Video interview dropout rates. Are you putting applicants off?


When an applicant drops out at the video interviewing stage, is it because the technology is putting them off, or is it something else? This is a genuine concern for recruiters when they are thinking about adding video interviewing to their arsenal of recruitment tools and it’s a fair enough question. Before we address the question, we probably need to analyse this with our recruiter hats firmly on. What do we know already about applicant dropouts?

We’ll consider two issues first – when they drop out, and why. If we start with the ‘when’, in the course of my own recruitment career the stark truth is that applicants drop out at EVERY stage of the recruitment process, not just at the beginning, which is where video interviewing is traditionally well placed. However the early stages seem to be where the volume of dropouts occurs, whether forced by a process or otherwise.

Further into the recruitment process, they still drop out, particularly at the face-to-face interview stage which is inconvenient for all parties involved. It’s also incredibly frustrating when you get to the offer stage, and then for some unknown reason the applicant just stops taking your calls. It’s happened to us all. This is why finding a way to ensure you have a quality set of applicants on your short list is so important.

What about the reasons as to ‘why’ applicants drop out of the race? Here are some reasons I’ve heard personally:

  • They landed another job.
  • They may have been counter offered and stayed in their current role.
  • A death in the family put their job search on hold.
  • A partner got promoted so they put their own career progression on hold.
  • They fell pregnant.
  • They heard via the grapevine that it was not a good company to work for and pulled their application.
  • They thought they could do the commute but now realise it’s too far.


And then there are all the reasons that you never hear about because you will never have the chance to find out as communication has come to a halt. But what about the following reason:

‘They are simply not interested enough in the role to commit to your process.’

This reason is more common that you think but it’s one that most will never own up to and will prefer to disappear into cyber space without a trace. This behaviour as frustrating as it is, also heaps unnecessary workload onto recruiters who will chase applicants who look great on paper, but refuse to engage after they’ve applied for the position. What’s the solution?

By now you may have concluded that the majority of dropouts have little to do with technology and more to do with applicant behavioural tendencies. We cannot control other people’s actions nor can we always successfully second-guess what they might do. What we can do however is ensure that we choose a process and technologies that test a candidate’s resolve efficiently and consistently. And here’s the catch. Candidates who are not really that bothered with their application, will drop out at the first sign of having to put some effort in. Those who are truly interested will fall into line.

There is some effort involved in completing a video interview. Applicants need to prepare their surroundings and put aside their own time to do the interview, use the technology and complete a professional presentation. There is also effort on the recruiter side to ensure candidates have had sufficient engagement before they receive the video interview link and that videos are reviewed and evaluated fairly by all parties involved. Our client experience shows that applicants who put the effort in to complete a video interview, show by participation that they are genuinely interested and tend to commit easily to the rest of the process to whatever stage they get to.

  1. Paul Close 2 years ago

    I agree whole heartedly with the majority of your comments and have carried out a number of Skype/ Video interviews in my time.
    However recently I was requested as part of a pre-selection process (by a world-wide law firm) to download an app and answer a set of predefined questions which would be recorded and distributed internally as part of the recruitment process.
    This is taking things and technology too far; for a potential employee an invitation to interview is a one shot. The opportunity to prepare and impress a potential employer. Equally for the employer they have one chance (unless invited to a further interview) to make a decision.
    To record a defined set of prerequisites and potentially show the result to an indeterminate number of internal stakeholders (who may never have even been present at an initial face to face interview) is quite honestly biaised and unfair. You cannot please everyone all of the time, and invariably someone within the company will not like what they see; mannerisms, clothing, accents, skin color, to name but a few……
    My application was done in good faith, my commitment to the role at hand was as much as any other advertised, however I dropped out as this stage as I found such a recruitment culture to be imbalanced and largely unfair.
    Whilst I understand the need for robust recruitment processes today to be in place in order to avoid time wasters and inappropriate applications, there is a fine line between excessive use of technology and real human interaction.

    • Christine 2 years ago

      Hi Paul, totally take on board what you are saying. I am interested as to why you dropped out considering you had got through to that stage? You are clearly not a time waster (as you put it) and committed to the process. I think it’s really important the employers who use video interviewing ensure that they ask the right questions and that the interview is easy to follow and designed to help you get the information across that they need to assess properly. Bias is another story. We are all born biased, and many companies are tackling this with awareness training before the video interview stage so that evaluation is fair. If they don’t, they will always hire the same people and get the same results which is in some cases detrimental to the company. However, turning this around, my question would be if there is a bias issue within a company and they don’t like what they see and hear from you in a video interview, is that the right employer for you?