What You Need to Know About Automated One-Way Video Interviews

Illustration from freepik

HR is going through a renaissance right now. With more cutting-edge technologies and evolving employee needs, everyone working in the industry is racing to keep up.

One-way videos are one of these defining new elements of recruitment, and they’re forcing rapid change.

Pre-screening has been a part of recruitment for a while now.

In most cases, this takes the form of aptitude or personality tests or even the occasional phone pre-screening. On the rise is the number of companies who are making the switch to automated pre-screening via one-way videos.

While one-way video interviews aren’t new, they’re rapidly becoming the new normal in recruitment.

But, how do they actually work and how are they beneficial for job seekers as well as HR teams?

One-way video interviews explained

In the commercial world, videos are being disseminated and watched with ever-increasing frequency.

Just as a recruitment video can be used to improve the candidate experience, video interviews are the latest way for employers to pre-screen applicants.

Using one-way videos entails applicants answering pre-set questions using the cameras and microphones on their phones or laptops.

They then send these video interviews to the employer.

Illustration from freepik

While traditional job interviews are a conversation, a one-way video is an applicant recording their pre-screening answers and sending them via video message.

Employers develop the questions they want answers to and then automate the sending of these directly to applicants. They’ll go through each video reviewing the responses they’ve received.

Successful applicants then move on to the next stage of the interview process.

All businesses benefit from improved processes, whether this relates to recruiting or product development.

Hiring is one of the many business processes examples where there’s a lot of room for improvement, and one-way video is fast becoming a useful solution.

Why use one-way video interviews?

A real-time, face-to-face interview takes time. Both the applicant and interviewer have to allocate time out of their day to attend, and candidates often have to travel to get there.

That eliminates many from the hiring pool because the distance is naturally a factor when looking for work.

With automated one-way video interviews, candidates can get through the pre-screening stage in their own time and from their own homes.

Asynchronous communication for remote teams has already become standard for many firms, and automated one-way video interviews are simply the latest example of this being utilized by HR teams, employers, and recruitment firms.

The benefits of automated video interviews for employers

Video interviews aren’t intended to be a replacement for traditional face-to-face interviews.

Instead, they’re a way to narrow down a pool of applicants so time can be dedicated to meeting only the most suitable people.

There are plenty of benefits to this approach, particularly for employers. These include:

1) Time and money savings

Screening every applicant for a vacancy takes time, and time is money.

However, with one-way video interviews, recruiters can use a similar type of email software to marketing teams to send out an automated message containing pre-screening questions.

This reduces pressure on the HR team.

2) Early insights

Phone interviews only ever give a partial insight into the suitability of an applicant.

You can — and should — be using the best VoIP speakerphone, but recruiters may also want to see body language and facial expressions during the pre-screening process.

One-way video interviews mean hiring teams can analyze visual cues too, making it easier to narrow down the best talent early on in the hiring process.



In-person interviews require careful scheduling, and not everyone who should be in the interview room can necessarily make it.

With video interviews, everyone that needs to review applicants can do so in their own time.

More applicants

With more remote workers than ever, employers are finding geography is less of a factor in hiring than it used to be.

Rather than requiring applicants to travel long distances for an interview, one-way videos can be recorded anywhere and at any time.

The benefits of automated video interviews for candidates

Streamlining recruitment via automated one-way video interviews also benefits applicants.

When firms start using these pre-screening methods, candidates gain the following upsides:

Faster hiring

Pre-screening speeds up the hiring process.

One-way video interviews mean candidates can be more easily narrowed down, seen by recruiters faster, and are required to spend less time traveling to in-person interviews.

An additional opportunity to stand out

A one-way video also adds quality and depth to the pre-screening process, giving candidates an additional chance to shine.

Previously, recruiters relied only on resumes to narrow down applicants, which was disadvantageous to less-experienced job seekers.

Now, candidates for a position can use this visual platform to expand on the basic information contained in their resumes.

The process of automated one-way video interviews

New processes involving unfamiliar technology can be problematic for businesses and recruiters.

However, one-way video interviews are as straightforward as it gets.

