What is a Video Interview Anyways?
Before we discuss how to properly carry out a video interview, it’s important to understand the basics. When it comes to video interviews, there are two main types: live video conferences and pre-recorded interviews.
Live video interviews are the most common and are very similar to an in-person interview, with candidates and interviewers conducting a discussion in real-time. Similar to a traditional interview, these types of interviews are particularly useful for:
- When candidates and hiring teams are located in different regions, or in situations where the majority of the hiring team is working remotely and are unable to meet the candidates in person
- When the hiring team would like to interview a larger volume of candidates without dealing with the added logistics of meeting them in-person (greeting candidates in the lobby, booking meeting rooms, etc.)
- If you are hiring for a confidential role and would like to avoid having the candidate arrive on-site for their interview
Recorded or asynchronous video interviews are an alternative to traditional live interviews, as interviewers are able to prepare questions ahead of time and candidates answer the questions at their own pace, submitting through the video platform. Recorded video interviews have been gaining more traction in application processes, particularly for entry-level roles where hiring teams are tasked with finding creative ways to engage with a significant volume of candidates. These types of interviews are particularly useful for:
- The recruitment of a large volume of entry-level or semi-skilled talent
- Situations where the hiring team is concerned about intimidating entry-level candidates and want to create a more positive candidate experience
- Candidates and interviewers are in different time zones or candidates are unable to interview during normal office hours
- Interviewers are hiring for numerous open roles, and do not have the availability to meet with candidates during the earlier stages of the interview process
What’s So Great About Video Interviews?
Over the last few years, employers in various industries have been implementing video interviews and a recent article published by Jobbatical cited that video technology is being used by 60% of hiring managers and recruiters. In many cases, employers are using video interviews to reduce time to fill, engage untapped candidate pools in new regions, create a convenient process for passive candidates, and to create a remote hiring process that allows leaders to effectively hire when working remotely.
Research. Define. Measure.
The first step to implementing any new processes is to fully understand what you want to achieve. There are several benefits that video interviewing offers, and your key to success will be understanding your goals so you can choose the right strategy and platform to reach them. For instance, if your main goal is to complete a high-volume recruitment campaign, then live video interviews will likely be less effective than asynchronous videos. Whereas if your goal is to successfully recruit in a new region without any local offices, a live video strategy will be very effective.
The best way to determine your needs is through a needs analysis. This is the process of identifying and evaluating influencing factors that will affect the new program or process change. Essentially, this step is just asking the simple question of what aspects of recruitment is your team currently struggling to improve and can video interviews effectively help? We know that video interviews reduce time to fill, are less burdensome on hiring team schedules, and improve the candidate experience, but there are hundreds of reports on video interview statistics, so your team should make good use of the industry knowledge available to ensure video interviews will, in fact, help you achieve your team’s unique goals.
Once you determine your goals and what results you need from this process, it’s time to flush out the parts of your current interview process which will be transitioned in the new process, and how your team plans to implement these changes. For example, most teams will use video interviews to replace earlier stage phone interviews or to improve an application process and will need to map out exactly what stages of the current recruitment cycle will be affected. Breaking down the current interview process into individual steps and noting what tools or processes are required for each step should help your team identify and prepare for any gaps as they implement a video interview strategy.
This stage is often referred to as a gap analysis and differs from a needs analysis because it’s focused on determining the gaps between existing and new knowledge and processes. For instance, you might find that your interview team doesn’t have current access to a video platform to conduct interviews, so training will need to be provided to the hiring team. Or you might find that your hiring team doesn’t have video hardware to be able to conduct video interviews remotely. The gap analysis should be exhaustive, and the team should begin developing plans to address any gaps prior to implementation.
Choosing the Right Tools
The next step will be researching any tools required for video interviews and choosing the platform you will conduct videos through. There are hundreds of tools and platforms available for video interviews, and it can be daunting to navigate the choices. The best method for canvassing the market is to research a few options at different price points and measure the features of each platform against the organizational goals. For instance, if you are looking to increase organizational diversity you might look for a platform that has blind assessment capability, or if you want to brand your video interview portal than you might focus on platforms that are pro-customization.
TIP: Keep in mind that generally, corporate leaders will always respond more positively to lower-cost options as they tend to be risk-averse. Always make sure you have a low-cost/investment option to offer!
