like, listen <laugh>, you

Steven (01:18):

<Laugh>,

Jason (01:20):

Think

Steven (01:20):

Bashful who, what have you done in the past?

Jason (01:23):

Yeah, so, well, it’s, it’s I love wedge wedge. It’s, it’s exactly what you just said, right? So we make video interviewing software for recruiting. We get candidates from, you know, interested to interviewed in minutes, you know, in a world of like interested to scheduled in minutes. We’re like, nah, let’s come interviewed. And, you know, and people ask, they’re like, well, you know you talk about authenticity as a, as a video interview, really more authentic than a, a live interview. And, you know, my answer to that is, look, we usually, no, you know, we’ve all had horrible interview experience, but it is more authentic than a resume. It is more authentic than a phone screen. You know, some of the things that tend to come at the beginning. Yes, you can see a more complete picture. And and so I think you, you nailed it on, on that, and I know we’ll talk a little bit more about it.

(02:16):

What, what what I came to wedge, the reason I came to Wedge I’ve been in the space for, you know, well over a decade. And, you know, I’ve seen some changes over time. Once upon a time I was helping people learn to use LinkedIn. I was I was their first certified training partner in North America. And you know, and there was a, you know, there was this gap where like, all right, companies needed one thing. Like we, we want our employees right on you know, to, you know, wear our shirts and, and nothing, right? And then social media was like, no, no, no. We’re actually gonna give your your people a voice. We’re gonna let them, we’re gonna let them speak. And that was kind of the start of this real, the shift in the relationship between employees and their companies.

(03:05):

And, and, you know, then, then that moved into candidates and companies where over the last 10 years, the idea of leaving a candidate in a black box you know, and not responding to ’em. It’s, yeah, companies still do it, but the cost of doing that has just gone up because candidates are spending more time talking to each other, and, you know, and they’ll bail on an interview process that’s, you know, not good. They’ll go right back. And so when I started talking with with Matt Baxter, c e o of Wedge, and I saw what he was building, and I saw how he was approaching it, not just tech for tech’s sake, not just the efficiency play, but no, no, no. Look, this is about, this is about authenticity. This is about getting that connection earlier. I’m a human. You’re a human.

(03:49):

Can we look each other in the eye like how, you know, what’s happening here? Like, what’s going on between us? When you form that, that connection earlier, a lot of these other problems go away. You know, the, the candidates who wanna opt out, they see you, they opt out, we want them to opt out, right? The ones who move through the process are the ones who want to be there, and the company’s able to see them and get to them faster. And a faster connection means they’re spending more time with the right people. And I mean, it’s just, so I’m kind of getting into the weeds here, but the, the upshot of it is this is how the process should actually work. And then couple years ago we went through this pandemic thing where everybody kind of got acclimated to video software <laugh>. And so, you know, it’s just this confluence of factors where the technology and the need has kind of caught up. And and it’s really taken off.

Steven (04:38):

Interesting. So I think anybody who’s been involved in sales knows that, that it, it’s better to get a no fast than than slow, right? If, if you’ve got a customer who’s not gonna buy from you, you’d much rather hear that today than have them string you along and string you along. And I think candidates feel the same way, right? If you’re not gonna hire them, let me know. Now I can move on. You can move on. And, you know, bummer that I didn’t get a job with you, but better to know now than six months from now, or six days from now.

Jason (05:09):

Yeah. Well, so there, what, we can actually unpack that. So yes, I agree with you. And I, I think a lot of folks would agree with that. Because <laugh>, this isn’t just a sale, this is my job. Like, I need, I need the job, right? So if I’m not getting this one, I need to know so I can, I can move on and, and put my effort where where, where it might result in work. But there’s, there’s actually multiple steps in this process where things tend to go awry. Let’s say I don’t know, you, you get you post a job on one of the job boards. You get 200 people who who apply. How many people can you assess? How many people can you screen? Like really like how your staff, like whatever your staffing level is.

