09/30/2022 Getwork

What are one-way interviews?

Everything you need to know about one-way interviews

We’ve all become familiar with remote interviewing processes over recent years, but lots of companies, particularly in technology and finance, are disconnecting even further from candidates with one-way interviews. 

These are an opportunity for an employer to set questions that shortlisted candidates answer on video, without anyone else actually sitting there. 

Is this new technology taking things too far?

What are one-way interviews?

One-way video interviews allow employers to sit back and relax away from first-round interviews, with candidates asked questions by a computer. Jobseekers submit their responses so that employers can vet applicants more efficiently. 

According to unpublished data, 61% of recruitment and HR technology leaders use one-way technology to conduct interviews. 

Some employers have lauded one-way interviews as the ultimate time saver. Allowing recruiters to put a greater number of capable applicants through to the first round, simply viewing short video snippets rather than having to plan and schedule interviews. For candidates, these interviews can be conducted at home, in their own time, with no need to schedule this around their busy working day. 

Some businesses are going one step further and reducing time by using AI technology to screen these interviews. Different technologies screen for different things that are then used to score applications. Everything from facial expressions, to clothing, and what’s in the background have all been known to inform AI interview decisions. Other systems, like myInterview, create a transcript from the interview which is then scanned for personality traits, rather like resume reading technology.

Do one-way interviews have an impact on hiring bias?

One might hope that AI would reduce bias in interview processes, ensuring that the right candidates get through to the next stage. However, research conducted by Ifeoma Ajunwa, an associate professor of Law at the University of North Carolina’s Law School and the founding director of the artificial intelligence and decision-making research program, has shown that automated technologies not only replicate the bias they were meant to prevent but actually amplify it. 

Other studies have shown that facial scan algorithmic bias favors white people. 

They say, don’t judge a book by its cover but with some recruiters stating that they spend a matter of seconds looking at a resume, when the same is applied to how much of a video someone watches, decisions are based just on first impressions. When AI is taken out of this equation, without an opportunity to build a rapport, hiring managers could unconsciously make a judgement about a candidate based on their appearance, age, gender, race, or disability. 

Additionally, this process discriminates against potential candidates without a webcam or who have a disability that hinders them from providing a video.

How do applicants feel about one-way interviews?

Younger job seekers may feel more comfortable with this format, especially those who are used to being on camera on platforms like TikTok. For those who are less comfortable watching just their face on the screen, the lack of back and forth is off-putting. 

Without a person asking for clarification of an acronym or a piece of data, and without some simple pleasantries at the beginning, many candidates are criticizing the robotic nature of a one-way interview. 

Interview processes are historically a two-way process, with candidates also interviewing the suitability of a business as their potential employer. A one-way process robs hiring managers of the opportunity to upsell their business, build a connection with a great candidate, and create a positive candidate experience. 

Nearly half of US job seekers in industries that are in demand like technology and banking have turned down an offer because of a bad recruiting experience, and resoundingly candidates dislike one-way interview processes. 

Across forums, and subreddits applicants have criticized one-way interviews as a waste of time, with many saying that they will actually drop out of the application process altogether.

Should my business be adopting one-way interviews?

The main time-saving that comes with one-to-one interviews is scheduling time, as recruiters need to still watch the recordings and/or assess the machine’s shortlist. 

With the recruitment market currently so incredibly competitive, one-way interviews really don’t give employers a competitive edge. In fact, they could miss out on some of the best candidates who know that they don’t need to go through one-way interviews to secure a role. 

Employers miss out on key opportunities to sell their business, build a rapport with candidates, and secure the best candidate for the job.

How else can I reduce the time spent on application processes? 

Create a detailed job specification. Not only does this make it very clear to candidates what you’re looking for, but it also makes the hiring teams’ lives easier, as they can score candidates against exactly what you’re looking for. Avoid buzzwords and vague phrases and instead, make things clear and to the point. 

In terms of candidate experience, you’ll get fewer applications from candidates who think they might fit the job specification but they’re not really sure, and more who know they’re right for the job and have tailored their application to reflect this.

Invest in scheduling software. Again, this has internal and external benefits. Firstly, it automates the process of finding clear slots in the entire panel’s calendars. Secondly, job seekers can choose a slot that works for their calendar, avoiding back and forth. 

Include pre-screening questions in your application. A lot of the questions asked during one-way interviews can be covered in a pre-screening questionnaire that applicants must submit as part of their application. To make this as accessible as possible, you can offer the opportunity for candidates to submit these answers in a variety of ways, including video and audio. 

Train your hiring teams in screening resumes. Without prior experience in doing so, hiring teams can be left overwhelmed by resumes. Provide training so that the shortlist for the next stage is reduced and so that your employees can make decisions as efficiently as possible. 

Carry out short screening calls. Just 15-30 minutes can provide enough insight into whether culturally a candidate is the right fit, and they’ve got the knowledge and skills you need. Ask just a few short questions. Again, this is a fantastic way of reducing the pile of applicants. 

Technology has been a fantastic aid to recruitment processes, enabling teams to streamline their application and onboarding processes. However, there is always a line, and candidate experience is key. It’s time to distance ourselves from one-way interviews for good.