Using Swyg - The experience from a candidate's perspective

Swyg helps companies hire, but how do candidates feel about the process?

We get this question all the time!

For all companies, the recruitment process is not easy. In more ways than one.

Employers are often inundated with multiple applications for the same job vacancy. Reviewing these applications fairly ends up being time consuming, and unconscious bias still creeps in.

No time to sift through all the quality candidates, misjudging applicants based on ‘just a CV’ and receiving plenty of irrelevant applications are several problems that HR departments face daily.

Companies just don’t have the resources to keep up. Regardless of the size of your business, failing to take control of the early stage of your recruitment process can be costly.

That’s why we came up with a solution that uses AI to combat subconscious biases in the selection process.

We have had plenty of conversations with businesses that highlight the benefits of our platform to them and how Swyg could improve and compliment their current recruitment processes to help make hiring more easy / less challenging.

But what about candidates? How do they feel?

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These are questions that we often hear from companies that want to use Swyg. This blog post is written first-hand by a candidate who used our platform in an attempt to secure a new role within their chosen career path.

“Finding a job has never been harder”

The COVID-19 pandemic has had severe consequences on many people's lives. The global unemployment figures have risen significantly with each passing month. I was one of them.

My situation was slightly different. Unlike millions of others, I put myself in the position of trying to find work during a worldwide crisis. I was also able to secure some freelance contracts that allowed me to be more thoughtful and vigilant when contemplating my next full-time role.

Many of my friends did not have that luxury. They were made redundant without warning, putting them in a position where they needed work as a matter of urgency. Sharing our stories about looking for work became a forefront of the many Zoom calls that we have all become accustomed to.

The story seems similar in every country on each continent. There are less vacancies available and a much larger pool of quality candidates ready to compete for the same role. With many companies choosing to remain stigmatic in their approach to recruitment, the candidate has to think outside of the box when trying to secure their next employment. Many times it doesn’t work.

I’m quite proud of my CV. I believe it highlights some of the key achievements in my career while providing a hiring manager with a real understanding of how I could fit within the company to enhance their growth. Since March 2020, I have applied for hundreds of jobs that matched my CV, experience, and interests. The results were mixed but unlike many of my peers, I was fortunate enough to be invited to several interviews.

Thinking back now to some applications of which I didn’t even receive a response, my CV matched those roles perfectly. When looking at the responsibilities, duties and attributes needed for ‘success’, a CV matching system would have put me top of the list for candidates - yet I didn’t even get rejection emails.

If I was to contemplate and analyse back, this could have been for a number of reasons:

  • The recruiter may have felt that I deliberately matched my CV to their requirements
  • The influx of candidates applying meant my application was missed
  • My CV didn’t stand out to someone who has to view hundreds each day
  • My CV doesn’t portray what I think it does and I would need to explain on the phone to be able to expand on some key points
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For all the positions that I applied for, nothing was different. Each role, whether invited or not to an interview had the same process in place:

  1. Interview
  2. Task
  3. Culture Fit Interview

Of course, there were variations in how it was completed depending on the company but in essence, the process was the same. From Spring 2020 until the Holiday period of the same year, I must have undertaken this process dozens of times. Some resulted in offers that I declined due to suitability, while others resulted in rejection with limited feedback.

“We have decided to progress with another candidate”

I was always keen to learn and improve. I don’t see rejection as a failure but merely an opportunity to improve myself professionally and personally. In every circumstance, I requested individual feedback from the hiring manager. Not once did I receive feedback that I could learn from. In the rare occasion that I did, it wasn’t information that I could use to excel in the future. Industry experience was a repetitive and limited reply to my request for a reason as to why I wasn’t chosen - a worrying thought at the time as the two industries that I have been heavily involved in have been decimated by the Coronavirus pandemic (Sports and Finance).

2021 brought me new hope. I had an offer on the table that I was content with (but not ecstatic) and I had additional time to play around with due to personal circumstances. There was also a new vacancy available that I was really interested in and it stood out from the moment I saw it on my laptop screen. The job description held all the qualities that I had been searching for and to apply, I only had to provide one answer - a link to either an online CV or LinkedIn profile.

“How peculiar” I thought to myself. How can they decide to progress me with only knowing such limited information about my career and who I am?

Only a week passed before I got the email that I had hoped for -

“I had a look at your application and based on your recent experience you could be a great fit.”

