Video Job Interview – The Good, Bad, and the Ugly

A video job interview in recruiting creates manageable content, although very few ATS or HRMS systems allow video storage.  The benefit of being able to edit, store, and convert to the appropriate information format for evaluating candidates or future consideration of a new opening.  

The three types of video job interview are:

  1. One-Way Video Job Interview: whereby the recruiter posts questions in the form of yes/no, multiple choice, or requiring a direct reply and the candidate can answer the questions.  Most often, the candidate can review the questions and rehearse/formulate their answers in practice sessions.  These are always recorded.
  2. Two-Way Video Job Interview: whereby there is a live interaction between the recruiter and the candidate and is often recorded.
  3. Group Video Job Interview:  whereby the candidate faces an interview panel and the entire interview is recorded.

Benefits / Disadvantages of the Video Job Interview

The one-way type is very basic and for lower level positions where a body or limited skills and experiences may be all that is required, this method certainly enables a pre-screening of dozens, if not hundreds of applicants.  In the one-way video job interview in recruiting, there is no live interaction between the recruiter/interviewer and the candidate/interviewee.  While many believe the one way video interview offers unique advantage of enabling the candidate to likely provide honest answers without panicking or being under undue stress, this is folly in thinking.

The problem is not dishonesty, rather skewered embellishments.  Secondly while the idea is that by not seeing the candidate first, this preempts some type of discrimination or bias, those subconscious biases will come into play once the recruiter views the recorded video job interview.

Finally, a major disadvantage is that the recruiter cannot challenge the candidate’s answers nor visually see eye/mouth/facial and body movements and tonal differentiations in the challenges that recruiters trained in behavioral interviewing techniques could make a proper assessment of.

The two-way video job interview in recruiting has the advantage of the recruiter witnessing changes in body movements/expressions (hands, eyes, mouth, sweating) and tonal changes.

The ability to challenge answers and delve deeper into particular areas of the interview is a huge benefit over one-way interviews.  There are two disadvantages:  one is the limited time that recruiters have  to conduct an X number of two-way video interviews each week; the second is more difficult to measure as it is preferable to have more than one interviewer whose style, technical or behavioral assessment skills may be better suited for certain types of questions and interaction.

The group video job interview in recruiting is the most difficult to schedule and if not planned properly can result in a disastrous outcome.  A group video interview is similar to a panel interview in-person.  In my 25+ years in executive search, sadly 70% of all panel interviews are poorly structured and result in sometimes unfair evaluations.

Time  and time again I had clients refuse to collaborate with me in giving me the foundation and structure of the panel interview and the personalities involved leaving me the sad situation of not being able to fully prepare the candidate for the panel interview or relying solely upon the client’s group decision about which candidate to hire.  As any seasoned retained recruiter knows – taking the recruiter out of that final process means we cannot advise on which candidate we feel is the one to hire in this case.

Properly Plan the Video Interview in Recruiting

It took me several years to come up with the right solution.  Before a candidate is presented on the short list, we have already conducted psychometric testing and weighted against the behavioral and DISC surveys of the hiring team as at the beginning of the search, we conduct confidential online based 15 minute surveys of the direct reports, reporting to, internal and external customers the role we are filling is involved with.  By averaging the values, relationships, work style, motivations, and decision making traits of the client team, we are certain the candidates who best fit that culture are presented.

The added benefit is because we know the individual client members traits, as recruiters we are in a unique position to advise on the structure and responsibilities of the individual panel members as well as the overall group interview.   What we find is that the panel video job interview in recruiting structures are often hastily organized or dominated by one person.  A senior recruiter’s expert advice in group/panel interviews is greatly appreciated by clients.

Solutions for a more Effective Video Job Interview in Recruiting

The benefits and disadvantages of the video job interview in recruiting that are outlined above do showcase that video interviews are evolving tools which confer a company or business entity with the advantages of cost-efficiency and excellent time management which in turn reduce the losses (and some overhead costs) thereby optimizing the overall value of the company.

After presenting a short list of candidates with complete dossiers including analysis of skills/expertise, relevant accomplishments and problem solving methods used documented; contacts and relationships documented, behavioral and team fit analysis completed; social media reputation report and comprehensive background checks completed.

Since the Hiring Manager now knows everything about the selected candidates presented, the lead recruiter working on the cyber security, wireless, or power systems search works with him/her in developing a short set of hypothetical and situational questions for those candidates.  These are designed to get witness the candidates’ reasoning and thought processing skills in how they would handle a known situation or a possible issue/trend.

Those finalists’ assessments and video job interview are delivered to the client.  This also best prepares the Hiring Team to properly structure a group panel video interview for recruiting when scheduling conflicts and time differences preclude a 1st round of face-to-face interviews.

In this digital age, new challenges in utilizing the video job interview in recruiting will arise as new mobile Internet apps develop. Of course, the video interview in recruiting will never eliminate the need and human touch of face-to-face interviews.

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Comment by Keith Halperin on June 27, 2014 at 9:54pm

Thanks, Charles. If someone isn't remote, why bother VI'ng them as opposed to having them come in?           Also, the better/cheaper real-time, HD video gets, the less you'll need to have people come in to the office towork, unless it absolutely requires physical presence. Execs/managers will have to try and look important in ways besides having many physical people working near them.


Comment by Charles Moore on June 27, 2014 at 11:46pm

It is well known that Hiring Managers and their team that conduct interviews spend too much time in the face-to-face interview screening the candidates and asking for information the recruiter failed to provide.  If the Hiring Team has ALL of the information as I mentioned above, the only items left (which even psychometric testing/analysis and comparing/scoring to Client team profile cannot fully answer what I call the intangibles.  

Since the situational scenario and hypothetical reasoning question each are developed between the recruiter and the Hiring Manager, it gives a very good window into how someone communicates externally OUTSIDE of the team/direct report/co-workers.    

If the recruiter does their job as stated above (due diligence), the F2F interviews should focus on "Let's talk about what you'll be doing coming on board" and each of the hiring team focuses on interacting and getting real answers to how the candidate will accomplish the tasks and meet the objectives of the role.  Those interviewing the candidate is either someone he/she reports to or is an "internal customer" (although in many of the interviews I prepare Clients for I convince them to add an external customer when it is a customer-focused role in the F2F interview).  

As for remote workers, an engineer or sales person yes can work remote.  But a CXO or VP who intends on being remote will at the beginning need to spend "time" with the team as well as the 3-4 months of actual executive onboarding (not that orientation crap).  


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