Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire
One-Way Video Interview Tips You Need to Improve the Candidate Experience

One-Way Video Interview Tips You Need to Improve the Candidate Experience

If you’ve tried (or are considering) incorporating video interview software into your hiring process, you are probably hoping to speed up your hiring process, identify the best candidates, and improve collaboration in candidate selection. The good news is, it works. You can achieve those goals with the right video interview platform.

As much as you love the idea of using video interviews, it’s critical candidates feel comfortable with one-way and live video interviews for your transition to be successful.

Video interviews, whether used for screening or for a virtual interview to fill a long-distance remote role, are an effective way to speed up the interview process. But no matter how you dice it, the candidate experience is what matters. You can’t compromise one for the other.

The big ticket question is: How can you make the process personal and engaging when you aren’t connecting in-person with candidates?

Just as you would focus on candidates’ expectations for an in-person interview, you can find creative ways to give talent the best experience possible while submitting one-way video interviews. Here are a few tips to create a positive one-way video interview experience:

Set up the soap-box for candidates

Interviews are controlled by the employer. It’s a simple fact. The interviewer asks the questions, guides the conversation, and sets the tone. The job candidate is essentially at your mercy – especially in a one-way video interview when they don’t have a chance to directly ask you questions or read your visual cues.

Give candidates some control by adding an open-ended question to a one-way video interview. Open up the end of the interview for feedback and comments from the candidate, just like you would open the floor to them at the end of an in-person interview.

Here are some examples of open-ended questions:

  • What’s something that you think we should understand about your fit or add to our culture? 
  • What’s something you want us to know about your experience that the structure of our questions didn’t permit you to share?”

In an open-ended question, candidates can explain what makes them the best person for the job in their own words. Open-ended questions don’t need to be long and don’t take a lot of time for the candidate to resolve, but they can make a big difference. You gain extra insight into a candidate and learn what is most important about them to them.

Swing both ways with information

Candidates don’t generally know what to expect before an interview. While you’re holding their complete work history in your hands, they only know as much about you and your company as you’ve communicated through your online presence.

Help candidates feel more comfortable by creating a welcome video. Use your personal video message to share unique insights into your company and to prepare them for the interview process. 

Pro Tip: make it special, not just something they could find in your social feeds.

For example, you can give candidates a virtual tour and a creative introduction of team members. Doing so helps candidates understand what it’s like to work for the company and gives them a taste of your culture. Keep in mind, the hiring process is your company’s audition too.

The introduction to your interview process is the best time to share the number of interviews, your timeline for follow-ups, and the names and contact information of interviewers. You can even have them introduce themselves on camera so candidates feel the process is less one-sided. 

Creating welcome videos may feel like a redundant step but it streamlines and creates a better interview experience for candidates and your hiring team. A well-prepared candidate is less nervous, has more insightful questions to ask and a better understanding of their interest in the position.

Turn the interview tables

Everyone is short on time. Screening candidates by phone is guaranteed to be time-consuming and is not all that effective. So you set up one-way video interviews to get a feel for candidates without the scheduling hassle. 

But what insight does the candidate gain from the experience? What do they learn about you, the company, and the job?

Truthfully, not much – not without some commitment on your part to be transparent and personal through your communication. The one-way video is just that — a one-way experience. But candidates want to know what working for the company is like and to get that information, they want to speak with an interviewer. 

Make the one-way video experience more candidate-friendly by allowing them to conduct a one-way video interview with you. During their interview, ask candidates what questions they have for their potential future manager or any questions they have about the job or company. Then, record your answers in a brief video message and send it to the candidate with your first follow-up.

Even if your schedule won’t allow an immediate in-person or live video interview, candidates can still get answers to their questions and feel a personal connection. Making the most of video interview software features keeps job seekers interested in the position and engaged with the hiring process.

