Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

6 Video Interview Tips You Need to Improve Candidate Experience

You’ve been using video interviews for a while and you think they’re great. They’ve helped to speed up your hiring process, identify the best candidates, and improve collaboration in candidate selection. You love video interviews, but do your job candidates feel the same way?

Video interviews, whether used for screening or for the main interview, are still part of the application process, and the candidate experience matters. After all, 77 percent of professionals surveyed by Linkedin this year said the interview experience is an extremely important deciding factor when choosing a new employer. In addition, 83 percent of respondents said a negative interview experience can change their mind about a company they liked, while 87 percent said a positive interview experience can change their mind about a company they were on the fence about.


How can you make the process simple and pain free when you might not be engaging directly with candidates?

Just as you would for an in-person interview, you can find creative ways to give candidates the best experience possible while completing video interviews.

Use these video tips to create a better experience for candidates:

Set up the soap-box

Interviews are controlled by the employer. 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.

Give candidates their voice back, 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 to try:

  • What’s something we haven’t asked you that we should? What would your answer be?
  • What’s something you want us to know that we haven’t asked you about yet?”

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.

Let the door swing both ways

Before the interview, candidates don’t know what to expect. They don’t know you or the company that well, and just 40 percent of candidates know the names and background information of their interviewers beforehand, according to a 2014 report of more than 95,000 candidates conducted by Talent Board.

Help your candidates feel more comfortable by creating a welcome video. Use the video to give them information about your company culture and to prepare them for the interview process. After all, 49 percent professionals who recently changed jobs surveyed by LinkedIn said the biggest obstacle in the job search is not knowing what working for an organization is actually like.

In addition, the 2015 CareerBuilder Candidate Behavior Report found that only 19 percent of job seekers toured the office, and only 12 percent were able to meet other employees during the interview process. Use the welcome video to give candidates a virtual tour of your office and a brief introduction to team members. Doing so will help your candidates understand what it’s like to work for the company and give them a taste of your culture.

You can also use the welcome video to explain the interview process itself. Provide the names and background information for interviewers, or have them introduce themselves on camera. Detail the steps of the process and the types of interviews that will be involved.


Creating this video, to brief candidates, will create a better interview experience for the candidate and for you. A well-prepared candidate will be less nervous, have more insightful questions to ask, and will have a better understanding of their interest in the position.

Turn the interview tables

Both you and your candidate are short on time. Screening candidates by phone is always time-consuming and not that effective, so you set up one-way video interviews instead. This way, you can get a feel for candidates without the scheduling hassle. But what does the candidate gain from the experience? What do they learn about you, the company, and the job?

Not much. 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 leadership. In fact, a 2015 Talent Trends report from LinkedIn showed that the most important thing for 53 percent of candidates was to talk to their future manager.

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 future manager or any questions they have about the job or company, in general.  Then, record your answers to those questions in a video, and send it to the candidate.

This way, even if your schedule won’t allow an in-person or two-way video interview, candidates can still get answers to their questions. The video interview speeds up the interview process, keeps job seekers interested in the position, and happy with the hiring process.

Place a value on questions

If you’re asking candidates a long list of questions in a video interview, you’re wasting their time just as much as your own. In a face-to-face interview, you want to build rapport and ease into more difficult questions. But video interviews are about speed, and superficial questions are worthless.

Don’t ask questions about information you can find on their resumes. Don’t waste a candidate’s time asking them to tell you about themselves or about their experience — unless you have specific questions about their responsibilities and accomplishments in a past position. The video interview process should be short and painless for candidates, so don’t frustrate them by asking for information they’ve already provided.

Before creating your list of questions, review social media profiles as well. Candidates can’t list all of their skills and experience on their resume, and a professional profile may include interesting information or relevant skills you want to discuss. In addition, you don’t want to spend your time asking questions you can find the answers to on their social profiles.

Instead of asking meaningless questions, ask ones that are unique to the job and the candidate. 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 still need these questions answered, ask the candidate in an email.

Instead, focus on behavioral questions. These questions will require a more substantial answer from candidates and will 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 breakdown in communication.

Eliminate stereotypical questions that have been asked over and over again — candidates know how to answer these questions the way employers want them to, and you won’t learn much about them. Try revealing interview questions instead.

Bend but don’t break

Job candidates are busy, too. According to the talent trends report from LinkedIn, 70 percent of the global workforce are passive talent. That means most of your job candidates still have full-time jobs while they’re applying to your open position. They don’t put their lives on hold for your hiring process — they still go to work, care for their families, and participate in hobbies and activities.

Electing to conduct a one-way interview makes sense for these candidates — they can complete it on their own time, 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 a short deadline to turn their interview in, the video interview becomes a more stress-inducing experience.

Video interviews are flexible, so be flexible, and give candidates a reasonable amount of time to complete them. At the same time, time to hire is important. If you give candidates a very large window to complete the interview, it won’t be a priority to them, and they may forget about it altogether.

Find the right balance between giving candidates too much and not enough time to complete the video interview. Give candidates at least one week to set aside time and complete the video interview. Candidates shouldn’t feel rushed or stressed, but they also shouldn’t feel like the interview isn’t important for them to complete.


Give re-takes a chance

In an in-person interview, candidates have to 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 answer 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 the way they want to. However, there’s still room for error.

Candidates can stumble over their words, look around the room instead of into the camera, or change their minds about how they want to answer the question. In a video interview, mistakes are OK because candidates are typically given a few chances to record their answers. But employers can limit the amount of retakes candidates have, which means candidates may have to submit answers they’re not fully satisfied with.

Limiting the amount of chances a candidate has is more similar to a traditional interview, even though you’re not conducting a face-to-face interview, but the pressure to record the perfect answer may stress them more. Keep the video interview as low-stress as possible by giving candidates unlimited chances to record their answers. Doing so shows candidates that you want them to do well and will put them at ease.

Video interviews are a great tool for hiring professionals to speed up the interview process, but they’re also an opportunity to give candidate’s a great job search experience. Think about the candidate throughout the video interviewing process, to make it as easy and stress-free as possible.

How do you give job seekers the best candidate experience in a video interview? Let us know in the comments below!

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.

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