Why Video Interviews Will Stick Around After the Pandemic

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The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to confront many of their most fundamental assumptions, from the necessity of 9-5 office work to how they hire, onboard, and retain employees. As we slowly move toward the resolution of this crisis, many companies are holding onto the tools and strategies they initially adopted as short-term measures.

In particular, remote work will remain the norm at many companies, and video interviews have become an increasingly critical part of the standard recruiting process for plenty of hiring leaders. That’s because video interviews can be so much more than simply holding conversations with candidates over Zoom. They can allow hiring managers to assess candidates more rigorously, showcase the company’s culture, reduce bias, and drastically improve the candidate experience.

In short, hiring managers have found that video interviews streamline the hiring process and make it more data-driven, inclusive, and predictive than traditional methods ever did. With those facts in mind, here are the major ways your company can use video interviews to make better hires regardless of whether they work remotely or in the office.

Make Interviews as Structured and Objective as Possible

The ultimate goal of any hiring process is to predict how a given candidate will perform on the job. The unstructured interviews hiring managers typically rely upon have a dismal track record of accomplishing this task. As a study in the journal Judgment and Decision Making explains, “Unstructured interviews are a ubiquitous tool for making screening decisions despite a vast literature suggesting they have little validity.”

Structured interviews offer a much more reliable alternative. To deploy them properly, companies should develop questions around a set of consistent criteria for each role to impartially evaluate each candidate according to the same set of questions. It’s also important to invite multiple evaluators with different perspectives to weigh in on each candidate, as this helps avoid bias and groupthink. Allowing interviewers to score each answer immediately after it’s given can also help mitigate primacy and recency effects.

Ultimately, one of the biggest reasons that structured interviews are so underutilized, despite the consensus that they work better, is that they can be tedious and unnatural to conduct in person. But video interview technology is uniquely positioned to enhance and even enforce structured interviews.

Think about the logistics of an in-person interview compared to a video interview. With an in-person interview, you may have every intention of conducting a structured interview, but once you have a candidate in the room with you, the conversation can go off into all kinds of tangents that can stoke unconscious bias. Once the interview is over, the interviewers will almost naturally congregate to discuss their immediate thoughts on the candidate before they even get the chance to independently fill out their rubrics.

With video interviews — especially asynchronous interviews recorded in advance — you can ensure every candidate is asked the same questions, making the conversation fairer for everyone. Once the video is recorded and submitted, each interviewer can independently view the recording, after which they can immediately rate the candidate on a predefined rubric before they get a chance to confer with the other interviewers. All of this ultimately leads to better, fairer, and more objective hiring decisions.

Show Candidates That You Value Diversity and Inclusion

A diverse workplace is a top priority for most candidates. According to a 2020 Glassdoor survey, 76 percent of job seekers say diversity is important when evaluating companies and job offers. This isn’t just because candidates value representation: Diverse companies are also more innovative, profitable, and engaging than their peers.

With video interviews, hiring managers can demonstrate that inclusion is a core focus at their companies. For example, companies can upload videos to demonstrate what the company is doing to promote equity. They can ask diverse staff members to submit interview questions for structured interviews, and they can ensure that evaluators of those interviews represent a broad range of identities, experiences, and perspectives. Some video interviewing platforms even enable you to conduct the interview blind by disabling the webcam and hiding personal information.

The global conversation about equity has never been so prevalent. Companies should use resources like video interviews to make candidates of all backgrounds feel welcome, showcase how they value different perspectives, and build more diverse and inclusive workplaces.

Focus on the Candidate Experience

Companies should always remember that the hiring process isn’t unidirectional. As interviewers assess candidates, those candidates are also carefully evaluating the company’s culture, jobs, and other relevant information that will help them decide where to work. According to a PwC survey, almost half of candidates in in-demand fields have turned down job offers due to bad recruiting experiences.

One of the best ways to give candidates a positive experience is to demonstrate that your hiring process is fair. Video interviews can help you accomplish this. For example, you can remind candidates that their responses will be assessed consistently according to a set of objective criteria. You can also consider hiding video, masking voices, or disguising names to reduce the possibility of bias.

Companies must also be cognizant of applicants with visible and nonvisible disabilities, and video interviews can help make the recruiting process fairer for all in this regard. For example, companies can adjust allotted response times, allow retakes, and level the playing field in many other ways through video interviews. To get a more well-rounded picture of a candidate, you can also use written work samples, which can give introverted candidates and those for whom English isn’t a first language a better chance to showcase their skills.

Video interview technology can also provide a more immersive experience that introduces a candidate to your employer brand. When you upload videos about what it’s like to work for your organization or recording interview questions and testimonials from real employees, you give candidates an inside look at your company in advance.

Digital video interviews make the hiring process more structured, evidence-based, and predictive. They help companies advertise and improve the diversity of their workforces, and they provide experiences that will make all candidates feel like they’ve been treated fairly. These are all reasons why video interviews will play a key role in companies’ efforts to build the workforces of the future.

Jane Bianchini is vice president of video interviewing at Criteria.

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By Jane Bianchini