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If you value your candidates, use video interviews. Here’s why.

When I talk about video interviewing, oftentimes recruiters point out to me that they value their candidates, so they prefer to get to know them in an on-site interview.

Rings a bell? Did it also cross your mind that, as long as your candidates are not on the other side of the world, you’d rather meet them face to face than through a computer screen? And what’s up with the “automated” interviews? How is that an interview if you can’t ask follow-up questions? Right?

Right. I’m with you on this.
A good interview is a 2-way conversation, where you get to know the person beyond his or her factual answers to some questions; you get to see how you interact with them, how they come across and what they communicate non-verbally. After all, non-verbal cues (body language, position, facial expressions, tone of voice etc.) make up for two thirds of all communication. And not to mention that you have the opportunity to test your opinion of that person, while they have the chance to weigh in and explain themselves.

A good interview is a 2-way conversation.

That’s great and, until they invent holograms, I hope it will never change. But ask yourself this: how many of your candidates are invited to such an interview? 70%? 60%? 50%? I’m willing to bet that the number is much lower. So, if only a small fraction of the candidates get the opportunity to present themselves to you and have a conversation, what happens to the rest? If valuing your candidates means giving them a chance to show you who they are, you’d better make sure that you get to know them long before you decide whether or not to hire them.

The way I see it, video interviewing is valuing your candidates – those candidates who have put in the effort to research your company, submit their application and prepare for a number of selection rounds, but still did not make the cut for a number of reasons. I never saw video interviewing as a replacement of face to face conversations; to the contrary, for me, video interviewing allows us to bring up sooner the best part of the recruitment process – the “getting to know the person” part.

A video interview is no replacement of the face to face conversation – a video interview allows you to ‘get to know the person’ earlier in the process.

Take automated video interviews for example. Let’s forget for a second about how they compare to face to face interviews and judge them on their own merits. Say that instead of asking your candidates to submit a motivation letter alongside their CV, you invite them to express their motivation via video, by answering a few questions. This way, you catch a glimpse of the person behind the CV and take advantage of the non-verbal cues. It may not be as effective as an actual interview in terms of communication, but it gives you a better idea of the person than a letter ever will and it gives the candidates the chance to show who they are.

Invite candidates to express their motivation via video – it will give you a much better idea of who that person is, than a letter ever will.

You can also use automated interviews instead of or in combination with phone interviews to screen candidates. If the back and forth is important, then do automated video interviews with 100 candidates – so that you don’t ask the same questions over and over again – and have a 30-minute call with a select few, following up on their answers in the pre-recorded interview. And while you’re at it, why not use live video interviews, so you can see each other and even record the conversation for others to see.

This brings me to my last point: collaborative evaluation. Not only can you get to know the candidates sooner, but you can send the shortlisted videos directly to your hiring managers to decide who they want to invite for a face to face interview. No more miscommunication and no more regrets.

With this post, I wanted to dispel a common misconception about video interviews, namely that they are meant to compete with face to face interviews. Even though they are part of the interview family, they are not replacing on-site interviews any more than phone interviews do. They are meant to give candidates the chance to show their personality early on and allow recruiters to make better informed choices, at a fraction of the time.

Whether or not video interviews are right for your recruitment strategy depends on many factors, but I hope that “valuing candidates” will never again stand in the way of considering video interviews.


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