Why would you replace a telephone screen with video?


I was asked this question a few times at the CIPD HR Software & Recruitment Exhibition back in June held in London – why replace a telephone screen with video interviewing? This did surprise me as although I believe in picking up the phone and talking to people, done en mass most humans almost blow a head gasket as a result because the truth be known, telephone screening becomes repetitive, tiring and after a while just downright boring. In addition, it’s a bit old hat now surely for early stage assessment? But when I started to discuss this with one of our show stand visitors, the light bulb moment materialised in her eyes and it spurred me on to write this blog. Although it was obvious to me, I realised that the majority of recruiters out there have not yet fully grasped the power of video interviewing, both for them and their candidates.

There are many benefits to replacing the first telephone screen with a video interview and I’ve listed some of them below so you but video interviewing can and is being used at many different individual stages of the recruitment process so it really is multidimensional in its application. First though, let’s do an analysis of the components of this argument.

So what actually happens when a company chooses telephone screening as an early stage assessment tool?

  • They must hire enough people to cover this activity.
  • Recruiters need to schedule both parties in to conduct the call including any calls that are being done outside of core hours or across time zones.
  • Detailed notes need to be recorded to evidence the conversation.
  • Recruiters need to ensure they are delivering the same questions to all candidates in a consistent manner, possibly across the course of many days depending on volumes of applicants.
  • Results of the interviews need to be conveyed to line managers along with notes so they can make a decision on who goes through to the next stage.

What challenges can telephone screening present to a company and it’s recruiters?

  • The cost of salaries to do this job can be high.
  • Scheduling is messy and time consuming and can cause frustration and time wasted if recruiters are constantly chasing for appointments, especially in different time zones.
  • Note taking, with the best will in the world, is subjective and can often become lapsed and brief at the end of a long day of interviewing.
  • Humans get tired during the day so the delivery to candidates of a consistent tone and questioning can often fall away by the end of a day due to fatigue.
  • Often HR people and recruiters are not practitioners in the field they are interviewing candidates for, so it is difficult for them to know whether they are taking the right notes to give the managers enough information to make an informed decision on who goes through to the next stage.

What does video interviewing offer recruiters in an early stage assessment tool?

  • Video interviewing gives recruiters the ability to interview a lot of people over a short space of time meaning that they can do more with less people. This provides a saving in salaries and a possible reallocation of resource across to more important areas of the process.
  • There is no scheduling involved, as once the candidate is invited to interview; they can do it in their own time. The recruiter does not have to be present to conduct the interview, saving time.
  • Recruiters receive a recording of each video interview that can be reviewed repeatedly in their own time, but can also share videos with colleagues, meaning initial interview note taking is less important.
  • The interview is delivered consistently, offering a more even playing field and fairness to each candidate (no tired recruiters).
  • A recording offers an accurate view of candidates answering job specific questions, so line managers are receiving the information they need to properly assess whether candidates go through to the next stage.


After writing this, I thought to myself, well that’s a no brainer really!! But it would be remiss of me to leave out the fact that there is an amount of effort that goes into video interviewing. I’d rather not be so flippant as to think that the time saving made is void of having to do any work. Candidates need nurturing, engagement and instruction during the video interview process. But it might be worth pointing out this is actually normal behaviour for successful recruiters. However the value that comes from having that recorded video is massively high;  much higher than a set of notes taken from a telephone interview and worth the effort.

With the implementation of any new technology though, don’t look for reasons to just replace your current practices but also look to change what you do so the technology becomes even more valuable. That might mean learning and making small changes in what you currently do but the value you get out of that extra effort is priceless!

  1. Roy Ripper 2 years ago

    Great article Christine explaining the multi benefits of using video interviewing.
    I love the personal connection video gives and know from feedback I receive that clients, candidates and recruiters love it also.
    I predict that in the not so distant future people will look back at 2016 and ask “why did you continue using telephone when video communication was so readily available to you?” Much in the same way that my kids ask me today “what was the point of audio cassettes ?” and other technology from yesteryear…

    Great article Christine….keep it coming!

    • Christine 2 years ago

      Well being of the age when audio cassettes were alive and well, I concur with your statement Roy! A brilliant analogy. I remember when I bought my very first CD in 1990. I still had a collection of cassettes but they never got played after that as I had crossed the line into a new dimension. Fundamentally I was still playing music, but it was a LOT clearer and easier to navigate. The shift was small but the benefit was huge! I can probably draw the same conclusion of some of our avid video interview users. The same epiphany happened with them. It was a small shift in what they were doing but a huge step in terms of efficiency and increased value through the process.

  2. Jack 2 years ago

    excellent read, thanks for posting. Would you agree that video for interviewing is just the tip of the iceberg that will drive the telephone to extinction in the office place? Productivity on internal meetings conducted on video rather than audio bridges would be an example as would face to face video meetings with international offices. In the latter case, body language for example helps tremendously when there are language and cultural challenges.