Place a value on interview questions

In a face-to-face interview, you build rapport and ease into more difficult questions. You may block out an hour or more to make a connection and thorough assessment of candidates. But one-way video interviews are about speed to hire and reducing unnecessary interview steps. Asking superficial questions is likely to feel to candidates as though you’ve wasted their time.

The one-way video interview process should be short and painless for candidates. They are likely to become frustrated by asking for information they’ve already provided. In fact, there’s a chance they will not trust a human reviewed their application and resume, or perhaps suspect their one-way video interview will be screened by AI. This makes candidates feel like they are not valued by your company.

While most of your interview questions should be structured and specific to the role to keep the screening process fair and efficient, you could make a better impression by customizing questions specific to their experience or skills. Before creating your list of questions, review social media profiles closely. 

Candidates can’t list all of their skills and experience on their resume. A professional profile may include interesting information or relevant skills you want to discuss. Critically analyze the value of every question – what will the answer tell you about the candidate? And why is it important?

Skip directive questions that only require a few words or a short sentence to answer, like “do you have experience with our content management system?” or “have you communicated directly with candidates?” If you need these questions answered, ask the candidate in an email before sending the one-way video invitation.

Instead, focus on behavioral questions. These questions require a more substantial answer from candidates and allow them to explain how they put their skills into action. For example, instead of asking candidates if they have experience communicating with clients, ask them about a time they had to deliver bad news to a client or about a communication breakdown.

Eliminate stereotypical questions. Candidates know how to answer these questions the way employers want them to so you won’t learn much about candidates that defines them from their competition for the role. Try revealing interview questions instead.

Bend but don’t break

Some of your job candidates may have full-time jobs. These candidates can’t put their lives on hold for your hiring process. Electing to conduct a one-way interview makes sense for busy candidates – they can complete interviews on their own time from anywhere without running into scheduling conflicts. 

But the one-way interview is only convenient for candidates if they are given enough time to complete it. If you give them too short of a deadline to submit their recording, the video interview becomes a more stress-inducing experience. Especially if their invitation expires.

Video interviews are flexible by design, so be flexible and give candidates a reasonable amount of time to complete them. 

Of course, time to hire is important. If you give candidates an excessive window to complete the interview, it won’t be a priority to them. They may forget about it altogether, or slow down the process for other candidates. Find the right balance for your hiring needs with the candidate experience front of mind. 

Give video re-takes a chance

In an in-person interview, candidates answer on the spot. They don’t get a re-do and they cannot take back whatever they say. That’s what makes the interview the most stressful part of the job search process – there are no second chances. After the interview, the candidate replays their answers in their head, thinking about how they wish they had answered the questions.

But in a one-way video interview, candidates have the luxury of thinking about their answers before they hit the record button. It removes a lot of the stress of a traditional interview and allows candidates a better chance of answering questions thoughtfully and accurately. However, there’s still room for error.

Candidates can stumble over words, be distracted by something in the room instead of looking into the camera, or change their minds about how they should answer the question. In a one-way video interview, mistakes are OK because candidates may be given chances to record their answers. 

Consider keeping the video interview as low-stress as possible by allowing candidates unlimited chances to record their answers to the first few questions. This allows candidates to warm up, relax, and shows them that you want them to do well and feel confident.

Limiting the number of chances or amount of time a candidate has to record is similar to a traditional interview, even though you’re not conducting a face-to-face interview. The pressure to record the perfect answer might stress them more, but in some cases, you may need to assess how they perform under pressure. 

Similar to timing the deadlines for submission, you should discuss with your team the perfect balance of retakes to evaluate candidates accurately for each role. Just remember, all candidates interviewing for the same role, should have the same limits.

Video interviews are a great tool for hiring professionals to speed up the interview process, but they’re also an opportunity to give candidates a positive and memorable job search experience. Candidates depend on you and your hiring team to give them the information they need to do their best in the video interview process and create meaningful connections. 

virtual candidate experience

Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 6,000+ customers in over 100 countries.