Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire
The Best Times to Use Video Interviews in Your Hiring Process

The Best Times to Use Video Interviews In Your Hiring Process

You have a fool-proof strategy in place. Candidates are screened via resume screens, then phone interviews. They move on to in-person interviews: first-round, second-round, reference checks, and then final offer. It seems illogical to mess with the system when it works. 

While it may deliver predictable results, the catch 22 is this inefficient strategy for assessing talent consistently results in the same quality of hire. If you’re not filling empty roles with the best-fitting talent now, don’t expect that will change without taking a hard objective look at your hiring process.

Phone screens are ineffective for assessing the full picture of a candidate’s personality. It’s also difficult to form personal connections over the phone. In-person interviews, on the other hand, are costly and time-consuming when multiple decision-makers must meet with a candidate. Besides, this process requires everyone’s schedules to perfectly align in a timely manner. 

The best approach to fitting top talent into your team is not forcing candidates through the same old process. Rather, equip yourself and your team with effective hiring tools and tactics to adapt your interviews for many different hiring scenarios. A designated video interview platform is key to solving many typical hiring process pain points.

Incorporating video interviews creates an opportunity for a better hiring process experience for both candidates and your hiring team. Like any other hiring tool, however, you must know when to implement video interviews to see the greatest benefit. 

Here is a look at the best-use scenarios for video interviews:

Scenario 1: When you’re pressed for time to fill empty roles

You have four weeks to fill three roles. The potential number of hours it will take compared to the hours you actually have just isn’t adding up. Even worse, much of the process is out of your control. What if candidates’ schedules don’t align with your hiring teams’? What if it takes too long and top candidates drop out? The ‘what ifs’ of scheduling interviews are overwhelming. You need a faster way to screen talent without compromising the quality of your early hiring process evaluations. 

Phone Interviews In-Person Interviews Video Interviews
Saves Time
Saves Money
Assess Soft Skills
Assess Hard Skills
Personal Connections

Phone interviews: You don’t need to clear large blocks of time to screen every candidate (compared to in-person interviews) which is a time-saver. Not being able to see candidates makes it challenging to establish personal connections but long-distance candidates can still easily participate. 

In-person interviews: In-person interviews allow you to confirm the soft and hard skills you reviewed in candidates’ application materials. However, they simply eat up too many valuable resources — time and money — to be an efficient use of your hiring budget during the early screening process. 

Video interviews: Both one-way and live video interviews have beneficial qualities for screening candidates.

  • One-way video interview: One-way video interviews give your entire hiring team the power to quickly and accurately review candidates and decide who to push through. All candidates see the same set of structured interview questions and can submit their videos whenever they have time to complete them before your deadline. The recognizable structure and branding of this process also allows candidates to assess your company for fit, potentially filtering out anyone who might drop out later.
  • Live video interview: While live video interviews require aligning schedules, the advantage over in-person interviews at this early stage is no one has to travel! Your team can interact with candidates without the time and challenges of bringing them into the office. When you reduce the number of in-person interviews, you create more time to focus your energy on only the top qualified candidates.  

Scenario 2: When schedules just won’t align

You attempt to schedule an interview with a top candidate. They’ve given you five dates when they can meet in-person before the end of this month. None of these dates work for your hiring team. You have to make a choice to either extend your time to hire in order to accommodate everyone’s schedules or exclude crucial members of your team from this stage of the interview process.

Phone Interviews In-Person Interviews Video Interviews
Saves Time
Saves Money
Assess Soft Skills
Assess Hard Skills
Personal Connections

Phone interview: Phone interviews seem like a flexible interviewing option for decision-makers who can’t meet in-person. Still, schedules must align. And while a real-life conversation allows for a more thorough assessment than relying on a recorded call or another persons’ interview notes, you’re still missing an element of the human connection.

In-person interview: The longer it takes to make schedules agree, the more likely candidates are to move on to new offers. In fact, 55 percent of candidates give up and move on if they haven’t heard from an employer within two weeks of applying, according to a recent CareerBuilder study. You may need to schedule interviews with many decision-makers in one day with just one candidate. During a busy season, the holiday season, or summer months when people travel, it may be near impossible to quickly get everyone in on an in-person interview.

Video interviews: One-way and live video interviews put the power of scheduling into the hands of you and candidates. 

  • One-way video interviews: One-way video interviews change the hiring game when schedules are jam-packed. There’s no wasted back-and-forth time trying to make schedules work. This immediately makes the interview process faster for impatient candidates. Candidates find time in their busy schedules to record and submit their responses to your questions. Then, each member of your team can evaluate and provide feedback as soon as they have openings in their schedules.  
  • Live video interviews: Schedule a live video interview with just one member of your team and have everyone weigh in on the real-time interaction later. Live video interviews conducted through a designated video interview platform are automatically recorded so team members who can’t be present never have to be left out of the decision-making process. 

Scenario 3: When you’re interviewing long-distance candidates

You have broadened your hiring horizons and opened your roles to talent across the country — maybe even the world. You’ve found three exceptional candidates who are perfect for that hard-to-fill role. You typically perform two, sometimes three interviews with each candidate before making a final decision. Your hiring team is faced with the challenge of scheduling interviews with talent that may only be able to travel once before a decision needs to be reached.

