University of Liverpool

The University of Liverpool is part of the Russell Group of universities – acknowledged as the UK’s leading establishments for excellence in teaching and research.  Careers and Employability (C&E) at the University of Liverpool have been using asynchronous video interviewing since Spring 2015. Over 450 interview campaigns have been conducted across almost every department in a range of formats from pitches and challenges to assessments to mock interviews (and even C&E staff recruitment). Innovation in the use of video interviewing technology is the common ground for each campaign.

This short case study highlights how C&E immerses Geography students in a two-year program that comprises both formative and summative video interviews which are assessed by both faculty staff and their peers.

“The value of the Sonru assessment is that it replaces a mock interview and also gives the learner experience in both peer reviewing and giving feedback. We want to make the experience as immersive as possible. By using my own Video Interview, we’re clearly showing that this is the software that employers are using so the authenticity of the assessment is undisputed.” – Charlotte Ford, Career Consultant in the Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Liverpool

Video Interview #1: 1st Year PitchMore 

Usage in First Year is limited to the creation of an elevator pitch primarily to familiarize students with the software. Following sessions on how to pitch, students are then invited into the video interviewing application where they are given up to 2 minutes to record an individual, personalized elevator pitch.

However, it is not until the second year that we see the real innovative use of video interviewing, via a two-stage video assessment for 2nd year Geography students.

Video Interview #2: 2nd Year Peer Reviewed, Formative 

In mid-October, Charlotte Ford, a Career Consultant in the Faculty of Science and Engineering, gives the Geography students a lecture on various aspects of the C&E service, such as applying for internships, articulating skills and an outline of our video interviewing tool.

One week later, the students receive an email inviting them to complete a formative video interview (with a 3-week deadline). The questions are typical of a real job interview and contain a mix of competency style questions, strength-based questions and general HR questions.

In a tutorial that sets the context for the peer review of video interview process, Charlotte shares the video interview she completed for her own role as a Career Consultant. “I felt it was important to share my own interview to ease concerns. The idea of your interview being reviewed by your peers can be quite daunting, so I wanted to show that I understood those concerns by asking them to peer review my interview.”

Techniques around giving positive and constructive feedback are also built into the peer review session. Students are presented with a peer review document and are advised on what to look for. The document asks them to score Non-Verbal Communication (such as eye contact, posture, demeanor), Verbal Communication (such as clearness of expression, show decision making ability, use of pause fillers such as ummm or like,) and other issues such as the description of past experiences and articulation of strengths. Each item can be given one of three scores – Excellent (2 marks), Good (1 mark) and Needs Improvement (0 marks). Charlotte’s video interview provides a talking point to discuss the scores.

In early November, the students are invited to peer review 3 video interviews from their Tutor Group, again with a three-week deadline. This assessment is optional with a completion rate of c. 50%.

Video Interview #3 2nd Year Summative Assessment

In December, students are invited to complete a compulsory Video Interview as part of their assessment which is worth 15% of the module mark.

This interview is marked by a Tutor who has been given a rubric of what is expected from weak to average to good.

The questions are typical interview questions with some questions being similar to questions asked in their video interview earlier that term. Charlotte maintains: “we are trying to make it as fair as possible and to boost their confidence.”

Only one question is marked (STAR interview response technique) but the students don’t know which one.

Feedback from Candidates

The following findings were derived from over 80 optional surveys, completed by candidates interviewed within the University of Liverpool account between August 2018 and December 2019.

  • 95% Satisfaction with the Candidate Experience
  • 98% found the software easy to use
  • 94% would complete a video interview again
  • 19% had completed a video interview in the past
  • 90% felt sufficiently informed about what was required before starting their video interview
  • 92% felt it is fairer to have more than one person assess video interviews
  • 75% completed the video interview in their native language

“It was a great experience. It’s far more relaxed being able to complete your interview in the comfort of your own home and I felt I had plenty of time to consider what I wanted to say.”

“Considering I have little interview experience; I enjoyed the practice and lack of intensity without being a face-to-face interview. The thinking time was very useful for allowing me to get a few notes down to help with the flow of my answer.”

“As someone who has never done a professional interview before, it was undoubtedly a tad nerve-wracking, but probably in a more positive way, introducing me to a new, semi-necessary skill.”

“Initially, the thought of a video interview was daunting. I was concerned that I would struggle to be myself and portray my answers effectively with no other human interaction. However, the actual experience was positive. The practice interviews were essential, and I found them really useful to build my confidence.”

“Yes, by learning how to answer in a proper way and includes the posture, manners and ability to express yourself.”

“A great learning new experience. The tutorial made the process so easy to follow.”