Part 1: The complete guide to video interviewing

Live video interviews take place over Skype, Google Hangouts, or another platforms.

A video interview is a step in the hiring process where a candidate answers questions about their background and experience either on live video with a recruiter, or via a pre-recorded video.

Live video interviews take place over Skype, Google Hangouts, or another platform that allows the interviewer to chat with a candidate face-to-face via webcam.

Video interviewing is a great tool for recruiters seeking to get more familiar with a candidate.

The use of video interviews is on the rise, with companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Dropbox all asking candidates to perform a video interview at some point in the hiring process.

A recent survey by OfficeTeam found that 63% of human resource managers use or have used video interviewing.

Why have video interviews become more prevalent?

Video interviews help recruiters shorten the time to hire, provide new insights about a potential candidate, and broaden their candidate base to include remote applicants.

A survey of 506 companies reported that 47% of hiring managers use video interviewing to shorten the time it takes to make a hire; 22% of those polled said they would “use video interviewing to help them reach candidates from other geographic regions.”

There are some clear benefits to using this tool, as well as some drawbacks to consider before using it in your HR team.

How do video interviews work?

Video interviews work one of two ways: as a live video interview, where the candidate speaks to a recruiter in person via video link, and as a one-way or pre-recorded video interview.

Live video interviews aren’t so dissimilar from interviewing in person. The hiring manager and the candidate set up a time and connect via video link.

The connection is usually made in a specific web browser or online meeting room, though some recruiters prefer to use a tool like Skype or FaceTime.

It’s common practice to record a live video interview so the recruiter or someone else from the hiring team can go back if needed and reassess a candidate.

One-way video interviews are slightly different. In this format, the recruiter uses a platform to send through written questions, or the interviewer asks the question in their own pre-recorded video.

The platform then allows the candidate a certain amount of time to think about and record their answer.

Depending on the company and the platform, candidates can re-record their answers before sending through a final video within the allotted time.

Once the video is submitted, a recruiter can view the candidate’s interview answers at their leisure and share the submission with other members of the hiring team.

Of course, there are different ways to customise the video interview experience. Different companies prefer to use different tools and recording platforms. Both parties need the right technology to complete the interview experience – which can be an imposition for some candidates.

Here are some ways to set up and run a video interview.

Before initiating a video interview, make sure the potential candidate is available and comfortable being on camera. Image: rawpixel.com

How to set up and run a video interview

There are many video interview tools out there. The process for setting up a video interview will look slightly different depending on the platform you choose.

However, there are some commonalities to expect when starting to integrate a video component into your hiring process.

To initiate a video interview with a potential candidate, you will need to make sure they are available and comfortable being on camera.

Let the candidate know ahead of time that they will be on video that will likely be recorded – both for compliance reasons and to give the candidate the chance to prepare.

If you plan on asking for a pre-recorded video, be transparent about what the process will entail. Will you send them the questions beforehand? Is there a limit to how long the candidate has to respond to each question or how long they have to complete the overall recording? Will they be able to re-record their answers during the session?

Give the candidate ample warning of what to expect in the live or one-way video interview session. If you’re planning to use a service like Skype or Zoom, make sure the candidate has downloaded the programme or completed the registration steps to log in.

Technical difficulties can throw even the best candidates off their game. While video interviews can dramatically ease the scheduling and communication burden on recruiters, this only proves true when candidates are easily able to access the platform and use the software required of them.

Many one-way video interviewing tools allow you to create templates that you can then use for multiple candidates.

If video is part of an overall skill assessment, limit the number of video questions you ask an interviewee to complete.

It’s best to use video in a more targeted way, and use pre-recorded videos only for truly assessing someone’s performance. Two to three video questions within a skills test is a good rule of thumb.

If you’re using pre-recorded video in lieu of an in-person interview, you can expand the number of questions, but be mindful of the candidate’s time. Plus: what recruiter wants to sit through eight videos of the same person?

Part 2 of this article will explore the best times to use video interviews as well as tips, sample questions and answers, and how to evaluate the effectiveness this medium.

This article first appeared in vervoe.com. At Vervoe, our mission is to fundamentally transform the hiring process from mediocracy to meritocracy.