Videoconferencing

A cost-efficient alternative to traditional interviews

High-quality videoconferencing facilities are available at the University. This is a useful tool in the selection process and offers a cost and time-efficient alternative to bringing interview candidates from overseas or other locations within the UK, as well as helping to reduce our environmental impact through reduced travel.
The following limits apply to each claim:

  • £250 for each candidate travelling to the UK from within the EU
  • £400 for each candidate travelling to the UK from outside the EU

Videoconferencing can offer an excellent opportunity to interview candidates at a much reduced cost to the University. It also offers time strapped candidates the opportunity to become involved the interview process on a preferred date of interviewing without the added commitment of additional travel.

Panel members – good practice requirements

For all selection activity, it is important to ensure consistency amongst all applicants and to create a level of playing field for fair comparison of interviewee's abilities. Where more than one candidate is being interviewed for a post, the same panel members should participate in all interviews, and use the same question framework to structure the interview process, whether it is in person or via video-conferencing.

Location of videoconferencing facilities

Videoconferencing facilities can be organised for any major city in Europe, America, and Australia, and for most major cities in Asia.
Please click the right hand side link to an external service provider for more information.
Facilities operated by CiCS
There are two rooms at the University that are suitable for interview panels – the Norfolk Room (holds up to six) and the Chancellors Room (holds up to 30). To organise a video-conference, please contact the Audio Visual Service:

  • Simon Spencer (tel: 27060 or email: s.spencer@sheffield.ac.uk)
  • Tracy Beety (tel: 29292 or email: t.j.beety@sheffield.ac.uk)
  • Ian Knowles (tel: 29294, or email: i.knowles@sheffield.ac.uk).

Further facilities
Two further videoconferencing facilities are available at ICOSS and Enterprise Zone. If you are interested in using these facilities, please contact the centres directly.

  • ICOSS, Angie Maskrey (tel: 28340 or email: a.maskrey@sheffield.ac.uk), free for Social Sciences users and additional charge applies to other users
  • Enterprise Zone, Alison Wright (tel: 24046 or email: a.l.wright@sheffield.ac.uk)

Features and locations of videoconferencing facilities

  • Audiovisual staff will be there to assist at the start and end of interview and can be called for assistance if necessary during the interview.
  • Both rooms are sound proofed, thereby minimising external disruptions and maximising confidentiality.
  • Speech is in real-time.
  • 40 inch screen.
  • Microphone in the middle of the table should comfortably replay all speech from the interview panel.

Charges

  • The hire of the room is approximately £40 between 8am and 5pm*. An overtime charge will apply for using the facilities outside these hours.
  • Charges for the call will vary according to which method is available to call the interviewee´s location. If it is an IP call, there will be no call costs, however if the other location has to be called via ISDN the cost will be approximately six times the cost of making a phone call to that location.*
  • Costs may be paid from the central interview expenses budget if agreed with the Department of Human Resources in advance. You should contact your customary HR Adviser in the first instance. If the cost of the videoconference is agreed, you will be provided with an account code to include in your purchase order. The recruiting department will be responsible for co-ordinating the payment of costs incurred at the interviewee's location.

* correct as at January 2009.

Facilities at the interviewee´s location

  • The interviewee should arrange videoconferencing facilities from their location – these are available in the majority of cities internationally.
  • Identify with the interviewee to identify a preferred location, then liaise with Audio Visual Services, who will contact the venue and test the link.
  • It is advisable to make contact with Audio Visual Services as early as possible to ensure your interview planning and delivery go smoothly.

Considerations

  • What is the time difference between the UK, and the country the interviewee is located in? Schedule the videoconference for an appropriate time, and give Audio Visual Service adequate notice (at least one week).
  • Will the appointee want to visit the University before accepting an offer of appointment? This is particularly likely to be the case for open-ended appointments. If so, you may wish to treat the videoconference as a `first stage´/longlist interview, then invite the strongest candidate to the University for a second interview – speak to your customary HR Adviser in advance to agree the format of your interview process and to establish whether any of the costs for either interview will be covered by the Department of Human Resources.
  • Will the candidates be eligible to work in UK? It is important to check and copy certain original documents before prospective employees or workers start working for the university. For further information about eligibility to work in the UK, see right hand link.
  • Ask all candidates invited to use this format if they require any additional assistance/adjustment to enable them to participate. Treat any requests as a priority action and discuss with your customary HR Contact.