Pros and Cons of Video Interviewing Contract Candidates

Technology is changing the way we do almost everything, and it seems that job interviews are no exception. With the advent of Skype and other Internet video tools, video interviewing is supplementing, and in some cases replacing, the traditional in-person job interview process.

But is it right for you and your clients? You may want to consider the following pros and cons before deciding:

Pros Cons
  • Save travel costs for long-distance candidates.
  • Expedites interview process
  • Can assess "body language," which is not
    possible in phone interviews
  • Convenient for candidate
  • Video interviews can be recorded for review later.
  • A "green" alternative to having candidates travel for interviews
  • Candidate must have access to the Internet and a Web cam
  • Technical problems could hamper interview.
  • Must be careful not to disqualify candidate based on protected class (race, disability, etc.) learned about through video
  • Candidates may be uncomfortable in front of a camera.

There are a variety of options for video interviewing, ranging from Skype's free service to fee-based services that offer advanced features (e.g., allowing a large number of people on the video call). Typically, video interviewing options can be broken down into two types:

  1. Live - These are the kind that are performed on Skype where both the interviewer and candidate are present and interact with each other on the video.
  2. Recorded - Interview questions are sent to the candidate, and they record their answers online via their Web cams for the employer to review later. There is no interviewer present.  These are often used in place of phone interviews to pre-screen multiple candidates.

Video interviews may be worth a look, especially if you are placing contractors.  Contract positions often need to be filled quickly, and the candidates are often remote, making video interviews an attractive option.

Debbie Fledderjohann is the President of Top Echelon Contracting, Inc.

Views: 1278

Comment by Valentino Martinez on January 14, 2012 at 1:41pm


Another informative post. Thanks, Debbie--.

On bullet point:

  •  Technical problems could hamper interview.

Not only can a technical malfunction with a video taped interview hamper the interview it can lead to bigger problems and actually reflect badly on an employer who conducts the interview regardless of the problem.

I witnessed one where the interviewer admitted that she “could only hear every other word”, and was struggling to understand what was being said, but continued with the interview anyway.  The interviewee was clearly uncomfortable, repeating himself and could be seen leaning forward straining to hear and understand the questions.  His body language was indicative of an unhappy camper…yet the interviewer pushed through ticking off questions as if it was more important to rattle them off for the record then to acknowledge she did clearly not understand the responses.  It appeared on tape that she was determined to rush through the interview for the record.  The logic had to be, “I’ll make the best of a bad situation.  I’m here; you’re here—let’s do this.”

The problem with this experience was that it was captured on tape.  It captured the VP of HR, of a respected family owned company, arriving late, apologizing as she dropped her purse, coat and Day-Planner on a nearby chair; asking someone off-screen for the candidate’s resume; getting it and scanning the resume all the time talking about how she had yet another appointment she would be running late to as well. 

When the interviewee first acknowledged the VP and tried to introduce himself, the VP, squinting at the screen--at the candidate acknowledged that she could only hear every other word—indicating she was not clearly understanding him. The interview went badly with one trying to understand the other.  The VP occasionally looked up from her note taking and finally ended the interview.  Standing up, collecting her belongings, the VP of HR apologized once again for running late and having to leave early—with no mention of the technical difficulties.  The tape showed the interviewee sitting rather dejected in stunned silence after the interview.

That tape now has the potential to be Exhibit “A” in a future deposition requested by the EEOC and/or it can be used as a training tape on “How not to conduct and interview”.

So, Debbi--this taped interview experience qualifies for both the Pros and Cons of Video Interviewing Contract or Direct Candidates—because it has ramifications across the board for interviewers, interviewees, employers and legal entities.

Comment by Debbie Fledderjohann on January 16, 2012 at 10:19am

Thank you for sharing this story, Valentino.  It's a good cautionary tale for anyone who is considering using video interviewing. Like anything else, it can be a great tool, but only if it works properly!


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