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The top video interview tips recruiters need to know

For years the recruitment process consisted of phone calls, emails and most definitely face to face interviews. As technology has advanced, the constant streaming of video content has become the norm in society. From YouTube to Snapchat, with Facetime, Instagram, Facebook and of course Skype and Zoom, video is everywhere.

In regards to the hiring process, video interviews that don’t occur at the same time, or more commonly known as the one-way video interview, has changed the face and future of recruitment. Not only are one-way video interviews an efficient recruitment tool, but they provide the gateway for recruiters to establish whether a candidate is a right fit for the company or client. With lengthy hiring procedures consisting of back and forth face-to-face interviews, and the time to hire averaging to 42 days, one-way video interviews can aid the hiring process.

Video interviews – A (really) short history

The history of video interviews started in the 1920s, where the modern interview was first introduced. Video conferencing emerged once webcams were introduced in the early 1990s, this soon followed with the rise of the two-way video interview over the next decade. Soon enough, the one-way video interview entered the marketplace, where according to VidCruiter’s CEO and Founder Sean Fahey, video interview companies “Hirevue and Montage invented pre-recorded video interviewing.”

There are two types of video interviews: live and one-way. A one-way video interview is a job interview that takes place remotely and uses video technology as the communication medium. A candidate records themselves answering set questions and then submits their responses to the recruiter for evaluation (more on this later).

Since 2011, video interviews have risen by 49%, where 74% of recruiters have found that video interviews have made their job easier to interview and shortlist candidates. With one-way video interviews on the rise, organisations such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Dropbox and many more have implemented video interviews as part of their recruitment strategy.

The what and how

A one-way video interview is ultimately a DIY recording of answering questions. The actual process is similar to how you would video chat or use web-based conferencing tools, except it’s not a live chat.

A candidate records themselves answering each question that pops up on their screen. Depending on the video interviewing software, candidates are given a time limit to prepare their response, as well as the number of attempts they are given to pre-record.

The moment responses are submitted, the recruiter can then review and internally share the submission amongst others in the hiring process. Once the recruiter receives the collaborative feedback, they can then decide whether or not to shortlist the candidate.

Eliav Rodman, CMO at myInterview has emphasised how video interviews have become so popular, particularly for the ‘millennial’ and ‘Generation Z’ candidates now entering the workforce. “Video is both a favoured communication method and a key way [candidates] connect with companies (including potential employers), which is only part of the reason why – in terms of targeted, cost-effective ‘value-add’ – integrating video interviewing into hiring processes may be hard to beat.”

A great time-saving tool for recruiters, one-way video interviews have been proven to help companies speed up their hiring process. For example, hotel chain Hilton implemented video interviewing in their hiring process and dropped their time to hire from 42 days to only 5 days!

The benefits

No one wants a bad hire but unfortunately, with poor assessment and shortage of time and resources, this can inevitably happen. A research brief has found that organisations that lack a standard interview process are 5x more likely to make a bad hire and 69% of companies identified a broken interview process as having the greatest impact on their quality of hire. The difference with one-way video interviews is it can evaluate candidates more effectively and accurately, resulting in a better choice of hire.

Josh Tolan, CEO of Spark Hire noted that “one-way video interviews allow recruiters to get a better look at their candidates earlier in the hiring process.” By implementing one-way video interviews in your recruitment process it can allow recruiters and hiring managers to get a better understanding and picture of a “candidate’s mannerisms, preparedness, attention to detail, and many other non-verbal cues usually only discovered in an in-person interview – gone are the days of coordinating schedules and blocking out weeks of time just for inefficient phone screens,” Tolan added.

One-way video interviewing is further improving the job search process by breaking down barriers such as location and time away from work. A survey of 506 companies showed 47% use video interviewing to shorten the hiring timeframe, and 22% would consider it for interviewing candidates that aren’t local.

With various video software available such as Spark Hire, VideoMyJob and many others, recruiters can save 60% of their hiring time by using the video interview provider of myInterview. On average, 48% of recruiters say they typically conduct three interviews per candidate. This speaks for itself on just how long the hiring process can take. By leveraging video interviews for pre-screening, recruiters could potentially cut down the number of interviews per candidate and reduce their time to hire, if successful.

