How to use video interviews to screen candidates

Just when you had mastered face-to-face job interviews, along came COVID-19. Almost overnight the virus changed basic hiring procedures.

As a result, remote interviewing is the new norm. Fortunately, vetting potential staff via phone, email and video had already been on the rise, particularly in the initial screening process.

Now that via video conferencing and video calls are more prevalent, you might not even need to meet an applicant in-person for lower-level positions. As for more senior roles, you could defer face-to-face sessions until after initial video scrutiny. This trend is one that may extend far beyond the coronavirus pandemic, which makes mastering the video interview process essential.

If you want to conduct great virtual interviews, there are some best practices to consider first. Here are a few to guide you:

Decide between using a live video interview or pre-recorded questions

When assessing candidates remotely by video, you can go one of two routes: you could replicate the in-person experience as much as possible with a live video interview, or record questions for candidates to answer (then review their responses later).

Interviewing via live video feed

Interviewing in real-time means you speak directly with the candidate live. In this case, you would meet with them virtually via video-call (Facetime, Skype, Zoom, etc.). That helps create a personal connection despite the distance. You can also add or vary questions as you react to a candidate’s responses.

Keep in mind, however, that many people are nervous at job interviews. Performing for a camera can add additional anxiety, making them harder to read. Do your best to keep them feeling comfortable and relaxed. Ask your questions slowly and clearly, and give extra time to answer.

Interviewing by video based on pre-recorded questions

If you choose to use pre-recorded questions, also known as “on-demand interviewing,” the main benefit of this approach is convenience.

Here’s how it works. A recruiter emails a candidate with a list of questions. That candidate has a specific deadline to respond by. Once they record their replies on video and submit them back, the company can watch and make notes at leisure.

While this provides flexibility, it also has limits. You lose the ability to hold a conversational interview until later. There’s no way to change your queries, pacing or tone partway through. Also you can’t be sure if the person struggled with your recorded question, or rehearsed two hours then gave a confident reply.

Prepare yourself and your candidate

It can reflect poorly on you and your company if you struggle to use your video conferencing platform. During live interviews is where this becomes most apparent. To avoid frustrations, do some practice runs with a colleague.

Troubleshoot any issues that might arise, e.g. dropped connections, video lags, or echoes on the line. Additionally, be sure to check that your device’s audio and webcam systems are set at proper levels. Charge the device sufficiently as well.

You will need to ready each candidate for their interview too. Remember that they might not be familiar with your platform of choice. Provide them with step-by-step operating instructions and access procedures.

For instance, will the candidate need to download any software? Do you have to provide them with a password, link, and dial-in details? Send these instructions at least three business days ahead of time. You might want to supply a backup phone number as a precaution, in case they experience technical problems.

Software for screening by video

Whether you choose to screen by live video feed or recorded questions, you can save time by automating the process. Quite a few vendors offer this option with their premium hiring software.

Some employ text, email, self-service or chatbots to engage applicants and set up video-interviews. A number add AI that analyzes voice, words and imagery of videoed sessions to make recommendations. These hiring platforms usually integrate with all significant calendaring, CRM and Applicant Tracking systems.

Sourcing the best candidates to interview

Regardless if you opt for video-screening during the pandemic or stick with mostly voice and text, the quality of candidate you interview is pivotal.

Monster can help you find this top talent faster. Explore Monster’s job ads now, and you won’t be disappointed.