Telephone and Video Interviews
The use of technology to improve interviewing is an ever-growing area, not least right now when much of the world must be ‘socially distant’ from each other.
At the more techy end of the spectrum, Tengai is a recruiter AI designed to eliminate bias in interviewing; Mya Systems, a San Francisco-based HR tech company developed a recruiter robot to increase recruiting efficiency as early as 2016. At the other end of the scale, some employers will simply make use of a good old-fashioned telephone interview.
Long-distance interviews have been used in the early stages of the recruitment process for some time, and The Institute of Student Employers found around 50% of its members had used video interviewing. At the time of writing (May 2020) this will obviously be more like 100%, and it’s likely that once they’ve discovered the benefits, some employers may not go back.
As far as possible you should treat them as you would any other interview. They may be “live” interviews with an interviewer – for example on Skype, Zoom or by telephone – or they may be pre-recorded questions that you answer on video for review by the firm at a later time. The most important fact to remember is that the employer wants to find out the same information as they would face-to-face, and the questions that you will be asked will be similar to those in a standard interview. As such, your preparation needs to be just as thorough.
If you are invited to a pre-recorded video interview, you will be sent a link in advance and will need to log in to a system where there will be a series of pre-recorded questions to answer. This system means you do not have to travel to face-to-face interviews, and unlike a telephone interview you are able to communicate using body language too. There is, however, no opportunity for interaction with the interviewer.
Recruiters use pre-recorded interviews because they save time and resources in the early stages of large recruitment exercises. They ensure a degree of fairness as all candidates are answering the same standardised questions in the same format. Some pre-recorded interviews may go through an initial review by AI as well as or instead of a human reviewer but it seems likely that employers will want to retain significant elements of human evaluation to ensure quality and fairness.
There's been a large jump in the prevalence of pre-recorded video interviewing in recent years. A survey by the Institute of Student Employers revealed that 42% of its members had used them. Recent research shows that they're currently (2021) being used by employers including the UK Civil Service, Newton Europe, PwC, Wellcome, Fidelity, Johnson & Johnson, BT, and FDM Group.
- Consider the advice given above for video interviews with regard to presentation and preparation. If you have a pre-recorded interview coming up, it's especially worth recording yourself to assess how you look/sound, and how you come across.
- Speak clearly and enunciate – there is no opportunity for the interviewer to ask for clarification.
- Once you have begun you are not usually allowed to rewind or restart the interview, but there may be the opportunity to try a practice question before the recorded questions start.
- Often you will be able to pause the interview after you have answered one question and before you move onto the next. However, you are usually not allowed to pause after you have heard the question and before you start answering, so ensure you have done sufficient preparation in advance.
- Usually, you are only given one shot at an answer. However, if you are allowed to make several attempts, try to get it right sooner rather than later; a big video interview provider has found that multiple attempts may begin to dilute a clear message.
- There may also be an element of time pressure built in, for example, you may be given the question, have 15 seconds to consider your answer before an additional 60 seconds to record your answer.