One-Way Interviews: 7 Pitfalls to Watch Out For

assessment

What is a one-way interview?

One-way interviews, often referred to as pre-recorded, on-demand, or asynchronous interviews, have gained popularity with the rise of technology and remote work. These interviews require job candidates to record responses live to employer-provided questions via video or audio within a given time frame, similar to an audition tape. This method allows candidates to complete the interview independently, providing flexibility and convenience for both the interviewer and the interviewee.

What are the pitfalls of a one-way interview?

Despite the purported benefits of one-way interviewing, the format may cause more problems than they solve, and the downsides of one-way interviews may be less well-known than the espoused benefits. For this reason, employers need to understand the negatives of a one-way interview before implementing it as a selection device in recruitment and hiring processes. We’ve outlined seven pitfalls to watch out for if you are considering implementing the one-way interview.

1. A turn-off to top talent. 

Candidate reactions to one-way video interviews are a primary issue. Not all applicants will be comfortable recording themselves, which could negatively affect their performance. One-way interviews can also give off the impression to candidates that the employer does not have time to talk to them, which may decrease the level of effort candidates put into their interview responses. Results from a 2015 Industry View study indicate that 57% of applicants prefer a live, two-way video interview versus a one-way interview. An essential reason behind this finding is that two-way interviews allow applicants to see body language and other cues that provide subtle feedback at the moment-taken together, employers using one-way interview risk losing top talent for the position.

2. Biased hiring processes.

One-way interviewing increases the risk of introducing unconscious bias at the earliest stages of the hiring process. The nature of one-way interviewing creates a context in which hiring managers are at risk of making judgments about applicants based on aspects that are not job-related (e.g., age, gender, race, disability). These unconscious biases can be detrimental to the selection process, especially considering how one-way interviews do not allow hiring managers to engage in conversation with applicants. The applicant may also wonder if an audio/video recording is only requested to assess the candidate’s demographic characteristics. Lastly, using one-way interviews can discriminate against candidates who do not have access to a webcam or recording device, as well as candidates who have a disability that hinders them from providing an audio/video recording.

3. Reliance on technology. 

While many more people work remotely today, many workers have struggled to adapt to a new remote workspace. While some workers may have an ideal remote office, others may not have the best setup for virtual interviews. Issues with hardware or the internet could hinder qualified applicants in the hiring process, leading to hiring managers making inadvertent judgments about candidates based on the quality of their technology.

4. No probing. 

Another negative aspect of one-way interviewing is the inability to probe after a short response. Probes are essential for the interview because they allow for further clarification from applicants on their responses to interview questions. Live, two-way interviews provide the opportunity to probe candidates, such as if the question is confusing or if they need to elaborate more on their responses. Probes offer the advantage of learning about applicants’ qualities, skills, and experience. 

5. Depersonalized and dehumanized. 

In addition to one-way interviews being a general turn-off to candidates, they depersonalize and dehumanize the interviewing experience. Two-way interviewing allows candidates to evaluate the interviewer’s body language and evaluate their responses by the interviewer’s reaction to them. One-way interviews do not provide real-time feedback from the interview, which can prompt candidates to adjust their behavior and responses. Moreover, employers miss out on establishing meaningful relationships with potential employees. One-way interviews can give the impression that the hiring process has been dehumanized and reduced to an algorithm, making candidates feel like a statistic rather than a unique, valued individual. In this regard, using one-way interviewing risks hurting your organizational reputation and losing qualified candidates.

6. Time limitations. 

One-way interviews typically set time limits for applicants to respond, which is problematic for multiple reasons. The time limit creates a countdown timer so that candidates can see how much time they have remaining; however, these countdown clocks make the interview more stressful. Some systems may allow candidates to playback and re-record responses but usually only provide a few chances to change their response, which may be too restrictive for camera-shy candidates. Time limits also force answers to cut off when the time runs out. This contributes to greater frustration for candidates who cannot meet live with a human who would understand they need more time to respond to the interview question.

7. No Q&A. 

Most interview formats provide an opportunity for a Q&A session at the end of the interview, except for one-way interviews. The Q&A segment is crucial in interviewing because it allows candidates to ask questions about the role and the organization they are applying to. This hinders employers’ opportunities to promote their company. Although a realistic job preview could be provided (pre-recorded) by the employer, the candidate will not have the opportunity to ask further questions to clarify if they are a good fit for the position. The purpose of interviewing is to help employers evaluate potential employees and assist candidates in assessing the company to see if they would be a good fit. These reciprocal evaluations are best executed during real-time two-way conversations, something nearly impossible to do under the structure of a one-way interview.

Conclusion

One-way interviews may seem like an easy win because they save time and money. However, the ultimate goal of interviewing is to help determine the value of potential candidates for an open position without creating undue stress, biases, or burdens in the process. Consider this: why should candidates put all the effort into recording themselves in a one-way interview without the organization providing them any personalized interaction or investment? Changing or eliminating one-way interviews might save your company from losing top talent for critical job openings, who are likely turned off by one-way interviews. 

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