Improving the Video Interview Process for Better Candidate Experiences

As more companies embrace a globalized workforce, many are seeing video interviewing as a cost-effective and convenient part of the recruitment process. It makes sense. Instead of only pursuing candidates who can physically come into an office, you can use video to reach out to a wider range of applicants early in the process. In fact, the TalentBoard found that, of the 130,000 candidates surveyed overall, more than 25,000 made it to the interview screening stage and 12.9 percent were interviewed at least in part via video (recorded and/or live).

And, unlike a phone interview, video interviews allow interviewers to see nonverbal gestures and gauge responses that may indicate attitude and a level of interest. So, while video cannot replace face-to-face meetings, they do provide a more personal experience than written or verbal-only communications.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) hires around 11,000 new employees from colleges every year. The company uses video interviews for both entry level and experienced applicants. Video interviewing provides candidates with more flexibility and offers a better experience than phone interviews. When candidates finally come into the office, PwC can use that time to sell the culture and fit of the firm rather than engaging in traditional interview processes.

The problem is, video interviews can also create false perceptions of both interviewers and candidates. But if you focus on preparation, you can improve the outcomes for the video interview process. What do I mean by this? Consider these two best practices for creating an accurate and well-received candidate experience during video-based exchanges.

  1. Invest in Technology for an Optimal Interview Experience
    During the interview process, technology hiccups can leave both parties feeling unsure about the interview. Now, many video conferencing tools provide increased flexibility for the interview process. If needed, applicants can use a smartphone or tablet to engage in a video interview. Skype, FaceTime, and corporate applications all provide alternatives that companies of all sizes can use. One engineering and construction firm, Henkels and McCoy, uses InterviewStream, an innovative tool that allows applicants to respond to pre-recorded interview questions. Candidates can complete the interview at any point to provide recruiters with the information needed to make an informed hiring decision.
  2. Prepare Candidates and Interviewers for the Interview
    Not all applicants have an understanding of the video interview process or format, and providing additional information can put both parties at ease. Consider offering candidates a pre-recorded video that outlines how your company conducts interviews. You may also want to ask candidates for any particular questions they have about the interview process. You can more easily evaluate the success of an interview if the candidate understands and is prepared for the session.

Since interviewers control the interview process, they can use video-specific tactics to create a better experience for both parties. Interviewers can create a positive video interview experience by:

  • Introducing open-ended questions – Open-ended questionsencourage the candidate to speak up about his or her background and experiences. Closed questioning can result in a simple question and answer session that does not provide human resources with the information needed to vet the candidate properly. Ask non-invasive questions that most candidates will willingly respond to.
  • Starting with a prepared opening – Whether pre-recorded or personalized for the interview, consider talking about the team and the company first. Greet your candidate and take some time to explain your business and what you’re looking for in a candidate. This approach does two things: It gives your prospective employee time to adjust to the setting and provides some context for questioning. Most people do some initial research on the organization, so stick to information that a candidate may not have come across.
  • Including job-specific team members in the process – Think about handing over candidates from recruiting to the internal team at different points in the hiring process. Consider bringing in someone a candidate might work with during the video interview.
  • Creating a dialogue, not an interrogation – Encourage your candidates to start a back and forth conversation with a mixture of easy and difficult questions. However, video interviews are designed for efficiency. Avoid irrelevant questions. Try not to ask about information a candidate has already provided in a resume or portfolio. Use the interview time to learn more about fit, experience, skills and leadership experience.

Video interviews can enhance the recruiting process but creating an optimal experience for the candidate and interviewer can be a challenge. Focus on making each interaction personal and relationship-driven to achieve a better experience for both the company and the candidate.

A version of this post was first published on Huffingtonpost on 04/26/2016. 

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