How to Create a Video Interview to Find Strong Talent

Video interviewing remains popular among hiring managers, even as the pandemic wanes and life gets back to some kind of normal. But there are many different types of video interview options, and how can you create a video interview that helps you find and hire the strongest talent?

One option for video interviews is to conduct them exactly as you would in person – through Zoom or Teams, or some other software platform. The evaluators join the video call, and your candidates respond to questions just as they would in a normal interview. Plus, you can even record the interview for easy playback and comparison between candidates (so long as you have the candidate’s permission to record, of course).

But using this type of video interview is limiting. It has all the drawbacks of the in-person interview – coordinating schedules, taking time out of everyone’s schedule, negatively impacted by bias, just to name a few), plus a few new interview woes. Things like connectivity issues, technical problems, sharing important and thoughtful information while you’re accidentally on mute. All the hiccups of your regular Zoom meetings, but with higher stakes – for both your hiring team and the candidates.

A better option is to use a video interviewing platform – specifically one that allows for asynchronous interviews.  These video interviews are designed to ease the burden associated with the traditional interviewing style. An asynchronous video interview allows you to pre-record your questions, lets candidates take the interview whenever and wherever works best for them, and enables your hiring team to review interviews at any time that works for their busy schedules.

This type of interview is also inherently structured, ensuring that each of your candidates have the same experience and opportunity to present their qualifications.

Here are the five things you need to know in order to create a video interview that helps you choose the strongest candidates.

 

1.  Define the attributes you most want to assess

Research shows that it’s important to limit the number of traits you want to evaluate in any one recruitment exercise – and that includes interviews. The goal of this is to keep the criteria distinct to avoid overloading the evaluator, allowing them to clearly find the strongest match. When you create a video interview, be sure to define exactly what you’re looking to evaluate during it.

On top of that, limiting the scope of your interview provides a range of benefits. It keeps your video interview a manageable length for evaluators. The shorter length also helps to maintain. candidate engagement throughout the process. Plus, you can broaden your talent pool to attract a wide range of candidates. When you’re putting together your interview, it’s important to build it around the most critical attributes for success in the role. Let’s look at some examples of how to do this.

To help you select what is most important you might consider, ask yourself some questions. What characteristics, knowledge or skills would make – or break – someone in this role? What will a successful candidate have to do every day? How might this role change over the next 1-2 years?

If you have a job description, you can choose to only evaluate the essential criteria for the role. If you have an organizational competency framework, you can select the most relevant competencies for the position. Finally, if you’re using a personality assessment like the Employee Personality Profile, you can use the interview question suggestions to guide the interview and evaluate traits associated with success in the role.

 

2. Choose your questions carefully

Once you know the attributes you’ve decided to assess in your interview, it’s time to start crafting your questions.

In traditional job interviews, time is usually spent at the beginning putting the candidate at ease with rapport-building questions. These are questions like “tell us a little bit about yourself” or other icebreakers. In a similar way, you can use a practice question at the beginning of your video interviewing process as a “getting to know you” type question. These questions shouldn’t be formally assessed, but they give the candidate a chance to get comfortable with using the technology and answering questions, all while providing some information about themselves.

Again, the types of questions you’re asking in your interview need to be based on the information you’re trying to glean from this part of the process. Whether you choose to use trait-based questions, competency-based questions or questions to evaluate a candidate’s capability to perform essential aspects of the role, just make sure they’re designed to help you understand which candidate is the strongest fit.

A common – and evidence-supported – interview question type is one that is based on past behavior. These questions work well, as they require candidates to have experience in the attribute being evaluated and insight into their professional approach. Here’s an example: “Tell me about a time when you deal with a challenging customer.” If a candidate can confidently answer this question type, it often substantiates the skills they have listed on their resume.

Another great type of question use in your interview is the situational question, which asks how a candidate would behave in a given situation. For example: “How would you deal with a customer who was unhappy with service they had received?” This type of question is especially helpful for understanding how well a candidate might respond in situations that are unique to your industry or the role.

Both question types have been shown to relate to job performance, so choose whichever is most suited to your candidate pool. And be sure to consider how each question helps you gain insight into who will be best suited for the position, based on the traits you’ve designed the questions around.

