Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

How To Adapt Your Hiring Process For Video Interviewing

Video interviewing makes adding talent to your team easier, faster, and more cost-effective than ever before. Instead of having to waste time shuffling candidates in for first-round interviews — only to find that they simply aren’t qualified for the position — you can quickly watch dozens of one-way video responses from interested individuals. From there, have further in-person or phone interviews with only the most qualified applicants.

However, for all of its benefits, video interviewing is certainly different from a traditional, face-to-face conversation. As a result, you’ll need to adjust your interview strategy slightly in order to find success as you incorporate this innovative hiring process enhancement.

Here are some tips to keep in mind in order to ensure total success when employing video interviewing strategies:

Focus on clarity

When you’re conducting an interview in person, if you pose a question and the interviewee isn’t quite sure what you’re asking, they can request clarification. If the individual starts to deliver a response that’s not geared to what you’d like to know, you can redirect and get the discussion back on track.

These abilities disappear in first-round pre-recorded video interviews. To prevent miscommunications, make sure that there’s no room for misinterpretation when it comes to your inquiries. Your questions should be very cut-and-dried so that applicants know exactly what you’re trying to ask.

Here are some questions you might consider asking interested participants, as they typically have strong success rates when used in a video interview setting:

  • How would your co-workers describe you?
  • What’s your ideal work environment like?
  • What do you enjoy most about your current job? What’s your least favorite part of the job?
  • Discuss a time you made a mistake at work. How did you correct the issue?
  • What initially drew you to this company/role?

These questions allow applicants to give detailed, expressive answers, but they don’t leave much room for interpretation or confusion. They also give you major insight as to who this person is and what matters to them.

If they talk about their love of collaboration and the role you’re hiring for tends to work solo, you know they might not be the best fit. If most of their answers talk about needing structure and set duties, but you’re running a startup where each employee does a little bit of everything, you know you might want to take a look at a different candidate for this role. If the person can’t offer much insight as to why they’re interested in the company or job, it’s another indicator that it’s not worth moving them to the next step of the interview process.

When performing a video interview, stay away from questions that could generate a simple yes or no response. This doesn’t provide you with much information about the person giving the reply. Plus, if the interview is pre-recorded, you’re not there to prompt them to provide more details for you.

Make sure your job description doesn’t fall flat

When you bring someone in for a job interview, you have time to show them around the office and talk to them about the role for which they’re interviewing. That goes away when you’re just taking a look at an applicant’s pre-recorded video responses. While this saves money (and protects both parties’ time), it’s important to supplement the time you’d be spending casually chatting about the open job.

One way to do this is by ensuring that your job description does the available role justice. An interested applicant should be able to log on to your company’s website and find out all of the details about the position that you would normally flood them with during an in-person first-round interview.

What are the required duties? What kind of training or education is necessary? Who would they report to? What kinds of clients would they work with? What type of individual typically excels in this position?

Feel free to add some personality to the description, too, as long as it remains in sync with your business’s brand. People respond much better to job descriptions with some zing, as opposed to the traditional (and often snooze-worthy) “Looking for motivated individuals with 3-5 years experience in marketing, sales…”

This also prevents candidates from being overwhelmed when they do make it to an in-person interview. They know what to expect about the office and the company so there are no surprises to distract them.

Don’t neglect your company’s website

A company’s website is another powerful resource for job seekers, and it becomes increasingly important when that business is using video interviews to hire. When a hiring manager or recruiter’s face-to-face sessions with a candidate decrease, it’s important that the business’s website is there with updated information about both the job and the company.

Keep websites populated with details about open jobs. Don’t forget that this site is also an important PR tool. Use it to show off recent awards, big clients you’ve landed, or charitable work your employees have done. Highlight the kinds of people who work for the business. Responsible job seekers will be hitting Google to check out what your brand has to offer before they apply, so make sure they like what they see when they do a search, and that the site is actually useful to them.

And with 89 percent of the 1,000 employees surveyed by Glassdoor using mobile devices during their job search, you’ll want to verify that the website is mobile-optimized, meaning that it looks great on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones alike. If a potential employee goes to view your site on an iPhone and has to pinch and scroll to read about your business, they might think you’re out-of-touch with technology. This could lead them to opt to apply at a more forward-thinking brand.

