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How to Simplify and Maximize Your Video Interviews

Illustration 94339473 © Animak - Dreamstime

Interview practices have come a long way over the last few years. With it has come some huge benefits like video interviews! It has saved candidates hours in anxious commuting time as one standout benefit. The flip side is that video interviews that are not well set up can create even more anxiety and a poor candidate experience.

A simple way to mitigate this risk is to put some guard-rails around your video (and phone) interviewing practices. This will improve the experience and make sure you’re not missing out on great talent for your organization. Many of the higher cost platforms now include some of these practices, but it doesn’t mean you can’t build your own success practices with a lower cost option. The key is keeping the candidate experience front and center.

Most people now carry a mobile phone with a decent camera. Many will also have access to a laptop or tablet with a camera embedded, so this takes care of the hardware portion of the equation. When approaching video interviews, there are two main methods, and both require the proper set up and expectation setting for the candidate. One way to maximize what you’ll get out of both approaches is to share a checklist to help candidates prepare and know exactly what to expect. It could include the following:

  1. The type of questions you’ll ask
  2. The process they can expect as they move through the questions
  3. The follow up practices they can expect after the interview

With these expectations set, candidates will not be surprised, and this helps most people prepare to focus on the questions, not the medium of the interview. The two methods to consider as you think about video interviewing are:

The two-way live video interview. This method is more approachable and more accepted by most people. It involves the recruiter or hiring manager joining a live video session at the same time as the candidate. The interaction is in real-time making it feel very similar to an in-person interview. Some tips that help set candidates up for success for this specific type of interview include:

  • Make sure you’re in spot with good lighting and minimal background noise
  • Test your audio and video before the interview
  • Coach the candidate to think about their answers, even if it creates a pause. Let them know it will not be awkward at all!
  • Let the candidate know if you have multiple people joining the call (yes, you can do online panel-style interviews!)

We’ve all been on personal and professional video calls that waste the first few minutes with “I can’t hear you”, “What is that in the background?”, and “Are you wearing pants?” With proper expectation setting, your video interviews can be very productive, and quite smooth. Having someone to interact with live allows the non-verbal communication to take place. Real-time feedback and the opportunity to ask questions have been staples of interviews for a long time and it is a comfortable approach for most candidates, even if they are not used to being on video.

Using this type of video interview is helpful as an initial screen to get a better sense of a candidate, or through first round interviews.

The second more common type of video interviews can produce a very polarizing reaction for candidates.

Pre-recorded video interviews. This type of interview is newer and rapidly growing in popularity. There are many vendors to choose from at various price points and tiered offerings worth exploring. This type of interview is not as popular with candidates because you are not offering an engaging conversation, but rather the candidate sees a question within the portal and then their responses are recorded (and sometimes timed!). The video is then sent back to the recruiter for review and assessment. While the tips offered above to set up for two-way live interviews still apply, there are some additional tips and expectations that should be set with candidates in advance of you sharing this pre-recorded video interview style.

  • Set the stage to make it clear that there is no live interaction and that the questions will be provided during the interview and cannot be re-recorded
  • Keep the questions specific so clarification is not likely needed
  • Be clear about the timelines and don’t expect candidates to record in the same day you reach out to them, nor should they expect your follow up the day they submit their video
  • Send your own video message to kick things off so there is a real person explaining that the recording is timed, but is not a test

This type of video interview is helpful for a role that produce a lot of candidates, for example, hiring for a call center role or home-based roles. It will give you a faster way to select the candidates you want to move ahead because you don’t need to watch all the questions.

Regardless of which type of video interview you choose, remember that you have a have a responsibility to respond after the interview! A personalized email, phone call, or video message sent via weblink are all ways to accomplish this. You appreciate their effort and interest in your company and don’t want them walking away feeling that they jumped through hoops and got no response. This can impact your employer brand that is so important to your ability to attract top talent.  

Jeremy Eskenazi's picture

Thank Jeremy for the Post!

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Discussions

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 7, 2019 1:14 pm GMT

I love that we're finally reaching a time where practices like this, video interviewing and meeting (similar to remote working) are becoming more the norm. I think as more of the younger generations take up the managerial and executive positions these practices will spread even more rapidly-- the tech is more than ready, it's just about having a culture that accepts it. Not only is it saving time and money, but hey-- lots of emissions can be prevented by not having candidates fly across the country or drive into the office!

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