What Is Video Interviewing? A Complete Beginner’s Guide

What Is Video Interviewing? - A Complete Beginners Guide

The traditional approach to interviewing is changing. Gone are the days when large pools of candidates were invited in for in-person interviews based solely on written resumes. Video interviewing is the new normal.



As the growth of social media and streaming services demonstrate, video is here to stay.  Progressive human resources and hiring managers are aware of the trend and have brought video interviewing into the recruiting process in a major way.

The results are rich in benefits for both the hiring company and the candidate.  Gone are the days that are full of phone or in-person interviews. For the company, video interviewing adds a layer of auditory and visual cues that phone interviewing doesn’t offer. For the candidate, there’s no longer a need to take multiple days off work to travel to the interviewer’s location.  For both parties, we’re talking a big-time savings of time and money.

It’s for all these reasons that video interviewing is growing rapidly in popularity. No doubt there are benefits to phone conversations and in-person interviews — they are ideal solutions in certain situations –but it does make great sense to use them sparingly when improved decision-making and time efficiency can be achieved through video technology.

In this article, we’ll outline the different types of video interviews, how they can be used to spot top candidates, and where each fits into the recruiting process.

What is Video Interviewing?

Video interviewing is exactly what it sounds like. It replaces or supplements the process of in-person or phone interviewing with the help of technology, such as a software application, a web camera, and an interviewer.

Today, there are numerous consumer video applications, like Skype or Google Meet. While these enable live video chat and are very useful in a variety of business situations, they lack many of the tools needed specifically by human resources and hiring managers on the one hand and candidates on the other.

The alternative to consumer video applications are specialized web-based video interviewing applications.  Let’s take a closer look.

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What are the Types of Video Interviews?

There are two types of video interviews that work best for hiring managers and recruiters.

Live video interview

In this scenario, the interviewer will prepare a list of questions that they’ll ask of the candidate. Next, both parties will join the video application and the interview will proceed from there. This option is basically like a live interview, but it’s taking place via video.

One-way (automated) video interview

With this method, questions are provided to the candidate and the candidate records a video response for each answer and submits back to the company via the web-based application. Ideally, the web-based video interviewing software you use will allow you to compare the video responses to each question side-by-side. Better yet, if commenting is allowed, human resources and hiring managers can share their feedback within the application rather than the typical confusing mix of email or phone conversations about the candidates.

What Is Video Interviewing? - A Complete Beginners Guide

When Does it Make Sense to Use Video Interviewing?

Video interviewing is ideal in several hiring scenarios.

First, if you have a large number of candidates that have applied for the role, video interviewing is a great way to decide who moves into the second or third round of the hiring process.  One-way video interviews are, by definition, recorded, and live video interviews can be easily recorded, and each can be shared with team members. This differs from phone conversations which are typically one and done.

Video interviewing is also helpful when a number of your candidates aren’t geographically located near your office.  You can open up the field to a wider range of candidates if you’re prepared to consider out-of-state candidates that are willing to relocate.  You can use video interviewing several times early in the process to gauge if you want to invite them into your office.

Also, bringing many candidates into the office early on can be time-consuming for human resources and the hiring manager. Many managers don’t have the hours in a day  to interview the early pool of candidates. Video interviewing is an effective way for for the hiring party team to collaboratively narrow the field down to top candidates only.

A recruitment strategy guides your entire hiring process. Learn why you need one: Top 10 Recruitment Strategies

If your company is fully-remote or has a high percentage of remote employees, there’s no reason you can’t use video interviewing as a means to screen the best candidates. Remote companies use video to conduct meetings and team reviews, so why can’t it work efficiently and effectively for the hiring process?  It can.

How to Use Video Interviewing for Recruitment and Hiring

While you might be wondering when you should use live video interviewing versus one-way video interviewing as part of the recruiting process, the answer might be something you don’t expect: it’s typically very useful to incorporate both.

To help you determine what makes the most sense in your own recruiting process, here’s a scenario that incorporates both live and automated video interviews.