(05:56):

So maybe you get through 50, and from those 50, you send five to a hiring manager. Cuz the hiring manager can only read five res, right? You have to do your writeup or you can have a conversation. It’s really inefficient. So maybe, maybe you get five on that shortlist and maybe the hiring manager asks you to bring in two or three. So that whole process might take a week, by the way. So you’ve had 200 people apply, and a week later you’re getting back to like three of them. And by the way, they may or may not be the three best from the 200. They’re the three who, you know, the hiring manager was able to get through of the five of the 50, you were able to screen it. I mean, you, it’s a crapshoot. And by the way, you’re, you’re a week outta date.

(06:41):

So now you know, those candidates are, eh, you know, maybe if they’re really good candidates, they may have moved on already, right? The whole thing is kind of fraught with, with risk. So to be able to look at 200 candidates and within 24, 48 hours actually screen all of them you know, and not just, this is what you said you did on a resume, but like, I can actually see you talking about this, right? I mean, it, it, it’s an interview. You know, all the studies show interview plus you know capabilities test of some kind. Like that’s the, that is sort of the holy grail of hiring. There’s a reason why interviewing is still a process, part of our process all these centuries later, <laugh>, right? It’s, it’s how we <laugh>, it’s how we connect as humans. So to be able to move that interviewing up faster in the process and say, all right, after 48 hours, I’ve actually gone through all 200.

(07:34):

And by the way, hiring manager, here’s the top 20. And it’s literally, it’s the top 10% of everybody who’s applied. And that hiring manager can actually screen L 20 and say, of these 20, I wanna see these four or these 12. And you, and now you can actually, you’ve saved so much time. You’re only three days in now. So you’ve, you’ve added two days to the process and you’re already bringing people into interviews. You can interview live interview 3, 4, 10 people because you’ve now shifted your ability, you know, your, your time, energy to where it’s gonna be better focused. Now you truly are hiring the best people. So it’s not just that it’s efficient, they’re moving people through quickly and getting those fast nos to people who aren’t gonna make it. But it’s, it’s making sure that the people who you do wanna hire, you’re engaging with them quickly enough that they’re still on the market, they know they’re moving through the process. And, and, and when we talk about the best candidates, we really mean the best candidates from the whole set of people who applied, not just of the subset you were able to get to, you know, in, in some, you know, three or four day window.

Steven (08:45):

Yeah. I, I, I, I love it because for so long HR in general, talent acquisition, certainly as a part of that, we’ve all been focused so heavily on efficiency, and it’s often come at the sake of effectiveness. So yeah, move a whole bunch of candidates really quickly through the funnel, but what and ends up emerging are people who maybe are gonna start, but are gonna quit three weeks later because they’re just not a good fit. And, or you just for other reasons, you just don’t surface the best candidates. So it’s, it’s, it’s efficiency in, in instead of effectiveness. And I don’t think it needs to be a choice. Yeah,

Jason (09:26):

I think it’s, I’ve, I think it’s a false choice. Yeah. Yeah. You should be able to have

Steven (09:30):

Both. Yeah. I, I’ve always thought of, of video as much more of as of an efficiency product. And, and I think it’s because the first time where I really saw it being used was where employers were using, using things like Skype. You know, 15 years ago, HireVue came along with asynchronous video interviewing, right? So you record the same questions, you’d have the a hundred or 200 candidates record those answers. The recruiter hiring manager could listen to those. And, you know, if the candidate was clearly awesome or clearly a horrible fit, they could just stop. And there’s a lot of efficiency there. I take it from the conversations that you and I have had, and from what I’ve looked at about Wedge Online, that yeah, there are some similarities to what platforms like Wedge are doing, but there are also some real differences. So talk with us about the, about those differences.

Jason (10:33):

Sure. so your overview of, of that was, let’s just check, check, check, right? So

Steven (10:42):

Yeah, that’s why I get the big bucks <laugh>, because podcasters we’re just, we’re just like an incredibly wealthy crowd.

Jason (10:48):

<Laugh>, right?

