The rise in the one-way job interview and it’s impact on candidate experience — Talent Works International

The last year has revolutionised recruitment. Among many other things, it’s forced a complete rethink of the interview process. We’ve been forced to find an alternative to face to face interviews, meaning a rise in virtual and video interviews. While talking to candidates over Zoom, Teams, or Skype has become the norm for many hiring managers, we’ve also seen the emergence of asynchronous video interview (AVI) platforms. Although some companies have used these as part of the recruitment process for many years, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a considerable uptake in their use. For example, HireVue has seen a 24% increase in its on-demand video interviews during the past year.

On these platforms, interviews become almost a one-way process. Candidates record their answers to specific questions and are often timed while doing so. There are some considerable advantages to using AVI platforms as part of a screening process. However, there are also some glaringly apparent disadvantages. So, we’re investing whether the one-way job interview really is the future of recruitment or if it’s going to cause more harm than good.

The advantages of AVI job interviews

Saves Time

Using AVI platforms as part of the candidate screening process ultimately saves a lot of time for both the candidate and the HR managers or interview team. It means that instead of taking half an hour to talk to each candidate, teams can watch all answers back to back in a small amount of time and then select which candidates to take further. It’s easier to compare and contrast but doesn’t mean scheduling various calls or meetups that take up some of the hiring managers time.

Convenient for candidates

With many autonomous video platforms, there comes a level of convenience that can enhance the candidate experience. We’ve all been there, having to try and fit in a job interview around your existing work commitments and trying to take time to leave the office; it’s never easy. Instead, with these platforms, candidates can record their answers at a time that suits them. Whether it’s first thing in the morning, on lunch or even after work really doesn’t matter, as long as they submit it before the deadline. In some ways, this gives the candidates a bit more power and allows them to work at a time that suits their personal lives.

Can involve more decision-makers

In a traditional interview, you’re limited to the number of people you can have in the room. Of course, we’d all like as many people to help make hiring decisions as possible but having a ten-person strong interview panel to hire a role becomes intimidating, makes candidates feel uncomfortable and won’t enhance your employer brand image. Therefore, having pre-recorded interviews from an AVI platform has the advantage of allowing numerous stakeholders and decision-makers to review candidates. In addition, if you’re not speaking with candidates directly, there’s no limit on the number of people who can be involved in the decision-making process.

Helps to manage high volume roles

If you have a role that’s in high demand and sees a massive volume of applicants, these platforms can add an extra level of screening to help you whittle down your shortlist. They provide an opportunity to learn more about a large number of candidates, more than you can gain from a CV but less than you’d learn from having a conversation. If you’ve received hundreds or even thousands of suitable applications, this can help add an extra level of detail to your screening process to help make a better-informed decision.

The disadvantages of AVI job interviews

Feels impersonal

The most significant disadvantage of AVI job interviews is that they lack the personal aspect of a job interview. An interview is a chance to have discussions and conversations and allow both parties to showcase their personalities and what makes them unique. By taking away this personal aspect, candidates may feel like you don’t want to speak to them and don’t care about them as individuals, which could impact your employer brand perceptions. You spend so much time at work, and the people you work with greatly influence whether you enjoy the role. Not speaking to anyone within the initial stages of a job application could be a huge red flag to candidates and create negative implications for your employer brand image.

Over-complicates the candidate experience

An autonomous interview doesn’t create the best candidate experience. Using another software opens the door for tech issues, and means candidates could be left frustrated when trying to complete their answers. For many, it means getting to grips with new software and adds another dimension of stress to ensure it’s working correctly. Adding an extra layer to the screening process means adding more work for the applicant — while for some jobs, this may be acceptable for others, it will just become an inconvenience, and they’ll look elsewhere. Finally, you have to put yourself in the candidates’ shoes. If a company asks you to go to the trouble of recording interview questions before you’ve even spoken to another person, is this creating the best impression for you, or does it feel like a waste of your time?

We’re advocates of a streamlined and straightforward candidate experience; the easier it is for them to apply and the more personable it feels, the better the reflection on your employer brand. However, over-complicating the candidate experience and adding in new dimensions for the sake of embracing new technologies won’t impress top talent. Let’s be honest, there are far more creative ways to show you’re a high-tech and innovative company than investing in AVI software.

Can’t portray your employer brand

A job interview is as much for the candidate to get a feel for your company as it is for you to assess the candidate. You want to know more about their background, skills and dedication, but they also want to learn more about the company they could potentially be working with for years to come. An interview is an excellent chance for candidates to get a feel for your employer brand; they can ask questions to your hiring managers and get a sense of the personality and culture behind your business. By not talking to anyone, they’re missing out on learning what a great place you are to work and forming connections with their future teammates or managers. If they don’t get a chance to resonate with your employer brand, it may put you on the back foot, and you risk losing out to competitors who have a more personalised candidate experience.

Restricts candidates

If candidates are restricted in terms of time and questions, they’ll struggle to get their true personality across. Interviews are stressful anyway, but to be pre-recorded with no one to talk to will only enhance this. Add in a time limit, and it’s a recipe for disaster. There’s only so much you can say when you’re being timed, and without anyone to respond and ask for more detail on certain aspects, it’s hard to get a completely clear picture. Having two-way conversations mean you can learn a lot more and ask questions to provide further detail. These platforms severely limit the possibilities and mean you can’t find out any more.

Also, savvy candidates will be so focused on using keywords that may be picked up by an algorithm that you won’t get a true sense of who they are and what they can do. Autonomous video interviews may create the impression that you’re screening through a computer and only selecting candidates based on specific words or phrases. This means the discussion will become more of a tick box exercise for applicants rather than a chance to show who they really are and what they’re capable of.

Can’t look outside of the box

If you limit your interview process to set questions and take out the elements of spontaneity that conversation brings, you’re limited in what you can learn about candidates. This means that you can’t think outside of the box when it comes to your perfect hire. We keep saying that your idea of the ideal candidate may have to flex and change in such a competitive tech recruitment market. To be possible, you need to have conversations and dig deeper into candidates’ skillsets and experience. If you’re limited in what you can ask and learn, you’re also limiting your possibilities. Without the art of conversation, you’re almost making a box for yourself and risking your organisation’s future diversity, which can have huge implications.

Therefore, with these aspects in mind, the autonomous job interview should never be used as a replacement for talking to candidates in person and having those important conversations. While they may save time and effort for your recruitment team, the candidate experience and personality behind your employer brand is far more critical to the recruitment process if you wish to recruit top talent.

While they may be a good idea for adding some extra screening if you have high-demand roles and a surge in applications. You can learn more about large numbers of candidates and make better informed hiring decisions.

However, as with any form of AI or automation in the recruitment process, it cannot ever replace the value of people and recruiters within an organisation. So if you’re looking to save time and resource, it may be more worthwhile to outsource your recruitment to experts who can screen candidates and have those initial conversations for you.

Originally published at https://www.talent-works.com on May 11, 2021.

Leading provider of global talent sourcing, recruitment intelligence, employer branding and creative communication solutions