Talentlab has prepared a quick review of the popular video interview platforms. Keep in mind, these reviews are not exhaustive and Talentlab is in no way associated with any of the products below.
Google Hangouts Meet
Google Hangouts is not available as a stand-alone product but is a part of the larger G-suite of products. Google Hangouts made the list only because of the sheer number of organizations that are currently using G Suite. It includes both a text platform aka Google Chat (think Slack but not as good) and a video platform they have dubbed Hangouts Meet. Any organization currently utilizing G Suite (which starts at $ 7.80 per month per user) will likely find this is the easiest platform to implement because it’s already integrated into calendars and hiring managers will likely be familiar with the interface. Sound and video quality can be an issue depending on the quality of Wi-Fi in your area.
- User friendly – can be accessed by candidates using their personal Google calendars
- Tight integration with other G Suite apps
- Good value if buying G Suite
The OG of video chats, Skype is always a good choice for organizations that aren’t ready to invest in other more substantial video platforms. It’s free and able to function as a complete video interview platform. The only negatives are that sound and image quality are often erratic, and Skype doesn’t offer a substantial support or training program for their video platform.
- Free group and one-on-one video calling
- Real-time translation
- Screen sharing
- Messaging with photo and video sharing
Cisco’s Webex platform has flexible pricing but does charge per host which can quickly increase costs depending on the size of your organization and the number of unique interviewers that will need access. However, reviews of Webex are extremely positive when it comes to both sound and video quality. Paid plans start at $17.95 per host, and there are several additional add on services that can be bundled together. All plans include toll dial-in numbers that have coverage in 45 countries.
- Free plan available
- Minimal voice and video lag
- 25 simultaneous video feeds
- Significant hiring manager training and support available
Zoom has quickly risen amongst the video interview ranks, becoming one of the most popular platforms. They have flexible and value-oriented pricing, but the real draw is the reliability of video and audio quality. Plans start at $20.00 per month (for up to 100 participants!) but they have a really robust free option for any teams looking to try before they buy.
- Free account options available
- Competitively priced paid plans for mid-sized organizations
- Stellar performance (video and audio)
- Rich features with premium accounts
- Easy to use
myInterview has built a name for asynchronous videos, but the company is about to launch a live video platform, so they can be considered as an option for both formats. myInterview uses a custom widget to integrate with your established TA system in a matter of hours which is perfect for any team looking to get video interviews implemented urgently. They also have some cutting-edge features including built-in AI that will assess the candidate’s body language and facial cues to determine a wide range of personality characteristics. There is a free option with myInterview, but the real value starts with the $19 per month plan (USD) so that your team can access the analytics feature.
- Offers both live and pre-recorded options
- Quick integration with established TA systems
- Corporate branding and video archiving options available
- Collaborative platform that allows hiring team to shortlist, provide feedback and discuss as a group remotely
- AI-driven predictive analytics
There is no free demo of Spark Hire, but they boast over 5000 clients and the platform can be used for both live video conferences and pre-recorded videos. The platform has lots of value including smooth integration with G Suite, customized branding options, and tons of value-added features such as in-app scheduling and downloading interviews for review. Pricing starts at $119.95 per month for one open role, but up to 10 users are included with this package, so Spark Hire is actually a good value for mid-sized or larger organizations.
- Works for both asynchronous and live video interviews
- Ease of use for both interviewers and candidates
- Cost-effective for large volume recruiting
- Completely customizable
Video Interviews Done Right.
Once you know the tools you are going to use, and why, you need to figure how to get your hiring managers familiarized with this technology. Don’t be too rigid when looking at best practices, and always consider the context. A global company with hundreds of recruiters might suggest best practice is to get back to every candidate within 24 hours of their asynchronous interview completion, but if you have a lean talent acquisition team, that might not be possible. Don’t carbon copy any rules, regardless of how much you respect the person suggesting them. Always filter any suggestions through the lens of your unique situation. Focus on what makes sense and on your own organization’s needs. With that in mind, we have gathered some great tips and tricks for video interviews.
Good Etiquette is Universal.
Prepare your hiring team as though they were candidates. There isn’t much difference between video interview etiquette for interviewers vs candidates. The same good advice applies to both sides.
