How to hire via video

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Recruiters are harnessing video interview techniques to up their game, and they know there’s a right way to go about it


Modern recruitment is increasingly about speed and agility. As the pace of business accelerates, recruiters are often tasked with short-notice hires for roles that need filling “yesterday”. 

The traditional process of poring over someone’s CV, having a quick call and then meeting in person can be timely. And it can be disappointing when someone’s personality doesn’t live up to the dazzling impression they made on paper. For this reason, recruiters are recognising the benefits of video calls as a hack for getting to the right candidates more quickly – and bypassing those who are the wrong fit. In fact, according to Tazio, 40% of employers now regularly use some kind of video interview platform as an initial step towards vetting potential employees and finding the right people for their team. 

In terms of practicality, video-interview methods are a game-changer for recruiters. They can mean less travelling around for meetings with candidates in different locations, and reduced expenses. Pre-recorded video-interview responses sent over by candidates let recruiters make more of a like-for-like comparison of people’s performances, rather than relying on written notes and memory. And, unlike phone interviews, recruiters can get a sense of non-verbal cues, such as body language, to better understand an interviewee’s personality. Video-interviewing tech also helps recruiters cast their net wider and reach candidates further afield at the touch of a button (rather than a long-haul flight, or expensive phone call). And they help to soften the blow of no-shows – much less time is wasted if all a recruiter has to do is shut their laptop, rather than schlep home having been stood up by an unprofessional interviewee.

The format also gives recruiters the opportunity to create a strong first impression of the company the candidate is interviewing for – in a way that’s not possible with phone interviews. For example, a recruiters might wish to curate a branded introductory video that shows candidates exactly what a company’s culture is like, rather than telling them. This could be a montage of employee- video testimonials, spliced together with footage of the workspace; the team at work; and staff benefits such as corporate-travel incentives. It’s an effective way of selling a role to a candidate, and of winning them over by helping them better visualise what their future could be like.

At the same time, there can sometimes be something that gets lost in the remote, digital nature of using video to fill all job roles. Video interviews aren’t really conducive to filling certain technical roles – and an in-person interview might be necessary for assessing a candidate’s skills. When hiring for the design or software development sectors, the recruiter might want to see the candidate perform a task, to seek their hard skills at play. And the video-interview format is heavily reliant on verbal communication, so it lends itself to scenario-based questioning. So instead, a better alternative might be to set candidates a task and get them to record a follow-up video presentation explaining their choices. This way, recruiters see both a demonstration of a candidates’ skills and their ability to communicate and discuss their work with others.

It’s also worth bearing in mind a candidate’s experience. Video interviews are more stressful for some people than having a face-to-face conversation, and they may not feel their most natural selves when staring down the lens of a camera (conversely, they might react more casually and fail to perform their best). It also pays to think about the cumulative effect of applying for several jobs over video: according to Vervoe, when candidates are asked to answer three or more video questions, completion rates drop by 17%.

When contemplating video interviews, then, recruiters might wish to consider how it can best be combined with other techniques to really get the most out of candidates; save time and money; and best represent their client. Used sparingly yet effectively, video interviews are a valuable string that recruiters can add to their bow.


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