Video Interviews - the Digital Lifeline for Recruiting in Times of Crisis?

by Sabine Steiner in — April 2020
As a recent study by the Institute for Competitive Recruiting (ICR) shows, two thirds of companies now want to digitize their recruiting more. In the past two weeks, the institute has surveyed more than 500 employers in German-speaking countries on the topic of “Recruiting in times of Corona”.Video interviews are an indispensable part of a coherent digital recruiting strategy. For 56% of companies, simultaneous video interviews are currently the method of choice.In this article you will find out what options there are in addition to live videos, which tools are best suited for this, and how you can implement video interviewing in your company.
Video Interview

What Types of Video Interviews Are There?

Basically, we want to deal with three types of video interviews here:

Synchronous (simultaneous / live) video interviews, in which people speak at the same time but in different places (comparable to a Skype call).

Asynchronous (time-shifted) video interviews, in which with the help of a video interviewing tool, previously recorded questions can be answered by candidates regardless of time and location.

Video pitches, in which candidates are given the opportunity to make a short introductory video to get a first personal impression of them.

5 Advantages of Video Interviews

Video interviews offer various advantages not only in times of social distancing. They can also lead to more efficient recruiting in normal times.

#1 For a wise pre-selection: Especially for those positions for which there are a large number of applications, and in some cases a relatively large number of telephone interviews would be necessary to decide which candidates you would like to have a personal interview with, interviews via video offer a great advantage .

A first acquaintance via video call already gives a comprehensive picture of the candidate: in addition to the hard skills and facts from the CV, recruiters immediately get a feeling for the soft skills of the respective candidate in the video interview. In this way, personal characteristics and the individual way of working, along with cultural fit can be considered at this point and influence the pre-selection.

#2 Fair play - equal prerequisites for everyone: standardized questions and pre-selection criteria ensure that video interviews are automatically structured, which from the point of view of many recruiters leads to more objectivity and thus potentially more fairness in the process.

#3 Rewind - back to the beginning: You can view, compare and share the remote interviews more often if necessary, with your colleagues.

#4 Don't overlook the "hidden gem": Candidates who you would not have invited based on their CVs can still have the chance to present themselves with a video pitch.

#5 Distance does not matter: Video interviews can be used flexibly, regardless of time and place, and thus facilitate the recruiting of positions where there is a large geographical distance between recruiters and candidates.

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Which Type of Video Interview Should I Use?

Asynchronous video interviewing or video pitches are particularly useful when there are many applications for a position. In this way you can give more candidates the chance to present themselves and have a larger pool. After this "first round" you can make a pre-selection to keep the number of live interviews manageable.

Synchronous video interviews are particularly useful after an initial selection process as they are more time-consuming. If you want to get to know candidates better and respond more individually to the individual personalities and ask questions, a simultaneous interview via video call definitely pays off.

What to Watch for Before Remote Interviews - the Technology Check

  • Check the microphone and speaker settings beforehand.
  • The screen is not the camera, it is probably at the top edge of the laptop.
  • Open the protective flap.
  • In the camera application on the laptop (Windows Search -> Camera) you can set or check the viewing angle in advance. Then close the application to avoid problems.
  • The camera should be at eye level.
  • At least your shoulders should be visible in the image section, so you can gesticulate and are not too close to the camera.
  • Make sure there is enough light in the room. Spotlights can possibly be realigned or floor lamps can be brought in to help.
  • Natural light is always more beautiful than artificial. But make sure that you are not sitting with your back to the light source, as you will be shown very dark because the background is too bright.

How Should I Prepare for a Video Interview and How Does It Work?

Prepare for a video interview the way you would for a face-to-face interview, maybe a little more.

So think of:

  • The technology check: does the video transmission work, the microphone, is the internet bandwidth sufficient to ensure proper transmission?
  • A professional outfit: ideally the way you would dress for a personal interview.
  • A professional posture: it is best to sit (looks more authentic).
  • Also pay attention to the background: ideally neutral and without major distractions.
  • Video netiquette: look at the camera, avoid nervous, restless gestures, use natural language (do not read).
How to Interview remotley. Infographic by our US Partner Turningpoint Executive Search
How to interview remotely

Do not forget to give the candidate enough time to ask questions at the end and explain the further steps in detail.

In asynchronous interviews, the candidate is not able to ask questions. Here it is particularly important to inform them about further steps. Answer the following questions at the end of the video:

  • What happens to the candidate's video responses?
  • When can the candidate expect feedback?
  • What happens when the candidate moves on to the next round?
  • Synchronous video interview
  • Personal interview
  • When and how is the candidate informed if they do not make it to the next round?

For your employer branding and a positive candidate experience, it is still important, if possible, to invite candidates to your company later for a personal interview. This is the only way they can get to know potential colleagues.

In times of Corona it may be necessary to take special situations into account: Is the candidate at home and do they have to supervise children? Is the candidate under exceptional pressure due to the uncertain economic situation?

How Do I Prepare Candidates for Interviews?

It would be ideal to send the candidate a checklist with all the important information about the video interview in advance so that they can make all (technical) preparations in a timely manner.

  • Which tool is used and does it require a download, a login or special settings (e.g. browser version etc.).
  • Advise the candidate to dial in a live interview a few minutes before the appointment to test everything.
  • If special information is requested, the candidate can prepare the relevant documents (certificates, confirmations, etc.) in advance.
  • Framework conditions to be considered: light sources, background noise, image detail.
  • What else may be needed: provide a pen and note for notes, a drink.

If the candidate has never had a video interview before, you can briefly brief them in a prior phone call or maybe even try out the video interviewing tool together.

If asynchronous videos or a video pitch are required, it is also advisable to inform the candidate in advance - either in the form of a preparation email or an explanatory video.

Video Interviews & Data Protection

With the introduction of the GDPR in 2018, guidelines for the use of video interviewing tools were also established, which of course must be observed. In summary, it can be stated that the following two criteria from the GDPR perspective must be met in order to be able to conduct video interviews as a company:

• In principle, the consent of the person who is admitted must always be obtained.

• In addition, a processor contract must be drawn up with the company that provides the tool.

These guidelines must be observed and implemented if a video interviewing tool is introduced in the company. However, we recommend that you consider the respective legal requirements in detail before selecting a suitable tool.

  • SparkHire: Spark Hire's easy-to-use video interview software is trusted by 5000+ organizations making it the #1 video interviewing solution on the market:

  • RecRight: RecRight is a video recruitment platform that helps you find the right people faster:
  • Cammio: Award-winning video recruitment platform
  • Hirevue: HireVue's online video interviewing software and pre-employment assessments platform uses AI and validated IO psychology to get you the best talent, faster.
  • VidCruiter: VidCruiter offers the industry-leading video recruiting platform enabling you to identify, filter and acquire talent faster while saving you time and money.
  • Skeeled: Explore our artificial intelligence recruitment software and improve your branding & candidate experience through ATS, video interview and personality test.
  • videoBIO Recruiter: Virtual meetings, interviews and talent assessment.

The functionality of these video interviewing tools is very comparable and only differs in nuances. Therefore, the set of APIs and the integration into an existing ATS - in addition to the costs - should be decisive in the decision.

Perhaps a decisive difference: Cammio offers a 360 ° video interviewing approach for the recruiting process, which optimally integrates the recruiter, the candidate and the customer and thereby reduces the time-to-hire.