- Room lighting should be in front of interviewer not behind (as this will cause shadows)
- Interviewers should be dressed appropriately, wearing similar clothing to what they would if the interview was happening in-person
- Ensure interviewers have proper Wi-Fi speeds and have tested the connections prior to interviews
- Give some useful direction to interviewers on appropriate areas of the remote environment to conduct video chats (ie. not in your living room with loud distractions)
- Video interviews can be intimidating for candidates, so for any live videos hiring managers should be trained to focus on the candidate (no responding to emails during the interview!) and attempt to make them as comfortable as possible
Employment Branding is Still a Thing.
Just because a candidate isn’t visiting your office doesn’t mean they aren’t forming an opinion of your employment brand. Consider the following subtle ways the hiring team can communicate brand and culture through video interviews.
- Depending on the platform, you can customize the interview landing pages to reflect your corporate colours/logo
- Consider asking the hiring team to use branded or themed user pictures to further differentiate your brand and unify the branding across regions
- Give some direction to the hiring team about how to respond to questions about corporate culture, as without an office environment to judge it’s likely candidates will rely heavily on the interviewer’s opinion/description of the culture
Don’t Forget the Basics.
Implementing the video format shouldn’t mean that your hiring team ignores the basics, and on the most basic level, an interview is only useful if it covers relevant areas that hiring managers need to assess based on the function of the role. That primary directive should never be forgotten and hiring teams should be held to the same standards as they would be for in-person interviews.
- Decide beforehand what the focus of the interview will be and ensure the interviewers are prepared
- Avoid bias by creating a formal template for scoring candidates throughout the interview
- Try to encourage hiring teams not to dock points for lack of eye contact or poor/grainy picture
- Train your hiring team to be empathetic about candidate’s shyness/nerves, particularly if the role they are recruiting for isn’t customer-facing, as the candidate comfort level with being on camera is not an effective metric for their abilities
- Hold hiring managers accountable for providing a similar level of feedback as they would for in-person interviews
Get Creative With It.
Video interviews are still fairly uncharted waters for recruitment, and while that can be nerve-racking for teams attempting to implement them, it also means that teams have the freedom to experiment. Consider shaking up the landscape and add interactive portions to the interview or using AI tools to augment video interviews. This is new territory which means your team will help create the best practices others will adopt.
- Consider adding an interactive component to the interviews such as coding tests, drawing a diagram, having the candidate do a presentation, etc.
- Consider archiving the interviews to help interviewers improve, to be compared at a later date or to be shared with others on the hiring team rather than having the candidate participate in multiple interviews
- Think about using AI and/or predictive analytics to further assess candidates
Implement Your Heart Out.
The implementation phases will be directly affected by the thoroughness of the earlier stages. The more diligence you did on the front-end, the more seamless the later stages will be. Be patient with your hiring team. Empathy will be key in the later stages of implementation. Talent acquisition experts often forget that hiring managers do not possess the same level of expertise. After spending hours researching video interviews, you will likely have a wide breadth of knowledge on best practices and common mistakes. Take a patient approach with your hiring team, and attempt to create a positive environment for them to learn and inevitably make mistakes. They will make mistakes.
In addition, make sure you have someone on your TA team dedicated to keeping the new video interview process on track. As any Agile Coach worth their salt will tell you, humans are creatures of routine, and given the chance, they will revert to habits they have become comfortable with. New processes can sometimes be difficult to implement, as in moments of stress or uncertainty employees will forgo a new process in favour of what they know. This is not because the new process isn’t effective or your hiring team doesn’t respect your strategy, it’s a human coping response. Talent acquisition teams should attempt to assign an in-house ‘coach’ for video interviews that can help keep managers on track, and provide additional training if needed post-implementation.
It can be difficult to get buy-in for video interviews in more rigid onsite corporate cultures. That being said, if your leadership team is presented with a well-researched purposed video interview strategy that includes meaningful data that addresses real business challenges, includes a needs/gap analysis, and is rounded out by a well-developed implementation plan, you should get their full attention. What you do with that attention, will be critical to your business’s future. Employers that ignore talent acquisition evolutions in favour of staying in their comfort zones will be left behind.