Recruiters can have everything set up and ready to go quickly, and it’s as simple as learning how to enable wifi calling.

The process follows these simple steps.

  1. Write out the questions applicants will record answers to.
  2. Decide whether those questions will be presented in text form or using video segments. If the latter, recording these questions is the next step.
  3. Customize the interview in terms of time limits and the required length of answers.
  4. Set up automated email responses to applicants containing a link to the one-way video interview process.

When applicants have recorded their videos, they simply email them back to you so your recruiting team can review them.

As you can imagine, this dramatically cuts down the time spent on initial in-person interviews and ensures you only meet with suitable candidates.

Should I be using one-way video interviews?

Not every business or vacancy requires one-way video interviews. Here are some challenges:

  • Vacancies that have a high volume of applicants
  • Specialist roles with a long hiring process where placement speed is critical
  • The need for collaboration between different members of the hiring team
  • Filling remote roles when applicants might be anywhere in the country
  • To facilitate better management of recruitment budgets

Of course, the acceleration of the hiring process means HR earns valuable time.

This can be used in a number of ways down the line, such as to carry out more in-depth audio interviews using an online phone system when recruiting remote candidates.

HR can also learn more about each candidate in a shorter amount of time and can completely eradicate any scheduling difficulties.

Disadvantages of using automated one-way video interviews

Technology has benefited businesses in endless and unexpected ways. Brands can now use their VoIP systems to develop winning marketing strategies or chatbots to answer customer queries. However, as with any new tech, there are downsides when it comes to one-way video interviewing.

There are candidates who believe a one-way video interview harms their hiring experience.

That’s because it can feel more like an actor’s audition than a job interview.

Some potential applicants will never send off a recorded video because they get nervous about the process, stress over how they look or only want to send a video if they think it’s perfect.

There’s also the fact it takes time to record a video where applicants answer your questions.

Elements like lighting, background, sound quality and video editing all require preparation.

Illustration from iStock

In some cases, applicants that see one-way videos are part of the hiring process won’t bother and will continue their job search elsewhere.

While some people love one-way video interviews because they feel more comfortable than sitting face-to-face with a hiring manager, the simple fact is that they can also feel impersonal.

Even if the recruiter is using their own video to ask questions, the lack of responsive communication can be off-putting.

One of the most common criticisms of the one-way video interview is the fact it’s made up of a simple question-and-answer design. In this situation, many candidates will prefer using audio or text questions instead.

Setting up automated one-way video interviews

If you do decide to go down the one-way video route, there are plenty of apps, platforms, and tools available to guide you through the process of setting up. In most cases, it’s as simple as:

  • Creating the right questions using an available template.
  • Automating emails so applicants receive the request for a video when they submit their application.
  • Manually reviewing responses.

Videos are all the rage right now in the commercial world, and trends cover everything from vertical videos to TikTok.

In recruitment, one-way interviews are gradually replacing alternative pre-screening methods like aptitude tests.

This is a stage of recruiting that doesn’t necessarily benefit from the human touch and this allows companies to incorporate branding throughout the hiring process.

Automated one-way video interviews are becoming increasingly common.

They’re convenient for recruiters and job seekers alike, especially when geography has become less of a limiting factor for so many roles. However, they’re not a replacement for face-to-face interviews.

Instead, they’re a method of pre-screening that empowers HR teams and candidates.

They nullify the need for interactive pre-screening methods that take time to schedule and conduct.

In many cases, even a quick pre-screening call can take up to 45 minutes.

With one-way video interviews, however, recruiters can slash hiring times and narrow down applicants so face-to-face interviews can be conducted only with those who are most suitable.

If you’re planning on integrating automated one-way video interviews into your hiring process, take the time to do your research.

They aren’t suitable for every vacancy, but, when they’re used well and at the right time for the right role, the benefits are hard to ignore.

Author: Richard Conn is the Senior Director for Demand Generation at 8x8, a leading communication platform with an integrated contact center, private branch exchange, voice, video, and chat functionality. Richard is an analytical & results-driven digital marketing leader with a track record of achieving major ROI improvements in fast-paced, competitive B2B environments. Here is his LinkedIn.




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