Phone Interviews In-Person Interviews Video Interviews
Saves Time
Saves Money
Assess Soft Skills
Assess Hard Skills
Personal Connections

Phone interviews: No one has to overextend themselves if you resort to phone interviews for rounds later in the hiring process. But this also means your top candidates potentially won’t meet with your team face-to-face until you’re in a position to make an offer, or even on their first day! This creates greater opportunities for you to misjudge candidates’ personalities, soft skills, and cultural fit. 

In-person interviews: Travel is expensive. It may entice top talent to apply from afar if your company is willing and able to fly them in for an interview, but most hiring budgets simply don’t have room for that kind of benefit — let alone for multiple candidates. Your team risks missing out on hiring the best candidates if talent has to travel for multiple in-person interviews, especially if they have to foot the bill. 

Video interviews: Live and one-way video interviews allow you to effectively assess candidates from anywhere and fit into almost any budget.

  • One-way video interviews: While one-way video interviews are not a replacement for face-to-face meetings with candidates before making a job offer, they do allow a greater number of long-distance talent through the process by reducing the number of times they have to travel. Candidates complete this stage of the interview process from a convenient time and location of their choosing, without having to worry about scheduling and time zone delegates. Then their video interview can be shared with numerous hiring team members to weigh in on as they advance.
  • Live video interviews: Similar to the real-time benefits of phone interviews, which can be recorded to share with multiple decision-makers, live video interviews help you easily connect with candidates from anywhere. The advantage of live video interviews is you connect with them face-to-face and retain a professional setting without repeating the hassle of expensive and time-consuming travel. 

Scenario 4: When hiring for remote roles

The opening for a remote role just went live and applications are already rolling in. Remote roles are typically coveted positions, so you know you have a good bit of vetting on your hands. You’re looking for candidates who will never physically work side-by-side with your team. They’ll need to align with the team’s personalities and exude the same values — all from a distance. 

Phone Interviews In-Person Interviews Video Interviews
Saves Time
Saves Money
Assess Soft Skills
Assess Hard Skills
Personal Connections

Phone interviews: It’s essential your hiring team makes personal connections with remote candidates. In-house employees won’t work alongside them in a physical workspace, so the ability to connect and consistently be on the same page is even more critical. Phone interviews are a more accurate example of how your team will communicate with your new remote hire, but significantly reduce your ability to read critical aspects of the candidate’s personality. 

In-person interviews: Because your open role is remote, you’re looking all over the country or the world for top talent. In-person interviews are expensive and challenging to coordinate with long-distance candidates. Not to mention the effort expended on a role that’s not even located in the office. While an in-person interaction will reveal a great deal about the candidate’s fit with your team, you’re not really learning anything about how successful they will work in a remote setting. 

Video interviews: One-way and live video interviews help you find the talent that works for your remote roles: 

  • One-way video interview: This video format offers the ultimate way to screen remote talent. You can see candidates’ expressions and share interviews with their potential colleagues. Everyone has the opportunity to gain a better understanding of candidates’ personalities and their work ethic, indicated by the timeliness of their one-way interview submission. 
  • Live video interviews: In-person interaction is important when evaluating remote candidates’ fit with your team. However, it’s also critical to review talent using similar types of communication technology employees will use in the role. Live video interviews provide the best of both worlds. You and your team are able to interact with candidates in real-time while communicating in a remote-friendly fashion.

Scenario 5: When follow-up interviews are needed after in-person interviews 

An end is in sight. Three amazing candidates made the cut and you’re ready to bring in upper-level decision-makers. They have requested a quick meeting with each candidate before a final hiring decision is made. So here you are — again. Trying to align nearly impossible schedules for a few quick minutes of interaction. 

Phone Interviews In-Person Interviews Video Interviews
Saves Time
Saves Money
Assess Soft Skills
Assess Hard Skills
Personal Connections

Phone interviews: You’ve already made a personal connection in a one-on-one setting. Phone interviews at this stage in the game can feel impersonal and like you’re not putting forth an effort with top candidates. Also, decision-makers who ask follow-up questions via phone interviews can’t fully see a candidate’s personality and passion for the company. This means they could miss recognizing the defining qualities of the ‘right’ candidate when comparing final candidates with equally-matched skills. 

In-person interviews: Adding yet another in-person interview for a quick follow-up wreaks havoc on both candidates’ and hiring pros’ schedules. It’s especially challenging if the candidate has an inconvenient commute or a current position. While decision-makers have the chance to interact one-on-one with candidates and make the best-informed choice, it may be impossible for some top candidates to return for another interview.  

Video interviews: Using a video interview format allows you to standardize the process so final decision-makers are able to assess and compare candidates quickly, easily, and fairly.

  • One-way video interview:  Any follow-up questions an exec may have can be addressed by one-way video interview. This allows you to dig a bit deeper into something that came up during an in-person interview without having to rearrange schedules and potentially stall the decision-making process. Additionally, decision-makers can send a video message to introduce themselves and share their questions through their own one-way video question, strengthening the personal connection the candidate has with the company. 
  • Live video interview: As one of the best alternatives to additional in-person meetings in the final stages of the hiring process, you can start where you left off with personal connections. For execs just now entering the hiring process, they can get personal with candidates as they interact in real-time. All of this is accomplished without the frustration of aligning schedules for availability in one location. 

Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 5,000+ customers in over 100 countries.