Getting ahead of the sustainability curve

After receiving a Green Apple award for environmental best practice, Rob Farace shares the Academy’s experience on the benefits of using video interviewing software.


The NHS Leadership Academy offers a range of leadership development programmes for NHS colleagues across England. The Aspiring chief executive programme supports people with the talent to take up chief executive positions by providing professional and personal development. Recruitment is a three stage process and usually two months end to end. It involves up to 30 potential participants making multiple journeys from all over the UK – mainly England – from the North East to the South West – to the Academy’s offices in Leeds or London. To date, there have been two intakes, November 2015 and May 2016.

Environment and resources


We were conscious of the environmental burden the recruitment process posed, not to mention the significant time commitment for colleagues under existing time pressures. This contradicted our sustainability values, which is why we decided to explore the use of video interviewing software. Sonru was chosen as a sustainable alternative to face-to-face interviews. Rather than taking part in a ‘live’ interview, candidates were asked to pre-record a video, which accommodated geographically disparate candidates and assessors and their challenging schedules.


Recruitment process

Using video interviewing software allowed us to efficiently screen and filter unsuitable candidates during the early stages, which helped recruit participants on time and within budget, while maintaining a personal and thorough shortlisting process. As candidates were able to record their interview at their own convenience this meant the process was less labour intensive than scheduling and conducting face-to-face interviews.

The other benefit was that lots of stakeholders wanted to see the candidates, and Sonru offered a solution to the problem of physically fitting up to ten “interviewers” from throughout the UK in one room, along with the adverse candidate experience.

Flexibility for interviewers and assessors

It’s easy to see why this approach ticked the Academy’s boxes, but it was also very popular with the programme team and candidates. Giving them the flexibility to complete a video in their own time was crucial given both their location and the demands of their current roles. People at this level aren’t clustered in one geographic region; they’re based right across the country. And running an essential hospital service means they don’t work typical ‘9 – 5’ hours, which makes fitting in a face to face interview even more difficult.


The cost was nominal compared to coordinating and conducting preliminary face-to-face interviews with thirty candidates and over ten interviewers. The software subscription cost came directly from our recruitment budget.

I’d envisage that any organisation with a disparate recruitment need would benefit from this technology.

More information on all of our programmes and services, including The Aspiring chief executive programme, are available on here our website.

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