Video interviewing, is it still a useful assessment tool in 2023?

Video interviewing, video interview
Jennifer Davies
Reading time:
7 mins
April 27, 2023

Video interviews, also known as pre-recorded interviews (PRIs), are not a new concept. However, with many recruiters facing a squeeze on time, resources and budget, they can be a valuable tool to improve the recruitment process.

Video interviewing gained popularity around ten years ago and has remained a firm favourite, with many organisations using them to sift candidates quickly and effectively.

They replaced some of the more labour-intensive screening methods, such as telephone interviewing. For recruiters, the admin around booking and conducting telephone interviews demands lots of resources and absorbs valuable recruiter time, which could be spent more effectively elsewhere.

In addition, the lack of flexibility around scheduled telephone interviews can be challenging to manage for a busy candidate who may be juggling study, work or family commitments. 

What's so great about video interviewing?

On the flip side, video interviewing offers a range of positives that outweigh the constraints of telephoning screening:

Convenience and Flexibility: Pre-recorded video interviews can be conducted at a convenient time for the candidate, allowing them to participate in the interview process without taking time off work or making other concessions.

Assessment of Communication Skills: PRIs can help assess a candidate's communication skills, as they provide an opportunity for candidates to articulate their answers to questions clearly and concisely.

Consistency and Fairness: Pre-recorded video interviews provide a consistent experience for all candidates, ensuring that everyone is asked the same questions and given the same amount of time to respond. This helps to ensure that the hiring process is fair and objective.

Improved Candidate Engagement: Video interviews can help engage candidates in the hiring process, as they allow candidates to showcase their personality and enthusiasm for the role.

Better Candidate Assessment: Pre-recorded video interviews can help to assess a candidate's fit for the role and company culture. By seeing and hearing candidates respond to questions, employers can gain a better understanding of a candidate's values, motivations, and work style.

Accessibility and reasonable adjustment: Offer extended timings for candidates requiring reasonable adjustment. Some candidates prefer to record their answers as audio-only, and this great alternative offers virtually the same level of information about a candidate as the traditional video interview.

Overall, pre-recorded video interviews can effectively deliver a great candidate experience and identify top talent in the hiring process.

How to ensure your video interviews are successful

It's worth considering some potential pitfalls of video interviews and how you can mitigate their impact.

Problem: Lack of Personal Connection: PRIs can be seen as impersonal and lack the connection that is present in face-to-face interviews. This may make it more challenging to assess a candidate's fit with the company culture or build rapport with the candidate.

Solution: Include video introductions from existing employees, show the candidate the human side of the organisation, how you work and what it's like to be part of your team. 

Problem: Limited Interaction: There isn't direct interaction between the candidate and the interviewer, which may make assessing the candidate's communication and interpersonal skills more difficult.

Solution: Select questions that allow your candidate to demonstrate their skills. Ensure your candidate is kept in the loop with regular and informative communications throughout the hiring process.

Problem: Technical Issues: As part of the process, candidates need to have access to the necessary technology (a laptop, tablet or mobile) and a stable internet connection. Technical issues with the video or audio quality can make it difficult to assess a candidate's responses or cause frustration for the candidate.

Solution: Always offer a practice video interview so candidates can test their equipment and experience the interview style before starting the real thing. Select a PRI provider whose platform supports all devices, including mobile phones.

Consider running a tech check webinar on high-volume campaigns so candidates can discuss their concerns before taking the interview. Provide an FAQ to candidates as part of the invitation communication.

Problem: Potential for Bias: There can be a risk of unconscious bias in the selection of pre-recorded video interview questions or in the assessment of the candidate's responses. It's essential to ensure that questions are fair and objective and that the assessment process is standardised.

Solution: Train your assessor team and provide a competency framework that they can use to assess the candidate responses and score consistently.

It is important to use PRIs as part of a comprehensive hiring process that includes other types of assessments and interactions with the candidate. Additionally, clear communication and instructions should be provided to candidates to ensure they are comfortable with the technology and have a positive experience.

What types of question should you use for an effective video interview?

