Written by guest author Josh Tolan.
Video interviews have become a common part of the modern hiring process. A 2015 Software Advice survey found that 54 percent of job seekers had participated in at least one video interview in their career. And it’s expected that even more candidates will go through video interviews as companies continue to realize all the benefits that come along with the technology.
However, there is one mistake employers and hiring managers make when it comes to using video interviews: they assume they are the same as traditional interviews. They think the same techniques and questions will transfer over to video.
The truth of the matter is that video interview questions are inherently different – and in many ways better – than conventional questions. The trick to properly using video technology is understanding these differences so you can take advantage of all the extra insight you can glean from recorded interview responses.
Let’s start with how video interview questions are different:
Clarity is incredibly important
In an early round phone interview, candidates can ask for clarification if they are unsure about what a particular question is asking. This isn’t always possible in a one-way video interview. If a question is vague or ambiguous, the candidate has to make their best guess about what the interviewer is looking for.
When crafting video interview questions, pay close attention to how they can be interpreted. Is it possible for candidates to misunderstand what you wanted to know? If so, make the inquiry more concise.
Also, be more forgiving with talent. If someone gives an answer that doesn’t really make sense, consider whether or not there could have been some confusion. Look at the response from a different perspective. You might discover that their answer was quite impressive, they just interpreted the question in a different way.
They are reviewable
There’s no rewind button on life. Unless you’re in the habit of recording all of your phone interviews, there’s no way to listen to a candidate’s responses again if you forget the details they shared. Or if certain team members were unable to join the call, they can’t review it later and give their input on the candidate.
The hiring process can take a long time; with recorded questions and answers, you can remind yourself of what candidates said later on in the process. That makes it easy for you to keep their responses clear and fresh in your mind.
For those of you who think different doesn’t necessarily mean better, consider these advantages to video interview questions:
They allow candidates to think things through
The aforementioned Software Advice survey compared candidates’ opinions of video and phone interviews after they’d been through a video interview. Forty-seven percent of candidates would rather participate in a video interview in the future. Only 36 percent wanted to go back to phone interviewing.
One of the most common reasons respondents of the survey said they preferred answering questions via video was the fact that pre-recorded interviews allow them to take a second and compose their thoughts. That made them more confident and less nervous. And it gives you a better idea of who they really are.
Take for example, the popular scenario questions. These are about hypothetical situations that require out-of-the-box, critical thinking like, “How would you describe the color yellow to a blind person?”
All too often, these questions catch candidates off guard in an in-person interview. Scared of the weighty silence that occurs while they gather their thoughts, they begin to ramble making their response incoherent.
Granted, interviews are supposed to assess how job seekers react under pressure, but this situation isn’t like your typical work environment. In real life, employees have a chance to think about their answer or action. By letting candidates take a moment before hitting record, you receive responses that are more valuable and closer to what they’d actually deliver if hired.
See what they’ve learned about the organization
Researching a potential company has become a major part of the job search. In fact, a 2016 LinkedIn survey found that after hearing about an opportunity, 59 percent of job seekers go straight to the company website to find out what the organization is like. What they discover helps them begin to form a picture in their head about what it’d be like to work there.
Video interview questions give you the unique opportunity to see how well they’ve really understood things like your company culture. For instance, during the video interview stage, most candidates have not been to or seen your office. So by asking them to describe what they think the office might look like, you get an idea of what they expect from your company and if it’s actually a good fit.
When it comes to hiring the best candidates out there, video is the way of the future. But to successfully use the technology, you have to understand what makes video interview questions different and unique. Because one thing is for sure, they’re not your traditional types of questions.