Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire
Paid or Free: Which Video Interview Tool Do You Need?

Paid or Free: Which Video Interview Tool Do You Need?

Money rules the world. It controls many of the decisions we make in both our personal and professional lives. Especially for HR professionals, like you, hiring budgets are often a top-of-mind concern. The pressure of not overspending combined with obtaining the best, most dedicated talent can be overwhelming. 

Still, some hiring pros do not focus on how their budgets perform. In fact, 24% of respondents in a report by our team, How to Make the Most of Your Hiring Budget, admitted they don’t even track cost-per-hire. 

By not measuring cost-per-hire, HR pros are blind to which pieces in their strategies deliver the highest ROI. New tools, for example, add to overhead costs. As a result, there’s more pressure to adhere to the budget. This leads to adding free video interviewing tools over paid platforms simply because there’s no cost. 

However, deciding whether to implement a free tool or paid platform goes far beyond weighing initial costs. The top deciding factor should always be, “What gives my team the tools they need to deliver the highest ROI and efficiently identify top talent?”

Of course, reaching a conclusion can feel like a monumental task because there’s a multitude of tools at your fingertips. So we’re laying it all out for you. From the beginning of the hiring process to the end, there are capabilities you need to consider when deciding whether to go with free or paid video interview software: 

Branding

Your organization has worked diligently to create a recognizable company brand. Logos, font styles, images, and designs were all established to make your company stand out. Beyond the aesthetics, your team has created an employer brand that focuses specifically on attracting the right job seekers and retaining the best employees. If so much work and attention is poured into upholding branding efforts, that element should also filter into your hiring process. 

Free platforms allow you to share your culture via candidate interaction, but custom branding ends there. A dedicated video interview platform, however, puts holistic branding power into your team’s hands. Most paid platforms prioritize company branding, such as images, logos, and colors, to create connections from video interview invitations through the live interview process. 

Ultimately, branding your video interview process creates a more professional-looking process, and candidates are further immersed in your brand. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder report, candidates (76%) feel companies using the most up-to-date technology differentiates them from the competition. As a result, your company stands out high above competitors. 

Screening

Screening candidates can feel like a never-ending task. It’s one of the most tedious aspects of the hiring process but also the most critical. 

On one hand, this is one of the first impressions candidates get of your team and company. If the candidate experience is negative, this could be the first and last time you see top talent in your queue. However, this is also when ill-fitting candidates need to be filtered out of your process. If they make it through, they inevitably draw out the already time-consuming and expensive hiring process. 

One-way video interviews are a powerful screening tool. Candidates answer customizable standardized questions, and hiring teams evaluate when their schedule allows. A few platforms do offer screening capabilities free of charge. However, their limitations don’t fit the hiring needs of most companies. One platform, for example, offers just one job and five interviews a month free of charge. 

With these limitations, you’d either need to cut a useful screening tool or use many free tools at once. Neither option empowers your team to screen and quickly hire the best talent for the company.  

Paid platforms include unlimited recorded one-way video interviews. This gives all candidates a positive experience as they fit recording into their own busy lives. At the same time, your team gains the best insights into candidates, such as their soft skills and other personality, while gauging their skills with job-focused interview questions.

Scheduling

Free video interviewing tools don’t come equipped with scheduling software. But you do have a multitude of choices when it comes to picking a free scheduler. Unfortunately, these tools aren’t designed specifically for your hiring process. 

Some don’t integrate with your current calendar or allow you to create unique landing pages based on the role you’re hiring for (spoiler alert: paid platforms do!). Even more damaging to your ROI, free calendar apps, don’t offer customized email notifications, they provide limited integrations, and don’t allow bulk scheduling. These limitations slow the hiring process and prevent your team from working efficiently. 

An effective paid platform allows you to further your branding efforts with customizable landing pages and even schedule interviews in bulk with the simple upload of a spreadsheet. 

Creating space in your budget for a paid scheduling tool, especially one that’s part of your video interviewing software package, decreases time spent scheduling interviews. When less time is dedicated to repetitive administrative tasks, your team has more time to nurture positive and lasting relationships with candidates. 

