Video interviewing: Improving selection interviews

In today’s article, we look at new developments in video interviewing that may herald a similar revolutionary shift in the use and application of interviews as was the case with structured versus unstructured interviewing many years ago.

Studies such as Hunter and Schmidt’s (1998) and Robertson and Smith’s (2001) meta-analysis of selection instruments and predictive validity routinely reveal the limitations of unstructured, traditional interviewing.

In part, the lack of consistency inherent in interviewing, combined with well-documented interpersonal biases largely account for the poor showing of interviews as a selection tool.

To counter such deficits, IO Psychologists advocated the use of structured, competency-based interviewing methods.

While these have substantially improved predictive validity of interviewing, the application of the structured methodology is often inconsistent across interviewers and interviewees.

Video interviewing is an emerging technology that could address such limitations.

Video interviews: The basics 

Video interviewing systems are mostly similar in the following aspects:

  • Interviewers can select a standard set of questions to pose to all interviewees (these are often competency-based questions but don’t have to be).
  • Since interviewees record their responses to questions using their own mobile devices’ video cameras, they can choose when and where to complete the interviews.
  • Universal scoring keys facilitate consistency across interviewers taking part in the selection panel.
  • Interviewers can also choose the time and place for scoring interview answers. Therefore, panels need not convene or coordinate diaries as was once the case in traditional face-to-face interviews.

Other than the process sketched above, a technology that will increasingly be applied to the scoring of interview responses is machine learning.

By combining machine learning with natural language recognition, contemporary video interview systems may soon assist interviewers in rating responses based on best practice algorithms.

We are cautiously optimistic that the emerging technology of video interviewing holds the promise of revitalizing traditional interviewing.

Why? Here are a few advantages of video interviewing we think will prove decisive:

Video interviewing ensures greater consistency

A major culprit of traditional interviewing’s poor showing in predicting fit to role is its inconsistent application across different candidates.

Depending on the interviewing panel, the time of day, or the moods of the interviewers, traditional interviews may be experienced very differently among candidates applying for the same position.

In turn, the lack of consistency leads to unreliable and noisy interview data that cannot be productively cross-compared.

Since video interviewing does not depend on the availability or presence of an interview panel, the interviewing experience can be more consistent. The same questions are posed to all interviewees, using the same interface and the same scoring rubric.

As a result, interview data ought to have far greater consistency and comparability.

Video interviewing offers more seamless integration with psychometrics

Video interviewing relies on a technology platform similar to those already delivering psychometric assessments to candidates.

Consequently, integrating data from video interviews and traditional psychometric assessments is far easier and more efficient. In addition, it may encourage panel members to see interview data as just another modality of assessing fit-to-role alongside psychometric measures.

This may prevent interview data from overpowering or even excluding psychometric findings as is often the case with traditional, unstructured interviewing.

Video interviewing improves efficiency

Anyone who has ever conducted traditional interviews will know that a common frustration is juggling all interview panel members’ diaries to accommodate the availability of interviewees. More often than not, interviews have to be arranged after hours or at inconvenient times for all concerned.

In contrast, video interviewing is a self-directed process. Interviewees can select the best time and place to answer interview questions, thus ensuring that they put their best foot forward and reducing adverse impact due to time of day or similar constraints.

For interviewers, video interviewing offers the convenience of not having to coordinate the diaries of all panel members. Consequently, interviews can be conducted more efficiently and rapidly.

Video interviewing can improve candidate experience

In previous articles, we’ve discussed the growing importance of candidate experience in selection and recruitment practices. Interviews are often the weak link in this experience chain because of their poor consistency and dependence on panel members being fully engaged in the process.

With video interviewing, recruitment specialists and IO practitioners can design a seamless experience for candidates that delivers on-brand messaging and positive previews of the employment environment.

In addition, the intuitive and technologically sophisticated nature of video interviewing is likely to enhance the company’s image among technologically savvy and sophisticated recruits, such as in the case of graduate recruitment and selection.

Video interviewing provides scalable utility

An often-overlooked disadvantage of traditional face-to-face interviewing is its cost.

The time and opportunity costs of having several senior staff members take hours out of their workday can be substantial. In addition, time needs to be allocated for discussions and training in interview methods.

Video interviewing offers a more scalable, cost-efficient solution. Since time-intensive logistics of arranging interviews and coordinating diaries are no longer needed, the focus can shift to increasing the potential pool of candidates.

Rating and scoring of interview answers are streamlined because of consistent scoring rubrics, guided by an intuitive interface for interviewers.

Video interviewing opens opportunities for machine learning and AI

The rise of machine learning and artificial intelligence as powerful adjuncts to talent management processes is especially relevant to video interviewing.

While much validation research is still needed, it seems clear that natural language recognition and similar technologies may well revolutionise the way we conduct interviews.

By already being embedded in a technology platform, video interviewing is ideally positioned for organisations who want to leverage the potential benefits of machine learning and AI in this regard.

Closing thoughts

Given the overwhelming evidence against the predictive power of traditional manager-led, unstructured interviewing, more defensible alternatives are essential.

At least in part, interviews’ longevity may well be due to people’s inherent need for some form of face-to-face contact with prospective hires. Unfortunately, the methods associated with traditional interviewing come with a host of disadvantages that outweigh their ostensible benefits.

At TTS, we welcome the integration of the latest technology available to IO Practitioners with best practice thinking. In this regard, video interviewing holds significant promise and may allow for more predictive interviewing data for talent decision-making purposes.

Currently, we are conducting product testing with video interviewing systems from our best-of-breed assessment providers. If your organisation may be interested in being part of product testing or if you would like to know more about TTS’s future-proof solutions, contact us at:




Robertson, I. T. and Smith, M. (2001), Personnel selection. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 74: 441-472.

Schmidt, Frank & E. Hunter, John. (1998). The Validity and Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology. Psychological Bulletin. 124. 262-274.