 

3. Structure your interviews

Introducing structure to interviews has been shown time and time again to lead to more reliable and job-related outcomes. More structure means a stronger relationship between the interview and job performance, meaning you’ll create a video interview that leads to better hires.

That’s because all candidates receive the same questions, in the same way, in the same order. And since the criteria against which candidates are rated is specific, unconscious biases is less likely to impact assessment ratings, and more likely that ratings are driven by candidate performance against job-relevant criteria.

Overall, structuring your interviews means more consistency from one candidate to another, so you can more easily identify the strongest performers. At the end of the day, structured interviews help you make well-informed hiring decisions.

If you use Criteria’s video interviewing platform, you’ve already added one of the most important elements of structure – asking the same questions to every candidate! One of the major drawbacks of a traditional interview is that it’s surprisingly easy to wander off-course when talking to your candidates, leading to an inconsistent interview experience.

The next way to add structure is based on how interview performance gets evaluated. There are different ways you can use interview ratings to add consistency to evaluations, reduce bias and improve the predictiveness of your video interviews.

Evidence shows that using the most descriptive rating scales possible will help to improve consistency. These rubrics help evaluators be clear on what “good” looks like for every interview question or trait you’re evaluating. For example, you could base your interview rating scales on your organization’s existing competency description and rating scale, if you have it available.

If not, the key is to explicitly define the attribute you are looking to assess and make sure this description is clear to evaluators. The more specific you can be about what each rating means in terms of that attribute, the better off you’ll be.

For example, describing what 1 star looks like and what 5 stars looks like for a question rating, or 1 versus 5 versus 10 when rating attributes. There are multiple ways to develop evaluation guides to help build consistency into your process which will improve the predictive power of your video interviews. Choose the one that works for your process – and stick with it!

 

4. Consider DE&I

If you want every candidate to have an equal chance, everyone who applies for the same role should go through an identical recruitment process. You have consistent information about each candidate on which to base decision-making. However, to enable equal opportunities for all, equity practices should be used where fair and relevant.

Equity is about recognizing that societal systems produce complex mixtures of privilege and disadvantage, dependent on multiple factors. Equity efforts can help level the playing field and provide equal opportunity of outcome for all.

Some examples of equity practices include providing extra time for a candidate to prepare a response, or even allowing a candidate multiple takes in their video interview.

There are many other ways you can use video interviewing that results in more diverse and inclusive outcomes. For example, hiding names and videos and disguising candidates’ voices can remove bias from the experience. Criteria’s video interview platform has these built-in blind hiring options available so you can reduce bias in your hiring process.

 

5. Combine Video Interviews with Assessments

Structured video interviews provide information about a candidate’s suitability for a role, beyond the objective data gathered with assessments. Assessments help to evaluate skills that are harder to piece together in an interview setting, like cognitive aptitude and personality.

Cognitive aptitude refers to someone’s ability to solve problems, learn and apply new knowledge and skills, and make complex decisions. It is the strongest predictor of job performance of any individual characteristic. Aptitude tells us about the candidate’s potential to perform.

Personality testing, on the other hand, tells us more about how someone is likely to behave in the workplace. This type of assessment helps us understand how a candidate interacts with others in the workplace, their preferred style of work, and what motivates them. It’s powerful because people who are more suited to their role tasks will be more engaged and satisfied, and therefore more productive.

Think about a sales role where you have two potential candidates with the same cognitive ability score. But one is social, outgoing, and really motivated by targets, and the other is quiet and motivated by collaborating with others. Who do you think is going to make more sales and be happier doing it?

Using a video interview after an assessment can help to dig into a candidate’s fit for specific attributes required in the role. In combination with their video interview performance, you can get a clear picture of who will be most likely to succeed at your organization.

 

By clearly defining the more important attributes for the role and by designing questions to tap into these traits, competencies, or capabilities, you will create a video interview process that is reliable and fair. And with their clear structure, your evaluators will be better equipped to find the strongest applicants in your talent pool. Especially if you take the time to provide them with descriptive rating scales to evaluate candidate performance.

Combine your video interview with relevant pre-hire assessments to boost the predictive power of your overall recruitment process. Finally, build out your recruitment process with equity in mind to make it as accessible as possible for a diverse range of candidates. Taking these steps will help you find the best candidates, no matter what role you’re hiring for.