Here are the benefits that one-way video interviews can provide:

Efficiency

Video screening does speed up the recruitment process, but video interviews also result in better hires because candidates who progress to the second round have impressed more than just one person. By making better hiring decisions based on collaboration with people in the organisation, you are going to save a whole lot of time, according to Tolan. One-way video interviews “allow all members of the decision-making process to assess the candidate from their own words, rather than hastily-scrawled notes from a phone screen,” said Tolan.

Cost to hire

The longer your hiring process takes, the more it costs. This alone isn’t because of the added time recruiters and teams spend on the hiring process but on the cost of missing out on the best talent. By implementing one-way video interviews, candidates can choose when to record their interview, and recruiters can review their responses with the added collaboration of their team wherever and whenever they like. Resulting in “significant cost savings for recruiters, and a vastly improved experience for the candidate,” said Rodman.

Making a bad hire is costly, especially when you fly in an applicant. Cut down on flights and hotels for out-of-town applicants and opt for one-way video interviews instead. This way you can determine whether they are the right fit for the role and if successful, you can then fly them in for the second step of the interview process if there is one.

Time to hire

Rodman commented on the incredible ability of myInterview intelligence; a unique data-driven matching system. This system “scans every video interview for hundreds of data points ranging from the job title, location, industry, all the way to human emotions, facial expressions, tone of voice and much more,” he said. This data then automatically tells the recruiter how much of a match each new candidate is with a pool of tens of thousands of similar candidates who were successfully placed and stayed in the role for a significant period of time.

A quick and efficient tool in placing talented candidates will reduce your time to hire and place a candidate who is deemed perfect for the role. Tolan also commented how “companies using video interviews tend to see a 5-7x decrease in the time their screening process takes.”

Apart from reducing your time to hire, one-way video interviews give you a glimpse into a candidate’s communication skills and non-verbal demeanour.

Eliminate bias

“Video interviews generally help to create a standardised, impartial process in which objective comparison is made much easier,” said Rodman. With bias existing in every human, by “training staff to increase awareness of bias risks, and by adding structure to recruitment processes and with myInterview facilitating collaborative assessment of candidates, recruiters can make more effective and bias-free decision making, resulting with a higher probability of selecting the right candidate for a role,” he added.

Further remove geographical bias with video interviews, as it can open up a large window of possibility for recruiters by offering access to the best talent, regardless of geographic location, or the inability to fly in a possible candidate.

The candidate experience

According to a 2019 candidate survey, 83% of candidates are satisfied with video interviews as a recruitment method. By building a connection with candidates and focusing on improving the candidate experience, applicants would be more likely to accept a job offer.

A study from Lighthouse Research established that even though many of their respondents found video interviews stressful, 49% of candidates said that this type of assessment helps them to stand out the most in the hiring process. By providing one-way video interviews to candidates, it can create a positive experience for them and further provides a variety of candidate data for employers.

The difference noted

Whether you’re an in-house or agency recruiter, one-way video interviews can help anyone and everyone. Rodman shares how myInterview can help all sides of recruitment.

For agency recruiters, “myInterview allows you to share shortlisted candidates with clients in a new and compelling way (digital candidate profiles). Say goodbye to the stack of paper on the hiring manager’s desk, and wow them with a much deeper insight into the candidate,” he said.

When it comes to internal recruiters, they “have told us that the ability to collaborate across the HR teams and with other stakeholders in the company has proven to be an extremely useful function. By allowing multiple individuals to participate in the screening process at the video stage, you’re facilitating a win-win situation. The candidate gets a fairer chance, hiring managers get a say early on, and you waste far less precious time all around.”

Stay alongside your competitors with video technology as 60% of hiring managers and recruiters are using this recruitment tool.

Traditional vs. Tech

In no way does one-way video interviews replace the face to face interaction you need when hiring a candidate.

Video interviews primarily replace traditional time-consuming screening methods like calling candidates, the first stage in-person interviews, and CV screening. But, it doesn’t replace face to face interviews, instead, one-way video interviews help recruiters screen candidates more efficiently and avoid meeting unfit candidates in person. Ultimately, recruiters cannot ask immediate follow-up questions, but “there are still ways to simulate candid responses from candidates by limiting how long a candidate can think about their answer and how many times they can re-record,” said Tolan.

