I was permanently searching for a solution which would help us to look through 5 000 possible (18 000 in the end) candidates in a short time. The best instrument at the first stage was a video interview service. I picked the VCV platform that follows the principle of Internet job interviews but does not require the employer and the candidate to be online at the same moment.
Time was strictly limited: the employee was not allowed to answer one question longer than 1 minute. We came up with 10 questions at the very beginning - so each recruiter spent around 10 minutes on each person. I am sure that such sufficient use of time would be impossible if we were interviewing everyone personally.
We divided the questions in two big groups. At first, the candidate was telling us about some common things: his biography, qualification and motivation. For example, we asked one: «Why did you choose your college and took your major in this?», «What is your GPA at school and university?», «Tell us about your main achievements». We assessed the answers to see if the employee was motivated or ambitious enough, what were his values and childhood background, whether he had strict priorities and whether we matched each other based on this.
The second group of questions consisted of logical problems. The Manager candidates had to answer something like this: «You have 9 coins but one of them is fake. How can you find it by weighing then on a scale without using any extra instruments?». That allowed us to see the level of candidates' analytical skills, to check their speed of reaction in stressful situations.
Students who applied for the position of Child Development Specialist, got a trickier puzzle with no right answer: «How many chicken fit in one bus?». We evaluated their way of thinking, an ability to solve the non-typical problems and their sense of humor. People with a logical mind would think of the size of the bus, whether there were any kids inside, what kind of chicken we were talking about; the artistic candidates would use their imagination a lot. The main thing is that we saw the real person in this video interview: their gestures and mimics. We had some funny moments when students were worried while making a video and you could hear their parents in the background trying to give them the right answer.
We focused a lot on explaining the candidate how to make a video correctly - after all, this instrument is still new for the job interview. Certainly not everyone looked comfortable with it but that was also part of the process: if a person feels shy to talk on the webcam, how is one going to work with kids?
We turned down the significant part of the candidates by using this strategy: only 5 000 out of 18 000 were picked. Those people were invited to the next stage.