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Is The Video Interview Here to Stay?

August 1, 2019

As selection experts, we are consistently being tasked with creating innovative solutions that will create greater efficiency, but still engage candidates. Technology continues to evolve and allows us to respond to these challenges. One emerging trend that more companies are considering is video-based interviewing.  A more traditional approach to video-based interviewing is using technology to conduct a two-way interview. A newer approach to video-based interviewing is using an on-demand, asynchronous interview in which candidates record their responses to a series of questions. The latter is a step forward in increasing efficiency in the process.

Looking into the Future of Hiring with the Video Interview

Asynchronous video interviewing provides much more flexibility to interviewers and candidates. Interviewers and candidates are not bound to scheduling challenges. They also do not have to worry about time zone differences. Instead, candidates can respond to the interview questions at their own convenience. This could ultimately save the company time and money as well as broaden the pool of candidates to review.

There are some unknowns when using video-based interviewing, as with much new technology. Since you are at the mercy of technology, a strong internet connection is essential to avoid possible delays in response time or moments of disconnection. Additionally, previous research has shown some preliminary evidence that applicants tend to accept technology-mediated interviews less favorably.

What Does the Research Say?

Overall, not much research has been conducted looking specifically at video-based interviews and whether they are as effective as face-to-face, structured interviews, which have strong evidence for predicting job performance. At the most recent Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology conference, there were some studies shared to help advance our understanding of this form of technology:

  • Langer and colleagues compared participant perceptions towards video-conference interviews and automated one-way interviews. They found that automated interviews were perceived as having less social presence, which negatively impacted organizational attractiveness. Using automated interviews eliminates the ability for candidates to connect with other individuals and this causes less favorable reactions. A good way to combat this is to be sure to offer a point of contact during the hiring process so the candidate has a resource for questions and can get a feel for the culture of your organization. On the positive side, automated interviews were observed as being more consistent, which is important for procedural justice and fairness perceptions.

  • In an effort to determine how applicant reactions towards video interviewing could be enhanced, Basch & Melchers investigated what impact the invitation verbiage has. They manipulated the use of explanations within the interview invitation. They found that including explanations of standardization and consistency enhanced perceptions of fairness and including explanations of flexibility enhanced perceptions of usability. Meaning, there are ways that we can proactively change perceptions of candidates by framing.

In examining some of PSI’s applicant reaction data using asynchronous interviews, we are seeing favorable applicant reactions. Candidates are particularly attracted to the ease and convenience of the interview. Further, they see the company as being more innovative for using the solution. Overall, the tool is seen as positive, innovative, and enjoyable.

What do we make of these seemingly discrepant findings of mixed results on applicant reactions? It all comes down to how we use the technology and how we frame the use of the technology. The norm for interviews is a two-way conversation. Anything that breaks this norm will likely be met with resistance. Framing the video interview as a "screen" may be a good way to ease the resistance. Additionally, just because you are taking interviewers out of the process, it’s still important to embed this process with types of information that the candidate may get in an interview and keep it as brand-forward and engaging as possible. As with any new technology, positives come with potential limitations, but they are not insurmountable. 

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Alissa Parr, Ph.D. Alissa Parr, Ph.D. is a Senior Consultant at PSI. Her areas of expertise include the development, implementation, and evaluation of assessment processes. Alissa has experience managing entry-level through executive level assessment and selection efforts across a number of different industries including government, financial, military, education, healthcare, and manufacturing.