Steamboat Springs Routt County is using a video dating service to find its new county manager.
OK, it's not really a video dating service, but the county is using a national video interview company to narrow down its candidates.
Routt County hasn't had a county manager since the mid-1980s.
"We have 11 video interviews that we viewed last week," County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.
Routt County used the interview video service in hopes of narrowing down its county manager candidates from 11 to just a few.
The company, Candidate Quality Management, based out of Maryland, has representatives all over the country who interview candidates using questions written by the employer, in this case the Routt County commissioners.
The videos were then sent back to the county commissioners to view.
The city of Steamboat Springs has been using the service for six years, but it was the county's first foray into video interviews.
"It was a great idea," Stahoviak said.
"It gives you an idea of their personality and it was much better than a phone interview," she said.
Commissioner Ben Beall agreed.
"It's a much better way to make sure you get finalists you want instead of just reading resumes or inviting too many candidates (to Steamboat)," Beall said.
In fact, the county's personnel director said the videos cost only $190 per candidate, as opposed to the county flying in candidates and paying for airfare, lodging and meals.
"It kind of gave us a way to look at them without going through the expense of bringing people here," said Personnel Director Chris Hensen.
Candidate Quality Management is the only company of its kind that specializes in video interviews for the local government and academic sectors.
CEO James Dick said local governments are starting to use the service more after realizing they don't have to meet and shake hands with all the candidates.
"It's truly a prescreening measure that saves an awful lot of time and money," Dick said.
"Our service is designed to take a large group of candidates who are geographically dispersed and narrow it down to the ideal two or three candidates."
Steamboat Springs' human resources manager said the video service has been great and helped net the city's current city manager, who came from Vermont, and the city's finance director, who came from Breckenridge.
"Keep in mind we use the video to narrow it down to finalists it's by far less expensive than bringing in 10 to 12 people to town," said John Thrasher, the city's human resources manager.
As for how a video interview affects people who may be camera shy, Thrasher said it's all part of the process.
"If they're nervous in front of a camera, that means they're nervous in front of crowds," Thrasher said.
One of the first acts of incoming Commissioner Doug Monger will be to help pick a county manager.
Monger said the questions are not given to the candidates in advance.
"So it gives us a chance to see their thought process and how they got about answering," Monger said.
"We can see who beats around the bush and who can answer the questions directly," added Stahoviak.
The commissioners and an interview committee made up of citizens and government officials, hope to narrow the list down even more before they fly in the finalists for county manager.
They want to have someone on board by the end of February.
As for the caliber of candidates, Stahoviak would only say there are candidates from Colorado and several from warm-climate states.
"That's kind of interesting," Stahoviak said, smiling about the warm-climate candidates.
"Our first question to them would be, 'How do you like shoveling snow?'"
Monger quickly added his own question.
"How do you like 40 below?" he asked.