The best question types will depend on the specific role and company and the skills and qualities most important for success in the position. However, here are some general types of questions that can be effective in pre-recorded video interviews:

Behavioural Questions: These questions ask candidates to describe how they have handled specific situations in the past, such as "Can you tell us about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer?"

Technical Questions: These questions assess a candidate's knowledge and skills in the specific area relevant to the job, such as "What is your experience with [specific software]?"

Values and Culture Fit Questions: These questions assess a candidate's values and whether they align with the company's culture, such as "Can you describe what a great team dynamic means to you?"

Open-ended Questions: These questions allow candidates to showcase their personality and communication skills, such as "What motivates you in your work?"

Scenario-based Questions: These questions ask candidates to imagine how they would handle hypothetical situations, such as "How would you handle a project where the client keeps changing the scope of the work?"

It's important to ask a mix of questions that are both specific to the job and company, as well as questions that assess broader skills and values. Additionally, ensure that the questions are easy to understand and that candidates are given enough time to provide thoughtful and complete answers.

Five ways pre-recorded interviews help recruiters

Time-saving: PRIs allow recruiters to review candidate responses at a time suited to them rather than having to schedule and conduct live interviews.

Scalability: Large numbers of candidates can be assessed in a short space of time, which can be especially helpful when recruiting for high-volume or entry-level roles.

Effective assessment: Recruiters can assess a candidate's communication skills, personality, and cultural fit, without the need for a live interview.

Better Collaboration: Hiring managers, team members, and other stakeholders can review and provide feedback on candidate responses.

Improved Candidate Experience: Pre-recorded interviews provide a more convenient and flexible candidate experience. This improved CX can also help attract top talent.

AI and Pre-recorded interview

As the use of AI increases throughout modern life, some organisations have adopted the technology as part of their PRI review process. AI-powered interview tools are often viewed as time and resources. AI algorithms can analyse candidates' recorded responses to interview questions to provide insights into their skills, personality traits, and suitability for the role.

However, it's important to note that AI should not be the deciding factor of a candidate's suitability for a role. There are several reasons to exercise caution before using AI in candidate selection.

Biases in the data: AI is only as good as the data it is trained on, and it can sometimes produce biased or inaccurate results. For example, if an AI algorithm is trained on historical data that reflects gender or racial biases, it may be more likely to recommend candidates who fit those same biases. This can result in discrimination and unequal hiring outcomes.

Lack of transparency: Another potential negative of using AI in candidate selection is that it can be difficult to understand how the algorithm makes its decisions. This lack of transparency can make it challenging to identify and address any biases or errors in the system.

AI should ideally be used in conjunction with human judgment and decision-making to ensure that the hiring process is fair and objective. 

Technical issues: AI algorithms can also be prone to technical problems, such as bugs or glitches, which can affect their accuracy and reliability. For example, an algorithm may misinterpret a candidate's responses if there is background noise or if the candidate has a strong accent.

Legal risks: Using AI in candidate selection also carries legal risks. If an AI algorithm is found to be discriminatory or to violate equal opportunity laws, the organisation using it may be subject to legal action.

There have been several real-life examples of the potential negative impacts of using AI in candidate selection. For instance, Amazon scrapped an AI recruitment tool in 2018 after it was found to be biased against women. The algorithm had been trained on resumes submitted to Amazon over a 10-year period, which were predominantly from male candidates, leading the system to unfairly favour male candidates. Similarly, the UK-based recruitment firm, Shortlist, faced criticism in 2019 when it was found that its AI-powered candidate selection tool was biased against candidates with disabilities. 

These examples illustrate the importance of carefully considering AI's potential risks and drawbacks in candidate selection.


Overall, pre-recorded interviews are a valuable tool for recruiters, helping them to streamline the hiring process, assess candidates more effectively, and improve the candidate experience. 

If designed correctly, they can be a great way of communicating your brand and values. With the right questions, recruiters can gain insight into a candidate's skills, experience and aptitude for the role. The flexibility of video interviewing for both recruiter and candidate makes them an attractive and beneficial part of the recruitment process. 

Find out more about our video interviews here, or call 02922 331 888 to speak to one our friendly sales team.

Jennifer Davies

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