One-way video interviews further provide a benchmark for screening where it allows you to keep a record of all of your screening interactions. “A one-one interview or phone call is flawed in the sense that it’s purely a one-one interaction. Having a video record enables recruiters to collaborate, reducing the chances of someone having a ‘bad day’ and rejecting a candidate off the bat,” said Rodman.

A one-way video interview should be used at either the first or second step of the recruitment process, according to Rodman. He shares the following:

First Step

The first step method is helpful in cases where there are large quantities of applicants. This method can then weed out the serious ones from the “copy-pasters”. First stage screening enables recruiters to get a deeper candidate insight at the point of reviewing the resume. This saves substantial time, but more importantly, enables the recruiter to surface fantastic talent that may have been overlooked during the initial screen.

Second Step

A second-step implementation would come after CVs have been sorted or screened initially, and candidates who pass to the next stage of the hiring process will receive a link with a request to record a video. This consists of more role-specific questions. The use of video in these methods dramatically reduces (at myInterview we’re talking over 90%) instances where a candidate is summoned for an in-person interview and within the first five minutes, the recruiter can clearly see it’s not going to happen – the candidate just isn’t a good match.

While video interviewing may be a new concept to grasp in comparison to in-person interviews, it does present great opportunities and efficiencies to the job search journey. Keep in mind that “more than half of the video interviews submitted by ‘millennial’ and ‘Generation Z’ candidates, who are now entering the workforce, are done on mobile devices – keeping pace with them is key for success in long-term hiring goals,” Rodman added.

If you’re new to one-way video interviews, how do you prepare or know what to look out for?

Video interview tips

We’ve established that video interviews save money, time and resources. When preparing for video interviews, “let candidates know each step of the process ahead of time, this allows candidates time to review their own video interviewing best practices, get comfortable in front of the camera, and get assistance where needed,” advised Tolan.

The more open the communication between recruiters and candidates, “the better results they’ll see,” he added. “Most candidates have still not gone through a video interview, so it’s critical to let them know where this step fits in the hiring process and what they can expect next.”

The questions recruiters ask candidates will be determined by the role. Tolan has seen “recruiters have the most success by asking ‘getting to know you’ questions, so they can learn more about the candidate than what’s on a piece of paper.”

Meanwhile, here are four video interview tips to note with the help of myInterview’s experience of having thousands of video interviews submitted.

1. Keep it short and sweet

A good video interview is between 2-4 minutes in length, with around three questions, enough to get a true sense of a candidate’s personality. Try using the term Video Introduction to invite candidates to present themselves in a friendly and open way.

2. Understand your goals

Determine what you want to understand about a candidate before you design an interview. If you want a sense of the candidate’s soft skills, ask them something about themselves. If you want to test a candidate’s ability to present on the fly, ask them to pitch. If you’re testing knowledge, ask them a specific content question and ask for examples.

3. Make sure your candidate is comfortable

With myInterview having surveyed thousands of applicants, 95% of candidates are satisfied with video interviews and would gladly do one again. To achieve this satisfaction rating, consider giving two retakes for each question, enabling practice questions, allowing questions to be open, and including a clear video introduction.

4. Clear and consistent communication

Contextualise your job ad by letting candidates know they may need to complete a video introduction. Sometimes candidates can be busy or just forget, or don’t check their email. Be sure to utilise notifications (SMS works best) when inviting candidates and automatically, but gently, reminding candidates about the opportunity you’re offering.

Embracing the future

As we continue to implement video technology into our recruitment strategies, it’s easy to see that video is the future and it’s here to stay.

We’ve established that one-way video interviews cannot replace face-to-face interviews, but “recruiters and hiring managers are using one-way video interviews to make better and quicker decisions about who they want to connect with,” said Tolan.

One-way video interviews are streamlining the recruitment process and helping recruiters everywhere. As Rodman adds, “putting video at the heart of your recruitment strategies could be your secret weapon.”

Bianca Compagnoni

Bianca Compagnoni

Communications graduate Bianca Compagnoni is the newly appointed Content Writer at JobAdder, writing all things recruitment. She greets her teammates every day with a snort and has just started her journey on becoming a writer and recruitment software connoisseur. When she's not writing content for JobAdder, Bianca is listening to South American music, eating food whenever she can, dreaming of her next travel adventure and playing with her poodle.