Live vs. Pre-Recorded Video Interviews: What's Best for You?
7 min 50 sec read
Pre-recorded and live video interviews often get mistaken for one another. Many people use the umbrella term “video interviews” to talk about both, and it is very easy to get confused.
In this blog post I’ll explain what these two types are, when to use them, and share a couple of tips to get the best out of them.
What are live video interviews?
Simply put, live video interviews are live video calls executed in a job interview format.
Such interviews can be conducted through basic tools like Google Hangouts, Skype, Microsoft Teams, or with the help of a video interviewing platform. Some platforms (like Recright) also let recruiters record real-time interviews, so that they are watched and analyzed later on.
Live video interviews are an effective alternative to face-to-face interviews when in-person meetings are difficult to arrange.
Compared to in-person interviews, live interviews don’t require recruiters and candidates to travel to the meeting location. This alone can save time and effort for both parties. However, recruiters and candidates still need to connect at the same time for the interview to happen. In this case, the back and forth communication behind interview scheduling is incompressible.
5 tips for hiring managers for conducting successful live video interviews
We’ve all had to become accustomed to using video conferencing tools in 2020. Having said that, the astronomical amount of video calls we’ve had in 2020 also taught us a good lesson: most people aren’t prepared and/or properly equipped to have smooth video calls.
We’ve listed 5 tips to help you conduct high-quality video interviews.
1 - Do a technical trial run before the actual interview
Technical issues can ruin the candidate experience. They will affect the flow of the conversation and depict your company as everything but tech-savvy. In 2021, this can be a problem, especially when hiring younger talent.
Choppy voice, delays and, echo with the audio, pixelated camera, etc. We have seen it all.
Ensure that your tools are functioning correctly to prevent any technical problems from happening during the interview.
Check that your camera is working well: Note that, you could have an excellent webcam, and still get low-quality results from it. Sitting in front of the camera is essential. But ensuring that the room you shoot in is well lit is at least as important.
Test your microphone: Consider using a USB podcast microphone for the best results—and don’t forget to mute your microphone when you’re not talking to avoid any background noise disturbance (especially when at the office, or at home with kids running around).
Test your internet connection: An internet connection with a bandwidth speed of at least 1 megabits per second is ideal. One way to solve all connectivity issues is to create a 4G/5G hotspot using your smartphone.
2 - Use a scheduling tool to spare yourself and your candidate all the back and forth
Scheduling can easily become the most time-consuming part of an interview process. Using tools like Calendly can help you save a lot of time and create a positive candidate and recruiter experience.
Some recruitment platforms, such as Recright, offer a scheduling feature. It allows recruiters to manage everything from one place, thus saving them a significant amount of time.
3 - Prepare a set of open-ended interview questions and have a structure
Always come prepared.
Without a proper plan, you risk asking irrelevant questions. You could also be asking questions that won’t help revealing important information to help you make a solid hiring decision.
Not having a plan might also create inconsistencies between interviews. This alone will make it more difficult to assess your good-fit candidates fairly.
4 - Ask for permission before recording an interview
And explain to them what you are going to use the recording for. Consent is key.
5 - Have a plan B in case something goes wrong
Here again, 2020 taught us that if something can go wrong during a video conference, it will eventually happen. For this reason, you could ask your candidate for a phone number so that you can reach them in case one of you faces connectivity issues during the interview. If the video cuts out, give them a phone call and continue the conversation.
What are pre-recorded video interviews?
Pre-recorded video interviews refer to a type of interview where recruiters create and record video questions, to which job applicants reply by recording their own video answers.
Unlike in live interviews, in this format, recruiters and candidates don’t have to be present at the same time for the interview to happen. They can record and send their videos whenever and wherever they feel like it.
This gives a lot of flexibility for both of the parties involved as there’s no scheduling involved in the early stages of the process.
When are pre-recorded video interviews most used?
>Pre-recorded video interviews are widely used as a screening method to filter important numbers of candidates during the early stages
With pre-recorded video interviews, you can ask your candidates anything you want, so you want to use this opportunity wisely. Create your interview questions based on the main recruitment criteria — this will help you identify the most suitable candidates right away.
When in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues for feedback before recording your questions.
2 - Ask three to five questions
No need to swamp candidates with a ton of questions. Ask what you need to know about them to move forward.
3 - Give your candidates clear guidelines for video answers
You can’t expect your candidates to figure everything out on their own.
Tell them exactly what is expected from them. Just as you would in a job offer, making your expectations clear to increase the likeliness to receive high-quality video answers and to provide a positive candidate experience.
When giving your instructions, avoid ambiguity as much as you can. Let’s take an example.
Don’t say: “Please keep your video answers short”. Instead, consider saying “Keep your answer under a minute and a half”.
Using a tool like Recright, you can set a time limit to let candidates know what you expect from them.
All types of video interviews provide ways for you to offer an innovative hiring process and differentiate yourself from your competitors. Using video interviews also goes hand in hand with employer branding and candidate experience.