Interviewing

Placing an ROI on interviewing is challenging. You have to interview multiple candidates to understand who will get the job done best and who best fits your entire team. However, trying to find the most effective and cost-efficient way to do this often eats up as much time as rolling through countless dead-end interviews—but it doesn’t have to. 

Many hiring pros resolve this issue by conducting time-saving but still personal live video interviews. Much like scheduling software, free video interview platforms aren’t designed to relieve your pain points as a hiring pro. However, a dedicated platform continues your branding efforts while creating a memorable and positive candidate experience. 

For example, you can add brand touches, such as team photos, to further connect with candidates during the interview. Also, a paid platform includes the capability to record full-length interviews from a browser automatically. This eliminates added stress for your team and candidates by not requiring them to download yet another app onto their devices.  

Paid platforms also alleviate the stress of technical issues. During a scheduled interview, candidates and interviewers don’t have time to waste troubleshooting inevitable technology fails. Dedicated video interview platforms offer 24/7 support and allow candidates to test their settings before an interview begins. 

Evaluating

Your team has worked hard to reach the evaluation stage. Once they’re there, the process needs to be seamless, or costly errors could be made. Combining many free platforms to acquire the evaluation tools you need leads to more logins, decreased collaboration, and an inability to easily filter and rate candidates. It’s nearly impossible to track every candidate and keep their journey straight. 

Evaluations should be simple to track and in the same place as your video interviews. On a paid platform, you immediately rate candidates and leave comments for your team to review and access in one place. For example, if you save a note regarding the candidate’s answer to the professional motivation question and a hiring team member doesn’t recall the answer, they can simply click to review. 

Once your whole team has reviewed all candidate interviews, you can create a candidate shortlist from that same evaluation page. This ensures your team is literally and figuratively on the same page regarding the status of each candidate and that no high-quality candidate slips through the cracks.  

Ensuring a positive candidate experience isn’t just important to those moving on in the hiring process. To keep talent in your pipeline, you must give rejected candidates the same amount of respect. By tracking real-time feedback during their evaluation through a paid video platform, decision-makers can note why a candidate has not been selected. You can then respectfully let talent know they’re not moving forward while offering actionable tips for next time. 

Collaborating

There are countless useful communication tools for businesses. However, in hiring, you don’t just need to communicate. Collaboration is the key to making successful hiring decisions that are best for the entire company. While free tools are perfect for discussing everyday workplace happenings, they don’t give your hiring team the power of effective collaboration. 

A dedicated video interview platform allows you to both communicate and collaborate seamlessly. You can share candidates’ interviews with an unlimited number of team members. Each person can then easily view the video by clicking a custom link—no additional logins necessary. 

Collaboration is further enhanced when you receive an alert the minute a hiring manager watches an interview you’ve shared, cluing you in on when to follow up. And when every minute counts, this is a small but critical benefit. 

Engaging follow-ups

There’s no doubt video dominates many areas of business, such as marketing and branding. It’s a powerful business tool because companies can create short, engaging, and personalized visual messages. All three of these factors are also critical to enhancing the candidate experience. 

If you’re not an expert designer, however, creating a video message to send to candidates on a free platform can be time-consuming. The product can also appear unprofessional, which is more likely to disengage candidates. 

With a paid, dedicated platform, you are able to create personalized video messages using an easy-to-fill template. You’re also provided with options to keep follow-ups in your control. 

For example, you decide when they expire, customize them to candidates and specific roles, share, and receive notifications when each candidate opens messages. The more you customize and track videos, the more connections you’ll make, and the more access you’ll have to candidates. 

Analytics

Metrics are the key to understanding your ROI, especially which tools produce top results. But most busy hiring pros don’t have time to sift through a multitude of platforms. This decreases the accuracy of analytic capabilities and leaves your team with only part of the picture. 

When choosing an effective platform that places many of your hiring tools in one place, there’s no need to waste time compiling information. You can easily track, measure, and take action to improve your hiring process when necessary. 


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.