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Begin the Hiring Process with One-Way Video Interviewing

Naturally, the first step in the hiring process begins with human resources or the hiring manager posting the job. Once the posting period has closed and enough resumes have been received, the hiring manager moves on to the next phase of the process.

Next, typically an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) or hiring manager reviews the resumes as part of an initial screening effort. A great way to do this is to match up your established job requirements with the submitted resumes and eliminate any candidates that don’t meet the most basic qualifications.

Often, the hiring manager will reach out via phone to clarify information in the resume and/or conduct an informal first interview. These phone calls , however, are time consuming to schedule and time consuming to conduct.  Most importantly, phone screening doesn’t allow for visual observation of the candidate, who may project behavioral cues that indicate he or she is or isn’t a good match for your company.

As an alternative to phone calls, human resources or the hiring managers may send an email to clarify information in the resume or address any questions they have, but this method is severely limited in the information it is capable of gathering.  Email responses provide neither auditory nor visual observations of the candidate.

The third option in this instance is  one-way video interviewing. One-way video responses to a select group of questions allows for visual observation of the candidate along with auditory observation.  Human resources and the hiring manager can review the candidate responses on their own time and utilizing the tools available in the application, such as a feature to compare candidate responses side by side.

Sample Questions to Use in One-Way Video Interviewing

For example, you might ask the following questions via your one-way video interview questionnaire to help you determine who to keep moving forward:

  • What do you know about our company?
  • What makes you interested in this role?
  • What part of your experience makes you qualified for this role?
  • What’s the toughest problem you were able to solve? How?
  • If you were building a team of former co-workers, who would you recruit and why?
  • Describe your ideal work environment.

For more top video interview question tips, check out 12 Video Interview Tips to Crush Your Next Job Interview

Reviewing one-way video responses to these types of questions, human resources and the hiring manager can reduce the pool down to the top candidates through individual or collaborative decision making, including comment and rating features.

Now that you’ve narrowed the field and you have your list of top candidates, this could be an excellent time to utilize live video interviewing.  Live interviews can be conducted in person or via live video interview.

What Is Video Interviewing? - A Complete Beginners Guide

The Final Phase of the Hiring Process

In the next round you can either invite candidates for an in person interview or conduct live video interviews.  If your candidate pool is still rather large, you may conduct a round of live video interviews before you invite the final group for in-person interviews.

Live interviews are ideal when the candidate is geographically nearby and you have multiple in-house team members that wish to meet with the candidate. The format allows you to see how the candidate personally interacts with multiple team members, something not possible with video interviewing.

However, if your company is 100 percent remote or the candidate is applying for a role that doesn’t report to your headquarters, then live video interviewing is a great way to effectively interview this round of candidates. By removing geographic limitations, you can open up the pool of candidates to include a wider range of experiences.

After you’ve finished all your interviews, then it’s time to select your candidate. With recorded live or one-way video interviews, human resources and hiring manager, teams can rewatch interviews as many times as needed. Collaborative commenting and ratings also make it easier to compare your final round of candidates.

Once your ready to make an offer, you might even ask your candidate of choice to join you for a live video session so that you can share the good news with them and get a glimpse of their excitement to join your team!

In Summary

While every hiring scenario is different, live or one-way video interviewing can help streamline your hiring process for both the company and the candidates. With video, you eliminate travel time and open up the field to a wider range of candidates.

By asking the same set of questions of each candidate with the use of video, the stage is set for a fair comparison of all candidates. Video also removes the need for geographic proximity yet provides the same auditory and visual cues that are culled from in-person interviews.

In today’s video-centric culture, video interviews are now easier than ever given the technology in place. With in-person meetings being as time-consuming as they are for everyone involved, it is critically important to limit such interviews to the top candidates only. One-way and live video interviewing can sharpen decision-making when evaluating candidates, shorten the time to hire, and reduce recruitment budgets.

One-way video interviewing by HelloCecil will help you spot top job candidates faster. See it for yourself at hellocecil.com