4 Red Flags to Look for During Video Interviews


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Video interviews are becoming increasingly common as companies aim to cut the cost of hiring without compromising results.

Whether your video interviews consist of a live two-way conversation, or you submit questions to candidates in advance, you can use the medium to gain an in-depth first impression of a candidate. You’re provided with the chance to scope out the most promising candidates and spot any red flags – without all the fuss associated with in-person interviews.

#1 Messy background
When you start to review the candidate’s video responses, you’ll inevitably notice the background behind the candidate. The state of the background is one of the more obvious signs of how seriously a candidate is taking the interview.

Have they bothered to clean and tidy? If they haven’t, you should already be concerned about their suitability for the role. This approach may seem harsh, but if a candidate hasn’t made the effort to tidy a small portion of a room for your interview, how can you expect them to put any effort in at work?

#2 Prompts, notes and robotic answers
Although some interviewers are happy for candidates to take notes at an interview, or maybe even prepare a list of their own questions to ask their potential employer, relying on notes to answer basic interview questions is a huge red flag.

During video interviews, it may be less obvious if an employee is relying on notes. If you see their eyes darting elsewhere on the screen and hear (or see) that they’re clicking their laptop’s mouse or touchpad, they may possibly have some notes open in another program.

Candidates who continually look to one side of the screen during their answers may have some prompt cards prepared. It’s up to you to decide if and how you will penalize these applicants.

Where candidates submit recorded answers, you expect them to be well-rehearsed – but if the answers seem robotic and unnatural, they might have taken them directly from a website and failed to make them their own.

To avoid these problems, select questions that are specialized and in-depth rather than generic and easy-to-research.

#3 Wrong environment
A conscientious candidate will have carefully chosen the site of their video interview. Ideally, candidates would take part from the quiet corner of a cafe or a room in their house where they won’t be interrupted. If the interviewee has chosen the wrong location, they will be constantly distracted, the lighting will be poor and other people (or pets!) might walk into shot.

If candidates are required to submit their answers within a stated timeframe, it should be even more of a worry if they’re unable to find the right environment for a half-hour recording session at any point during that period.

#4 Timing and organization issues
Turning up late for a video interview is inexcusable. Competent candidates will have sorted out technical issues well in advance of their interview slot, and will be ready to go 10 minutes before the call is due.

Where video responses to interview questions are recorded and submitted, failure to complete responses on time should be an immediate and obvious red flag for employers to notice.

Generally, we’d say that the presence of one of these red flags isn’t too much to be concerned about, but multiple red flags are a sign that the candidate’s application should be put to one side.

It’s important to remember that video interviews shouldn’t be viewed as an opportunity to catch candidates out, but as a chance to learn more about a candidate’s fit for your company.

Author: Ashley Morgan

Ashley is the Director of Marketing at HiringThing, an award-winner online recruiting software provider dedicated to changing the way businesses hire talent. Questions? Contact HiringThing Marketing.