(10:51):

So there’s a, there’s a few things that I think really make wedge stand out. One is the focus on authenticity. Yeah. So we have a true north as a company that we, we foster authentic connections, and we do it at scale. So every time we bring a new feature to the product, every time we consider a new partner, every time we look at our process for how we interact with our customers, that notion of fostering authentic connection is baked into everything we do. And you know, you and I were talking before we hopped on the call, and I, I know your listeners will appreciate this. There’s a lot of tech for tech’s sake, and there’s a lot of people out there who are just selling tech because we’re selling tech and, and it, it’s, it, it doesn’t always lead to the right outcome.

(11:35):

So I just wanna start with that. Like, we as a company really are focused on facilitating human interaction with humans. People need people, technology is just a tool to facilitate that. Related to that, we’re headquartered in Grand Rapids. We got that Midwestern that Midwestern work ethic. And I’ve worked for, you know, I’ll just say they go hand in hand. The fact that we put people first <laugh> and where we’re based and, and how the, you know, how the how the, the the meetings go when we meet as a team it matters. And it, it leads to, it leads to a different sales process. It leads to a different kind of care and it leads to a different product. Namely, like the, the one chief benefit that I will, I’ll put out there is our user interface is just, I mean, it’s like stupid simple.

(12:29):

I mean, it is like drop dead simple. It is, that’s probably the, the number one piece of feedback that I get from everybody in terms of like how our, our mission and our, our true north manifests in the tool is. It’s easy. It doesn’t get in the way. So both for the candidate and for the recruiter or the hiring manager this is something that is easy for them to use, which means they’re spending their time actually <laugh>, you know, connecting with one of people with one another. So the it, it’s, you know, you’ve got the true north, you’ve got the user interface. We’re also from a, from a technology standpoint, we’re focused on that asynchronous high volume play. So, you know, it, it lets us really kind of get to know our customers. We’ve got a lot of customers in restaurants and retail.

(13:20):

You know, there’s a lot of multi-location that goes on in that environment. You know, you can say, yeah, video interviewing and from, you know, it’s like snowflake from four feet away. Sure, you know, it all looks the same, but when you get up close there’s a lot of nuance, there’s a lot of difference. So we’re able to really focus the we’re focusing, we’re able to focus the tool to really excel where our customers need it to excel. So, you know, that, like I was mentioning before, that huge influx on the front end. You know, there’s a lot of people who are gonna apply. We know there’s gonna be a lot of noise in that, a lot of easy apply folks, a lot of, you know, so, you know, what we’re focused on are things like, all right, we do want to make it easy for the candidate.

(14:02):

Like, you’re standing in a store, here’s the QR code, you know, we’re hiring and there’s the banner with the QR code. We want that person to actually be able to click and by the time their food comes out, or by the time they reach the register, <laugh>, you know, and they’re, and they’re leaving they’ve already done the interview, so they’re doing the interview, you know, in the moment when they’re feeling good, it’s not, Hey, let’s go schedule something, you know, let’s add a coup. It’s just, let’s do what we need to do and get in and out. So super simple for the candidate. But then on the back end, write that hiring manager or that store owner, if they’ve got time, they can watch that interview immediately, or they can watch it at the end of a shift or at the end of a day. You know, if they see it immediately, you know, maybe they run out to the front of the house and actually like, you know, I just saw you, let’s talk. But even, even if it’s, at the end of the day,

Steven (14:52):

I paid for it, I paid for it. Honest <laugh>, right?

Speaker 3 (14:54):

Exactly. <laugh>,

Jason (14:56):

You know, but like, those, those kinds of use cases are the kinds of things that we really pay attention to. And and we, we’ve really worked hard to keep the product really simple, so that at all times it’s fostering that human connection and not introducing technology that would get in the way of it. Or features that, you know you know, a white a white collar, you know, programmer kind of environment might need. But that’s really not gonna help you know, in a high volume situation.

Steven (15:28):

We’ll be back right after this break. Welcome back to the high volume hiring podcast.

