Video Interviewing – Live Video Calls versus Asynchronous Video Recordings

March 6, 2014 — Leave a comment

Article by Rupert Sellers

TRACC - Candidate recording interview - photo 2

As video interviewing becomes increasingly popular, many employers still relate the concept to Skype video calls. But a professional talent screening system can offer many more benefits.

A recent survey of 194 companies in the UK revealed that 92% of their HR teams were familiar with ‘video interviewing’. However, when these people were asked what they understood about the concept, only 23% were aware of asynchronous (one-way) recorded video interviews. The vast majority associated video interviewing with Skype or other live video platforms.

Demystifying the term ‘video interviewing’

There are two types of video interviews:

Live video calls: Using Skype, Facetime or Google Hangouts the employer schedules calls with the candidates and then has a conversation, typically for 20 to 40 minutes, with each candidate. The video call is generally instead of a phone screen.

Asynchronous video recordings: The employer creates the ‘interview’ online, adding questions that are appropriate for the job vacancy, and then sends a unique web link to the candidate selection. Candidates record answers to the questions in their own time, which are then reviewed by the employer.

What’s wrong with face-to-face interviews, you might ask

Of course, nothing beats face-to-face interviewing, but in most cases it is not practical or necessary until candidates have been screened. Relying on the CV alone is not best practice. While some candidates clearly don’t have the skills and experience to meet the job requirement, there are often many others that could be suitable but don’t make the initial selection. Research conducted by The Ladders showed that recruiters only spend an average of 6.25 seconds looking at a candidate’s CV before deciding whether he or she is a fit for a job. Video interviews can be a useful filter in the initial screening to provide insight and identify soft qualities such as ‘smile’, ‘warmth’ and intonation. The process helps employers to select the most appropriate candidates for face-to-face interviews.

The benefits and shortfalls of live video and pre-recorded video

The benefit for both the live video and asynchronous video models is that they can overcome geographic boundaries. Interviewing via video makes a lot of sense if a candidate is located miles from the employer’s office or is located overseas, but there are some practical issues if the interview is ‘live’.

If there are a number of hiring managers involved in the live video conference, everyone’s diaries need to be coordinated so that they are in sync. But the bigger issue is scheduling candidates to engage in a video call during their working day. Many candidates can only hook up to a video outside of working hours, which is then inconvenient for the hiring managers.

One of the great benefits of asynchronous interviewing is the significant saving of time, and the convenience for both employer and candidate. At Compact Interview, we feel the tool is most effective when only 4 or 5 questions are set with time limits for answers of no more than one minute per question. With this ‘360’ snapshot on candidates, there is no need to set up telephone screens or Skype calls – and in many cases there is no need for ‘first round’ interviews. Another benefit is that the candidate videos are saved and can be reviewed by all the relevant stakeholders in the hiring process before deciding on which candidates to meet in person.

One disadvantage with the ‘one-way’ model is that the employer is unable to ask probing questions, but we feel that behavioral interview questioning is better suited to a face-to-face environment, when only the shortlisted candidates are being interviewed.

Asynchronous interviews are best used during the early stages of the recruitment process, and a high volume of applicants can be video interviewed with ease. This model ensures fairness and provides consistency. All candidates in the process answer the same questions for a particular job and have the same time allocated for their responses which provides a uniform, structured approach to select the most appropriate candidates for face-to-face interviews.

Rupert Sellers

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I spent most of my career in luxury hotel management which included senior roles with Ritz-Carlton and Four seasons, before specialising in recruitment 12 years ago. In 2012, I launched Compact Interview which enables employers to screen candidates directly with customised video interviews. Our privately held company is based in Shoreditch, London.

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