Being a relatively new phenomenon in the recruiting circles, pre-recorded and live video interviews often get mistaken for one another. Since many people use the umbrella term “video interviews” when talking about pre-recorded and/or live interviews, it is very easy to get the two mixed up. To break you out of the confusion, in this blog post, we’ll explain to you what these two types are, when to use them, and give you some tips.
Live video interviews
Live video interviews are video calls executed in an interview format. Such interviews can be conducted through basic video conferencing tools like Google Hangouts, Skype, or with the help of a video recruitment platform. Some platforms (like ours) also allow recruiters to record the interview to be watched and analyzed later.
Live interviews are an effective alternative to face-to-face interviews when in-person meetings are difficult to arrange. Compared to face-to-face interviews, live interviews don’t require recruiters and candidates to travel to the meeting location, which can save a lot of time and money for both parties. However, recruiters and candidates still need to be present at the same time for the interview to happen, so scheduling is necessary.
Tips for conducting live interviews:
- Do a technical trial run before the actual interview. Make sure your tools are functioning properly to prevent any technical problems from happening during the interview. Check if your camera is working, test your microphone, and ensure that you have a strong internet connection. An internet connection with a bandwidth speed of at least 1 megabits per second is ideal.
- Use a scheduling tool to spare yourself and your candidate all the back and forth. Scheduling can become the most time-consuming part of the interview process, so using tools like Calendly can help you save a lot of time and create a positive candidate and recruiter experience. Some recruitment platforms, including ours, offer a scheduling feature, allowing you to manage everything for a video interview in one place.
- Prepare a set of open-ended interview questions and have a structure. Without a proper plan and a list of questions, you risk asking leading questions or questions that don’t reveal important information to help you make a solid hiring decision. You might also accidentally ask all your candidates different questions, which can lead to high interviewer bias and make it hard for you to assess your candidates fairly.
- If you want to record the interview, ask your candidate for permission to do so and explain to them what you are going to use the recording for. Consent is important.
- Have a plan B in case something goes wrong. For example, you could ask your candidate for a phone number where you can reach them in case you lose an internet connection during the interview. If the video cuts out, you can call them at that number and continue the conversation.
Pre-recorded video interview
Pre-recorded video interviews refer to an interview format where recruiters create video questions, to which candidates reply by recording their 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, and they can make their videos whenever and wherever they wish. This gives a lot of flexibility for both of the parties involved and doesn’t require any scheduling.
Pre-recorded video interviews are widely used as a screening method to filter candidates at an early stage. They’re easy to conduct, provide more information about the candidates than CVs and cover letters, and are more efficient than phone interviews. Such interviews give a clear picture of the people behind the resume and help recruiters navigate through the flood of applications.
In pre-recorded video interviews, recruiters ask all the candidates the same set of questions in the same order. All candidates get an equal opportunity to answer the questions and showcase themselves to the recruiter. This provides consistency in the interview process and allows recruiters to compare and evaluate the answers fairly. The video answers can also be shared with colleagues and customers, which will reduce the personal biases of each individual.
Tips for conducting pre-recorded video interviews
- Prepare your list of questions carefully. With pre-recorded video interviews, you can ask your candidates anything you want, so you want to use this opportunity wisely. Create your questions based on the main recruitment criteria—this will help you identify the most suitable candidates right away.
- Ask three to five questions. Since video interviews aim to make the recruiting process more efficient for both the recruiters and the candidates, we emphasize that less is more.
- Give your candidates clear guidelines for video answers. You can’t expect your candidates to figure things out on their own, so you need to tell them exactly what is expected from them. By making your expectations clear, you’re more likely to get quality video answers, and you ensure a positive candidate experience. When giving your instructions, avoid ambiguity as much as you can. For example, instead of saying “Please keep your video answers short”, consider saying “Keep your answer under a minute and a half”.
- Use pre-recorded video interviews to promote your company culture. For example, you could record a "welcome video" where you introduce your team to the candidate and give an idea of what it’s like to be a part of your organization. And in your "thank you" video you could also inform your candidates about the next steps in the recruitment process or direct them to relevant employer branding materials.
To wrap it up
Live and pre-recorded interviews serve different purposes and can be both used in the same recruitment process - initial screening carried out by pre-recorded video interviews and then first-round of the interviews and the final interview arranged by live interviews. It’s possible to use live interviews for screening too, but pre-recorded video interviews would be a much better fit for this purpose. There are also three different ways to do pre-recorded video interviews, and you can choose which one to use depending on your recruitment needs.
Video interviews provide ways for you to become innovative with your recruiting and separate yourself from your competitors. Using video interviews also goes hand in hand with employer branding and candidate experience. If you want to learn more about video interviews and video recruitment, feel free to reach out to us and be sure to check out our ultimate (ungated) guide covering nearly everything you need to know about the subject.