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

Video-interviews are pre-recorded, self-conducted 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 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. These sources, which were written by both job-seekers and HR professionals, referred to the video interview process as ‘impersonal,’ ‘dehumanizing,’ ‘awkward’ and even ‘disgusting’ that employers aren’t giving candidates the ‘courtesy’ to meet with them in-person or on a live-call.

After reading these negative perceptions, it’s fair to assume that many HR managers feel deterred from incorporating video interviews into their recruitment process out of fear that it will be poorly-received by candidates and relevant stakeholders.

This caused me to question; If a candidate feels this way after a video interview, doesn’t that say more about the company implementing the process rather than the process itself? It’s the classic saying that ‘a bad workman always blames his tools’. HR managers need to learn how to implement video interviews correctly and how they are intended to be used.

I’m going to 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. Asking these typical questions also leads candidates to believe that there is a predetermined ‘right or wrong’ answer, hindering their ability to speak freely.

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 make 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, viable method to assist managers with making recruitment decisions. This could not be further from the truth!

Video-interviews are a handy 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 analyze 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 and 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. As a result, the time-to-hire is slashed, recruitment-costs are reduced, and the overall efficiency of the candidate-screening process is maximized.

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 answer 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 cannot 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 personalization 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.

Concluding thoughts

Video interviews aren’t designed to determine exactly who gets the job. Instead, they should be used as a supporting act, helping hiring managers to decide which candidates are worth investing time and energy into and which candidates aren’t. Yes, the technology is incredibly advanced, but it needs to be used correctly if employers want to reap the time and cost-saving benefits and provide their candidates with a seamless and enjoyable experience. So, if you aren’t using video interviews to their full potential, you’re missing out on finding the best-possible candidates!

Lucy Hill is the marketing specialist at MyRecruitment+.

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