Pay attention to nonverbal cues

Just like in a face-to-face interview, non-verbal cues are a major part of analyzing how an individual presents themselves during a video interview situation. Much of our communication comes from nonverbal cues, so paying attention to this aspect of the interview process is highly important.

Applicants can speak volumes with their bodies and, in this case, with their interview surroundings, as well. Some things to take note of as you watch a person’s video responses:

  • What is their surrounding environment like? The right candidate should have taken the time to present a clean, well-organized environment in which to record their responses. You shouldn’t see papers spilling out of drawers, dirty dishes piled up, or laundry tumbling out of baskets. If the person is serious about the job, they will have made it a point to tidy up the environment before pressing “record.”
  • What is their attire like? While they may not be sitting across from you in a formal interview setting, the individual should still be wearing professional clothing as they sit down to record their questions. You shouldn’t see ratty t-shirts, ripped jeans, or exposed undergarments. Business attire is a must.
  • How do they present themselves in the interview? Do they seem engaged and excited? Is their posture strong? Do they refrain from using profanity? Do they speak slowly and clearly? Though it may be a unique type of interview situation from what they’re used to, the ideal candidate will still conduct themselves in a professional manner. They will take the recording process seriously and will make sure to deliver the same caliber of responses that they will when they’re sitting across from you in your office.
  • How is their video and audio quality? Ideally, they should have tested our their system ahead of time to ensure that there weren’t glitches with the microphone or camera. A person who records the entire interview but doesn’t properly capture the audio might not have invested the time to really learn the software, which can indicate they’re not as interested in the open position as other candidates.
  • Is their environment free of distractions? You shouldn’t see family members wandering into the shot as the candidate records their responses. Just as they wouldn’t bring children or pets to an office for an interview, they should make it a point to be left alone throughout the duration of their video interview in order to maintain a professional tone during their responses. If you’re straining to hear a response over a crying baby or barking dog, it may be time to move on to the next applicant.

Be forgiving about technology available to the candidate

Some people rely strictly on a work laptop, using only a smartphone at home, so be flexible when it comes to the device on which a candidate records their interview responses. They may not have a desktop with a massive screen available for video interviewing.

This doesn’t mean that they refuse to embrace technology, it just means that they have their own system in place that works for them. As long as they can find a way to get their responses recorded in a way that’s easy for you to watch, don’t be too picky about the kind of device they use to get the recording done.

Understand that video interviewing can take a little getting used to

For those who have never experienced a video interview before, the situation may feel unfamiliar at first. Have patience with candidates, and don’t write them off completely if they don’t immediately wow you with their responses.

Give applicants a little time to get comfortable with the system, and watch their whole video interview before making a decision on whether you’d like to proceed to the next round. Making snap judgements doesn’t benefit anyone.

Consider giving the interviewee a little background information about why you rely on video interviewing. What do you like about it? What makes it a good first step before face-to-face interviews? How does it benefit them as a candidate? Being upfront with this information can help to put the person at ease, reassuring them that you’re not trying to trick them by throwing in new technology as part of the process. (Spark Hire even provides a resource hub that you can even direct candidates to making your life just a tiny bit easier! )

Use video and face-to-face interviews to complement one another

Video interviewing is a customizable tool meant to work with the business or professional using it. Don’t feel as if you either have to strictly use video interviewing or only conduct face-to-face interviews. Many people find that a hybrid of the two methods is the most effective way for them to move through their hiring process. Maybe you find that you like to use video interviewing for rounds one and two of your hiring process and move to face-to-face interviews for the final round. This resource is meant to save time and money so that hiring is easier, so however it best fits into your business’s process is great.

Video interviewing makes the hiring process much more convenient for businesses and interested candidates alike. However, while there are many advantages to utilizing video interview technology, it’s important to understand that video interviewing differs from traditional face-to-face methods in many ways.

Ask questions specifically targeted for this method of interviewing, pay close attention to nonverbal cues, and make sure your brand’s website and job descriptions are useful resources, and your business will be able to reap the many benefits of video interviewing technology.

What are some other ways to alter your interview process for video? Share in the comments below!

Lauren Levine

Lauren Levine is a copywriter/blogger who contributes to a number of magazines and websites including The Frisky, USA Today, and others. She also authors her own blog called Life with Lauren. She loves cooking, anything on the E! network, and is trying to convince herself that running isn't so bad.