How video interviewing can help to attract the best candidates

Face-to-face questioning is still a vital part of the interview process even when the potential candidate can’t be in the room

Video interviewing is now one of the most popular recruitment methods among both employers and employees, with major companies such as PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) using it extensively to secure the best entry-level and experienced candidates.

As part of its 2015 Candidate Experience survey, Talent Board questioned 130,000 job hunters and found that more than 25,000 made it to interview screening, with 12.9% saying they were interviewed using either live-streamed or pre-recorded video.

It is easy to see why video interviewing is becoming more popular. Rather than being limited to the applicants who can physically attend an interview, employers are able to cast their nets wider when recruiting. This means they can speak to people at the other end of the country or, indeed, on another continent altogether, offering a far more personable approach than formal email communication.

Unlike a telephone interview, video calls give employers a chance to watch the candidates’ reactions to certain questions, giving them a chance to study applicants’ non-verbal gestures and expressions to get a feel for their level of engagement and desire for the job.

Video interviewing can be misleading and stressful if not done correctly, however, which is why preparation is key if the employer and employee are to get the most from the experience. When setting up for a video interview, there are two important things employers should do in advance.

Firstly, invest in the best technology. Buffering screens, sound dropping out and video calls being terminated early can all lead to negative impressions on both sides, not to mention taking up valuable time. With apps such as Skype and FaceTime developing versions specially designed for business use, employers should ensure they have the right software before they begin.

Secondly, they need to make sure candidates know what to expect. Video interviewing might be part and parcel of an organisation’s recruitment process; however, the candidate might be new to the system and the software they are using. Getting the best out of an applicant means putting them at their ease, with some sort of prior discussion of the interview format certainly helping. Employers might even consider sending the candidates a pre-recorded video outlining how the process works so that they know what to expect.

Once the video interview is underway, there are a few more things employers can do to help make the candidates’ experience more enjoyable. Asking open-ended questions gives them plenty of room to expand on their thoughts, making the process more of a two-way conversation than an interrogation. One advantage to the video interview is that the interviewer can bring in other members of the team, making the whole thing more relaxed and less formal.

Used well, technology can prove a very valuable tool in the recruitment process. Above all, employers need to remember that to improve the experience for the candidate, the technology itself must not become a barrier to good, old-fashioned relationship-building. This, in its simplest terms, is how to get the best out of any interviewee.

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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