(15:39):

I love the picture that you’re painting of somebody walking into a, a restaurant, a retail shop. One of the things that I’ve learned about high volume environments is that location is so very important, right? You’re not going to drive for 45 minutes for a job paying $14 an hour, just not gonna happen, right? If that job is two blocks away from you, there’s a really good chance that that’s a restaurant, that’s a retail shop that you frequent maybe once every six months, maybe once a week. And when you walk in, I think that, that a lot of shops are doing a much better jobs. Employers are doing a much better job of realizing that their customers are often their best employees. And, and, and, and candidates. So if somebody’s coming into your burger joint once a week, wouldn’t it be great to have them apply and interview and hire? So the QR codes, they walk in, they see the QR code, they pull out their smartphone, which the vast majority of us half basically open their camera app and does it load in their browser? Do they have to download an app? What’s, what’s the process?

Jason (17:01):

It’s mobile friendly, but it’s, it’s all browser based, so there’s no download. Nice. So, you know, they, so, you know, they, they scan it and they’re taken to a page they get a welcome a system check a practice question, you know, or an intro if the company wants to give ’em an intro. You know, the company can control if retakes are allowed or, you know, and how much time people have. So, you know, if the candidate’s ready, they can do this right there, they’ll answer, you know, it’s usually just one, two, or three questions. You know, they can upload a resume if they need to upload a resume. But you know, you, you think about this, first of all, a lot of these folks, I mean, they don’t, they don’t have a resume or they don’t have a meaningful resume for these, for these kinds of jobs, and

Steven (17:44):

It’s usually not needed.

Jason (17:46):

Yeah, right. It’s, and you know, and you’re right, like, you know, the, the customers are, are probably the best candidates, but you know what, they’re not just at your place. If you’ve got a restaurant, there’s probably another one next door. If you’ve got a store, there’s a good chance you’re in a strip mall <laugh> with more stores, if you don’t get this person, they’re walking next door and they’re, you know, they’re going to do it there too. So, so for the candidate, yeah, it’s really simple. They do it on their phone. I’ve got a I’ve got a 20 year old who went through the process and he literally just started laughing. He’s like, I wish every job was like, it was so easy, <laugh>, you know,

Steven (18:23):

And then he asked you for if he could borrow the car, and you were kind

Jason (18:27):

Of stuck

Steven (18:27):

At that point, right? Okay, yeah.

Jason (18:30):

<Laugh>, you’ve been here, I’m following in. Well, well worn footsteps, I get it, <laugh>. But the, you know, but the other nice thing for a candidate is it doesn’t require, you can do it whenever. So if now’s not the time, they can take it home and do it. And, you know, and some of these jobs, it is a third shift job, or, you know, somebody doesn’t have time during the day. You know, they’re thinking about it in the evening, or, you know, off hours. So to be able to kick that process off whenever, like right away and not have to schedule something with a recruiter, and, you know, that could just take a couple days. I mean, that kills opportunities. So yeah, the, the candidate logs in with their, with their phone, and they’re, you know, and a couple, literally a couple minutes later, they’re done.

(19:16):

You know, and meanwhile, behind the scenes, the the hiring manager is you know, gets a p is able to log in, see all the, you know, see each job that they’re posting, see each candidate for the job watch the videos share them internally rate them, put notes in there, you know, so just the core functionality that you need to be able to get to a quick decision. And what’s what’s really nice is well, one other thing that’s really nice is sometimes a person will apply and they apply for the wrong job. You know, or it, you know, you see something, you’re like, I see some potential here. I gotta get a second opinion. I gotta have somebody else see them. And now you can do that without actually bringing the person in for a second interview.

(20:04):

You just forward the recording, right? So all of your folks are answering the same questions that have been prerecorded on the company side by the same person. So you get a very sim, you know, apples to apples comparison across everybody. And if you need to bring in you know, a, a second opinion, it’s easy to do that too. So what we’re finding on the whole is time to fill you know, time to interview is going to almost nothing. Time to fill is shrinking by half or more. And and the restaurant owners, the owners are putting four hours a week back in their pocket.

