Video interviews are essential to hiring processes, here’s why

Author: Jérémy Bourhis

30th April 2020

Video interviews are key to most modern hiring processes, they are taking over from phone interviews in many cases. They allow recruiters to filter candidates better and establish more personal relationships while saving time and stress for everyone involved. According to EasyRecrue – a Cronofy customer – “Talent acquisition teams save up to 60% of screening time with on-demand video interview features.”

The present situation, with social distancing rules and remote working becoming the norm around the world, has only made video interviews more important.

But “video interview” is an umbrella term that includes many different scenarios. From pre-recorded video interviews – also known as one-way interviews – to live final interviews. We’ll take a look at these different examples as well as give tips to recruiters and candidates on how best to approach them.

Video interviews aren’t a new thing, companies have been using them for years but usually early on during the hiring process. Initial 30-minute video interviews that happen after CV screening and skill assessments are something we use at Cronofy instead of phone interviews. Video conferencing technology also allows recruiters to pick-up on non-verbal cues and behaviours in a way that a voice only conversation can’t. It also forces the candidates to present themselves in a professional way that’ll closely match what can be expected of them in an office environment.

What has really changed in the past few weeks is that the hiring process is now happening entirely remotely. Some companies like GitLab, that operate a fully remote model, can be examples to follow to ensure the hiring standards stay consistent while delivering a great candidate experience, even when in-person interviews can’t take place.

Pre-recorded video interviews

In a pre-recorded video interviews the candidate is asked to connect to a hiring platform where they will be able to record the answers to a few pre-defined questions. Every candidate applying to a given role will be answering the same questions which will allows for standardisation. The recruiters can easily compare answers to decide which candidates to move to the next stage of the hiring process. This also guarantees a transparent interview process and ensures equal opportunity is given to every candidate.

Recruiters can implement pre-recorded video interviews to offer more flexibility to candidates and employers. Because candidates can record their answers in their own time, there is no need to juggle multiple schedules. Managing the complex coordination involved in organizing interviews with recruiters, candidates and hiring managers can be time consuming and challenging. Pre-recorded interviews become even more useful if the candidate and recruiter are in different time zones.

They will also test a candidate’s tech savviness and ability to work autonomously as these interviews are something they will have to prepare and conduct on their own.

Pre-recorded interviews are often used in the early stages of the interview process to filter through large numbers of candidates while looking beyond the information on a CV. The recordings are then reviewed by recruiters and/or AI tools to analyze the candidates’ behavior, reasoning and communication style.

This type of interview offers convenience for all parties. There is less stress for the candidates as they don’t have to travel to an office and the recruiters can review the recordings from each applicant whenever suits them.

Tips for candidates:

  • Don’t compromise on presentation just because it’s not a live interview.
  • Make eye contact, imagine that the webcam is the interviewer’s eyes.
  • Prepare. Just because the questions are already pre-defined doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t prepare answers to common interview questions, they will be asked!
  • Use the fact that it’s a recorded interview as an opportunity to select the time and environment that’ll help you feel comfortable.

Tips for recruiters:

  • Work on your scorecards! Pre-recorded video interviews are a great opportunity to use an objective and scientific process to grade candidates’ performances.
  • Ask for a second opinion. It’s good practice for recruiters to ask their colleagues for a second opinion on how they think a candidate performed in order to remove individual bias.

Live video interviews

These interviews are essentially just an in-person interview organized through a video conferencing tool. They can be used to continue the screening process before deciding to invite a candidate to a face-to-face interview, or they can replace face-to-face interviews altogether. That’s what’s happening around the world today as many recruiters and hiring managers are working from home and can’t meet with candidates in person.

As mentioned previously, video interviews are convenient as they don’t require the candidate or recruiter to travel. Live interviews can also be recorded by the interview panel and shared with colleagues to get more opinions on a candidate. When teams are split across different geographic locations, recordings can be used to ensure that every member of the hiring team has had the opportunity to see the candidate in the interview setting.

Compared to a telephone interview there are more opportunities to evaluate things like interpersonal skills and mannerisms when both parties see each other’s face. Stress is also often reduced for the candidate as they are still in a familiar environment and will feel more in control.

A challenge that can arise with the need to conduct every interview remotely comes down to organizing the tasks that candidates are often asked to complete and present back to the panel. Communication before the interview becomes even more important to ensure that the candidate is prepared and has all the tools and materials they’ll need to be successful. Simple things like a virtual white board or the ability for the candidate to share their screens cannot be overlooked.

Like for every live interview, it’s key to find a time when the candidate, hiring managers and recruiters are available. Scheduling tools that let the candidate pick a time slot that works for them are recommended to prevent delays, limit email back-and-forth and deliver a great candidate experience that will benefit the employer’s brand. The recruiter will also want to book a meeting room for privacy.

Tips for candidates:

  • It’s your time to shine, look and behave professionally.
  • Be aware of nonverbal communication signals. Don’t have a posture or gestures that you wouldn’t have during an in-person interview.
  • Testing is really important. Check that you can connect to the video conferencing tool, test your internet connection beforehand too!
  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions before and during the interview especially if you aren’t sure about a technical aspect of the video interviewing process.

Tips for recruiters:

  • Invest in a scheduling tool that allow you to automate interview scheduling while letting candidates pick time slots based on your real-time availability.
  • Use AI tools to analyze communication skills in order to remove bias and to provide every candidate with the same opportunity to succeed.
  • Make sure that the calendar invites you send to candidates include video conferencing links and clear instructions on how to use the tool.

While the current health crisis has made video interviews more essential to delivering first-class hiring process they aren’t a trend that will disappear when the situation goes back to normal. It’s easy to imagine a world where a majority of interviews will be held over video conferencing tools. It’s important that businesses invest in the technology and process to operate that transition seamlessly and that candidates acquire the habits they will need to be successful video interviewees.

Cronofy’s scheduling technology is already embedded into the products of many providers of video interviewing software. Conferencing Services, the new core feature of our API let users add phone and video conferencing links to calendar events in order to enable fully automated interview scheduling processes. This is key to enable recruiters to reduce the delays and keep candidates engaged while decreasing the time and cost to hire.

Avatar of Jérémy Bourhis

Jérémy Bourhis

Date: 30th April 2020 | Category: HR Tech