Intrigue grew as I was invited to use Swyg, a peer-to-peer interviewing platform, as part of the first round. Everything made sense now - the reason that I didn’t need to apply with a lot of information is because Swyg replaces the CV with peer to peer interviewing. This email explained to me further why Swyg is being used and what I could expect. I was invited to choose my interview slot and promised feedback after the process - regardless of the outcome.

I chose my time slot and received my confirmation explaining what to expect and what was needed. I also felt reassured that I did not need to prepare anything before as everything will be explained during the interview session. It was an opportunity to learn about me and to use my personality and my experience in an interview with my peers as a replacement for my CV.

The interview day arrived and naturally I was nervous. It was something that I hadn’t previously experienced and something completely different to the old and tired hiring methods that I had participated in before. I like to think of scenarios with a real sense of realism.

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As the day arrived, I logged onto my computer - ready to take part in my first ever Swyg interview session. The onboarding instructions were really simple to understand. I was fully aware that there were 8 sessions - 4 of which I would be the interviewer and 4 of which I would be the interviewee. As the clock hit 5pm, instructions came onto my screen and I was given plenty of time to relax and feel comfortable. After a few minutes, it was explained to me that for the first question, I would be the interviewer and clear instructions onto what qualities I should look out for with the other potential candidates' answers.

The Swyg video interview / peer to peer video interview process started, I could see myself and then I could see the other candidate that I was about to ask the first question to. It dawned on me that I was definitely correct about the other candidates being in the same situation as myself, because of the awkward smile at the beginning. The beauty of Swyg though (and this process) is that the smirk we shared, created a special moment that allowed the both of us to feel at ease with each other and the process ran smoothly.

With each question that I asked and each question that I answered, my confidence grew and grew. After each video with a peer partner (lasting no more than 5 minutes), I was given the opportunity to rate certain qualities of my partner that I was paired with. Like me, it was easy to assess that each new pairing was more confident the longer the process continued. The rating system was easy to use and allowed me to judge my partners as interviewer and interviewee incredibly fairly.

Overall, the session lasted an hour. After each question, there was a short break to regroup my thoughts and get ready for the next question. I didn’t find myself dwelling on where I could have improved during that interlude, but rather counting down the seconds because of the excitement for seeing and working with the next peer partner that I would be meeting. I loved the variation - there was no order in which I was participating as an interviewer or an interviewee but rather randomised knowing that the opportunity was there to be questioned or questioning four times each.

Something else occurred that I didn't expect. When explaining the process to my friends and acquaintances, they all asked about how I reacted due to my reputation for being extremely competitive. The reverse of what they expected actually happened. When I was the interviewer, I found myself trying to help my partner with their answers. Maybe it was because they are in the same position as myself or maybe because of the way the system is set up.

My feelings now are the latter. The other participants were not my opponents. When I think back to that day - I remember something very interesting about each partner. We all introduced ourselves in a friendly way and all parted with the same words - "Good Luck!". There is something very unique and inspiring to be a part of a recruitment process via video that felt so welcoming and encouraging.

Once the session had ended, I relaxed and reflected. One thing that I deliberately didn’t mention earlier is the role that I had applied for was for the Marketing Lead role at Swyg. That being said, I still didn’t know what to expect on the interview day, but I did know that I was going to have to use the product myself if I was ever going to be able to market it well in the future.

As I mentioned earlier, I had received offers but I needed to pick a company that was right for me. Before my career changed from Sales into Marketing, I had spent time selling job adverts and found myself really passionate about positive change/innovation within recruitment in general. The reflection time after my Swyg interview session was about the product and whether I believed this could replace or work in conjunction with processes that companies currently use.

After experiencing Swyg myself, I knew it would work. I have worked previously with products that I didn’t necessarily believe in and now I am part of a process for a company whose product outshines others and excites me.

The AI scoring system that really drives home Swyg’s mission to reduce bias would process the ratings my interview partners gave me to give overall scores compared to other candidates based on the following 4 key assessment areas :

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Those personal scores were then individually shared with me (each candidate got their own set of scores) after completing the Swyg interview. Along with my scores, I was able to understand what the median score was for each component allowing me to improve and focus on specifics for my personal development. Areas that I can continue to work on every day since.

If I had been rejected for this role or my peers had rated me lower, I believe this feedback would have encouraged me to push forward when applying for future roles. Something that has never previously been offered to me as a candidate searching for work.

From a candidate's perspective, I can’t imagine a scenario where implementing Swyg as part of an application process wouldn’t be anything other than beneficial. This is exactly why I wanted to tell my side of the story once I joined the company.

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