Case Studies · 5 minute read

The University of Surrey saves 350+ hours with more efficient credibility interviews

After expending significant resources conducting credibility interviews on Zoom, the University of Surrey found a scalable method that’s giving them more thorough results and saving 350+ hours of work.


Conducting thorough credibility interviews with limited time and resources.

Key outcomes

Saved more than 350 hours of work with a reliable assessment of an applicant’s intention to study.

Favourite features

  • Asynchronous assessment builder
  • Automated reminder emails
  • Applicant progress monitoring

As one of the top schools in the United Kingdom (UK), the admissions season is always a very busy time for the central admissions team at the University of Surrey. Boasting a top 5 ranking for student satisfaction and a beautiful campus just outside of London, Surrey attracts applicants from all around the world.

“We receive around 60,000 applications per year across both postgraduate and undergraduate courses,” shared Rory Ellison, the Admissions Transformation Manager at the University of Surrey. “Around 36,000 of those applicants typically are international students, most of whom need a visa to come to the UK.”

“Universities are granted licenses from the UK government allowing them to sponsor students for a visa, and the onus is on the school to stop people from abusing that system,” Ellison explained. “In the past few years, there's been a significant increase in fraudulent applications across the UK where non-genuine students attempt to use the universities to attain a visa.”

Each university designs their own process for determining whether or not an applicant is a genuine student. Known as credibility interviews or intention to study interviews, online video calls are a common choice, however, managing an interview schedule and juggling multiple time zones can make the practice extremely taxing on the admissions team.

“At the University of Surrey, we use an Asynchronous Assessment in Kira Talent to conduct credibility interviews before we sponsor them for their student visa,” shared Ellison. 

Rising to the challenge of cross-continental interviews

“For around 18 months before we shifted our credibility interviews to Kira, we were conducting them on Zoom,” Ellison explained. “Scheduling and rescheduling interviews, coordinating with applicants, conducting the interview and then making an assessment and a final decision on their candidacy, the process with Zoom created a significant amount of additional work that our team had to absorb.”

“One of the key factors that we struggled with was time zones,” he added. “These applicants are coming from all over the world, and it was becoming quite a challenge to schedule a time that worked for the applicant as well as for our staff.” 

“Ultimately we had to ask for assistance from other teams to get the decisions in on time,” continued Ellison. “We weren't going to get any more staff resourcing in that area so we knew we needed to find a way to streamline the process and make it both scalable and sustainable for the long-term.”

Building a sustainable interview solution with significant time-savings

“With Kira, we’re saving around 375 hours of work each cycle.”

“The various components of our Zoom process, from coordinating with applicants to actually conducting and scoring the interview, added around 600 hours of work per cycle for our admissions team,” explained Ellison. “Breaking that down, we spent around 45 minutes per applicant conducting credibility interviews. With Kira, that’s been reduced to 15 minutes per applicant.” 

“These time-savings come from Kira’s streamlined interview process and ability to automate the most time-consuming tasks,” he continued. “We simply send the invites out from Kira, and the platform takes care of the rest, automatically setting deadlines according to our rolling admissions schedule, sending reminder emails, and tracking applicants’ progress. When a candidate completes their assessment, it’s automatically assigned to one of our reviewers and they’re able to watch and score the videos on their own schedule.” 

Learn how Imperial College of Business is able to turn around enrollment decisions in 3-days with Kira

Once their interview process was set up in Kira, inviting additional candidates to complete a credibility interview added minimal work for the Surrey admissions team — enabling them to easily scale the process as needed.

“This flexibility has translated into significant benefits for our applicants as well,” shared Ellison. “Whereas before we were frequently dealing with no-shows and requests to reschedule, since transitioning to Kira, we've had very few applicants fail to complete their credibility interview before their deadline.” 

“Kira has transformed our credibility interviews, helping us turn around decisions faster than ever before.”

Powering a more thorough reviewing process

“Our whole team is thrilled with the new process,” shared Ellison. “In addition to the time it’s put back in their days, they're seeing the added benefit of not having to make a snap decision during the interview.”

“Whereas real-time interviews force reviewers to make the decision there and then, with Kira, the applicant's responses are all recorded,” he explained. “Reviewers can go back and rewatch a video or get a second opinion if they have any questions or concerns.” 

“This is especially important when you're assessing an applicant’s intention to study because it can be subjective,” he stressed. “You don't want to make a snap decision.”

“Kira’s Asynchronous Assessment allows us to take advantage of these time-savings while actually bolstering the thoroughness of our credibility interviews.”

An intuitive platform backed by industry-leading support

“From day one, Kira has made the whole experience so seamless and accessible for our team,” Ellison shared. “The platform itself is intuitive, so it took very little time for the team to get comfortable working within the various dashboards and features.”

“We use Kira’s Asynchronous Assessment Builder to manage most of the setup ourselves,” he explained. “The various options and customization are all clearly laid out, so all it took was going through and ticking which options we wanted to use, dragging videos into the box to upload, and we had an assessment designed to our exact specifications.” 

“Whenever we did have a question, the Kira team was there to help,” he continued. “They scheduled regular check-in calls to make sure we were on track and feeling confident, they’re super responsive whenever I reach out, and, most importantly, they’re there to assist our applicants if they have any questions or technical challenges.” 

“Bringing Kira into our admissions process has saved us significant time and stress,” added Ellison. 

“From the intuitive platform to the support we receive from the Kira team, our new process allows our staff to concentrate on higher value tasks that benefit the university and our applicants.”

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