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Article by Rupert Sellers

Telegraph film - female candidate on iPad

With the increase of video interviews to screen candidates, here are some top tips for best practice recruitment:

Firstly, decide which method of video interviewing you want to use. Do you want to arrange ‘live’ video interviews or asynchronous interviews? More about the pros & cons of each here.

The ‘live’ video interview

1. If it’s going to be a live video (such as Skype), think about how you are going to conduct interviews in this way. Many candidates who are currently employed are not able to find the time or place to engage in a live video interview during their working day, so as the recruiter or hiring manager you might need to be flexible and be prepared to Skype candidates outside your normal working hours.

2. For a live video call, as with a phone call, make sure you have prepared your questions beforehand so that the interview is structured and decide how much time you are going to spend on each call. This helps to enable a fair process with questions that are consistent for each candidate you interview.

3. As with any live interview situation make sure you write notes either during the session or immediately after. It might be time consuming but without documentation you will struggle to remember who’s who if you are screening numerous candidates. And if the process drags on over a few weeks, the interviews will become even more of a blur.

4. Let the candidate finish speaking when answering a question before you start probing. In a face-to-face interview, it is much easier to interrupt and maintain a good conversation flow, but in a live video there can be a slight time delay and interaction can be disruptive.

5. If you are conducting the live video call with other hiring managers present, do not confer among yourselves while the candidate is still ‘on air’. It’s disconcerting for the candidate if he/she can see you but not hear what is being said.

The ‘one-way’ pre-recorded video interview

1. This is the best time-saving option as you can quickly review your candidate responses to your preset questions on your dashboard by clicking from one video to the next (Watch the short video demo here). There are no scheduling issues as you will be sending a link to your selected candidates for them to record their interview in their own time. Creating a video interview online is easy, and can take just a few minutes to implement, but it’s worth thinking about what outcomes you want from this type of interview.

2. Compact Interview gives you the opportunity to create as many questions you like with unlimited recording time for each answer, but while there is this flexibility you should bear in mind that your candidates will be talking to a camera on their desktop, laptop or mobile – they are not communicating with an actual person.

3. Make use of the time limit setting for each answer. As a general rule of thumb, one or two minutes is usually a sufficient maximum for most questions, but if you wanted to ask your candidates to give a presentation on a subject, then up to 10 minutes might be appropriate. As a simple ice-breaker to kick off the video interview, you might want to start with: ‘Please let us know your name and where you are located?’ And you can set the time limit for this answer to just 10 or 15 seconds.

4. Compact Interview gives you the option to allow your candidates to re-record an answer and you can specify the number of attempts you are willing to offer per question. We highly recommend you use it to provide the best candidate experience possible. Learn more.

5. Set an appropriate deadline date for completion of the video interviews. Your candidates can record their interview in their own time, perhaps in the evening or over the weekend, away from their work environment. Of course you want the video interviews completed as soon as possible, but if you are inviting candidates who have heavy work commitments or are located overseas in different time zones, then a minimum 48 hours notice is recommended. At least five days is preferable if you really want to include your full selection in the process.

Finally, when you review the video playbacks on your online dashboard which you can do at any time, as well as share with other hiring managers, try to make allowances for a few imperfections and ‘umms and ahhs’. This is not a BBC broadcast and we encourage candidates to be as natural as possible. However, talking to camera can feel a strange experience particularly if it’s the candidate’s first time to record a video.

The video interview is best used as a quick, convenient screening tool to gather insight – particularly soft skills which cannot be shown on a CV. From the videos, the candidate selection can be narrowed down, ready for more probing questions that can be asked towards the end of the recruitment process in a face-to-face interview environment.

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.