Steven (20:43):

I mean, just to be clear too, I’m, I, for the listeners, I, I’m not seeing this just as a tool for retail and restaurant, but this is also gonna work for just about any kind of high volume environment, even not a high volume, but I think it’s, it, it would really benefit there, like a warehouse, a call center, right? It doesn’t have to be an environment where people are walking into and it’s consumer facing. But I can certainly see like the, the QR code. I can see a, a warehouse in an area that’s high density and has instead of the, we are hiring, you know, www.xyz corp.com/jobs. You have that, and you also have a QR code. So somebody’s cycling or moped by your place, they stopped. They snap a picture. They’re probably not gonna do an interview from the seat of their moped, but they will when they get back to their apartment 12 minutes later. Ear earlier you mentioned about the resume, and I think, I don’t recall the exact words you used, but basically his resume’s optional. So when somebody does say snap that QR code, they go through the, the couple of minutes of video, really unlikely they’re gonna have a resume on their phone and be able to upload it. Do they get an email, a text if if the recruiter hiring manager wants the resume, how, how does that

Jason (22:07):

Work? Yeah, so the the, you know, the candidate will, will be reminded to, you know, to complete the, the process later to upload the, the the rest of their information. On the on the recruiter side, they’ll see what the candidate has submitted. So, you know, they can also reach out and say, you know, we’d love to see, we’d love to see your resume. The and, and you put your finger on it. I mean, we, construction is, you know, another area where we’ve got we’ve got high volume customers. So, you know, it’s I don’t want to, I don’t wanna make too big a deal out of how that works. It, we keep it really simple, is what I’ll say. And that’s, that’s one of those areas where a different type of job has a, a much higher need to go deep on resumes and, you know, and like all the things that, and for us, it’s like, by, by understanding who our, our customers really are and where we play really well, and focusing on, on fostering authentic connection between those candidates and the people who are trying to hire them we’re able to keep things pretty clean.

(23:15):

So yeah. So there, there is an ability to upload a resume, you know, and if the company wants it, we can make sure the candidates provide it. And it’s, it’s very straightforward to use because most, you know, most of the areas where we can do the most good you know, either it’s not necessary or there’s, there was a job board involved and it, you know, it’s already been submitted to the company. You know, it, if it’s an industry that requires that this person probably came through a front door, has submitted their resume, and now, right, is, is receiving the request to complete a wedge you know, as a quick follow you know, to that part of the process.

Steven (23:55):

Well, very cool. Well, unfortunately, we’re, we’re out of time, but you know, I’d like to say you know, to, to Jason and the rest of your team, that this is one of those tools that is really helping to, to put the human back into human resources. And I hope that over the coming years as technology advances, and also I think as we become more cognizant of the limitations of technology, that we are going to be looking, again, more to effectiveness not at the expense of efficiency, but, but hand in hand. And, and I, and I love that I, I love that Wedge is doing that, and I’m not surprised that you’re a part of that. So Jason, for people who wanna reach out to you or to Wedge to learn more how should they do that?

Jason (24:45):

Wedge hr.com is our website there. And if you wanna find me, I’m on LinkedIn and it’s in slash sein, S e I D E N. And thank you so much, Steven. This is a

Steven (24:59):

Pleasure. This is great. Thanks Jason.

(25:01):

Thanks for joining us today on the High Volume Hiring podcast. I’m your host, Stephen Rothberg of job search Site college recruiter. Each year we help more than 12 million candidates find great new jobs. Our customers are primarily Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies, and other employers who hire at scale and advertise their jobs with us. You can reach me at steven@collegerecruiter.com. The High Volume Hiring podcast is a co-production of Evergreen Podcasts and College Recruiter. Please subscribe for free on your favorite app. Review it five stars are always nice, and recommend it to a couple of people you know, who want to learn more about how best to hire at scale. Cheers.

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