Video Interviews Are Misunderstood-Let's Set the Record Straight

By Lucy Hill

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As someone who is new to the HR industry, I’ve been spending the past month familiarising myself with commonly-used recruitment processes and technologies. A particular process that sparked my interest was video interviewing as a means to screen candidates and determine their suitability for an available role. 


Video-interviews are pre-recorded interviews submitted by candidates, alongside their job applications. Candidates are provided with a set of questions, and are required to film their response within a specific time period. Video interviews are not to be confused with live-online videos, which are conducted in real-time between a candidate and HR / hiring manager, via video-communication platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams.


While learning about all the benefits, efficiencies and capabilities of video-interviews, I thought to myself - Why don’t all recruiters use them?


After a quick Google search - I found my answer. 


What’s the consensus?

I came across copious amounts of news articles and Reddit threads condemning one-way video interviews as ‘impersonal’, ‘dehumanising’, ‘awkward’ and even ‘disgusting’ that employers aren’t giving candidates the ‘courtesy’ to meet with them in-person or on a live-call. 


This caused me to question; If a candidate is feeling this way after a video interview, doesn't that say more about the company implementing the process, rather than the process itself? 


Let’s debunk common misbeliefs regarding video interview technology, and discuss why they are so valuable in the recruiting process - if used correctly!


Misbelief #1: They don’t allow candidates to express themselves 


Of course, if candidates are asked run-of-the-mill interview questions (think ‘what are your strengths and weaknesses’ and ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years’), they won’t be able to authentically express who they are, and what makes them unique to every other candidate. 


HR managers need to ask themselves - Does this question warrant a video response? Or is there a question that would better showcase the candidate’s potential?


Video interview questions should require candidates to think outside the box and show (not just tell) the hiring manager why they’d be a great fit. The process should be interactive and engaging! Hiring a salesperson? Ask them to sell you a random object in their house. Hiring a bartender? Ask them to make their signature cocktail. Hiring a marketing specialist? Ask them to pitch a creative campaign idea. The questions asked during video interviews makes all the difference when getting the most out of the candidate. 

Misbelief #2: They’re more of a gimmick than a necessity


In my research, I saw articles that referred to video interviews as a gimmicky ‘recruitment trend’, rather than a legitimate method to assist managers with making recruitment decisions.


Video-interviews are an extremely useful tool to assist with candidate screening. They are designed as an insurance method to rule-out candidates who may seem great on paper, but aren’t the right cultural fit for the company or role.


So, why not just stick to the ultra-familiar phone call screenings? As HR professionals, we need to leverage the available technology to our advantage! Video interviews have the capability to use artificial intelligence to analyse additional factors such as body language and eye-contact, to determine who could be a good fit, in only a couple of minutes.


Once the interview is completed, hiring managers can view the responses, as well as an AI-generated report outlining candidate insights such as personality type, emotional intelligence and soft skills. With the help of technology, hours of manual work can be eliminated, the time-to-hire slashed, recruitment-costs reduced, and the overall efficiency of the candidate-screening process maximised. 

Misbelief #3: They result in a negative candidate experience


There’s no denying that many implementations of video-interviews have resulted in a poor candidate experience. Common candidate pain-points of poorly-implemented video interviews are that the process feels:

  1. Uncomfortable, and 
  2. Impersonal 


These negative associations can be dispelled with just a few minor adjustments.


Modern recruiting software allows managers to adjust the video interview guidelines. For instance, users can allow applicants to refilm their video interviews more than once if they aren't happy with the outcome. Additionally, the time allocated to the answer to each question can be adjusted, reducing pressure on the candidate. It’s important to understand that video-interviews are not the same as live interviews; candidates aren’t able to converse with the interviewee to ask questions or clarify their answers. Giving candidates a little extra time, or the option to have a do-over, can instantly relieve stress and discomfort - resulting in a better candidate experience!


Incorporating a human-voice can also add to the personalisation of video interviews. Let’s be honest; video interviews, in-essence, aren’t as personal as live interviews. Including a quick ‘introduction’ video from the recruitment team, or even having a company representative read the interview instructions can add a personal touch, boosting the candidate experience.





About the Author:


My name is Lucy Hill and I am the Content Specialist at MyRecruitment+; a cloud-based, end-to-end Recruitment & Onboarding Software company for HR. I write content that assists HR professionals and recruiters by offering advice and covering the latest recruitment trends. You’ll find my recent blogs here


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