HomeThe GenZ LabAsynchronous interviews: a new way to approach soft skills

Asynchronous interviews: a new way to approach soft skills

  • Saturday, October 28, 2023
  • Auguste Dumouilla

As video conferencing continues to grow in popularity, pre-recorded video interviews are gaining traction. More structured and equitable, this new form of interview allows recruiters to better assess soft skills.

How does a pre-recorded video interview work? The hiring company pre-arranges its questions and records them on a platform. Candidates log into the platform using a link provided by the company. They are generally required to respond to around ten questions. In most cases, for each question, candidates have one minute to prepare their answers and a two-minute response time during which their answers are recorded. Recruiters then review the responses and select the best profiles. 

Structured and more equitable interviews

First and foremost, one of the key merits of asynchronous video interviews is that they are structured. There is no room for improvisation and all questions, especially those aimed at detecting soft skills, will be addressed. How often during a face-to-face interview does the recruiter get caught up in a lengthy discussion on a specific point, reducing the time available for addressing other equally or even more important matters? The absence of interaction and humanity, which some may miss with this approach, also allows for the comparison of candidates based on identical questioning.

An interview format free from cognitive biases

Could asynchronous interviews also help avoid what is known as the recency effect bias, which can prevent the recruiter from having an overall view of the discussion points, as well as cognitive biases that a recruiter may have (liking, distrust, preference for individuals with backgrounds they favor more)?

Furthermore, the primary advantage of deferred interviews is the liberation from reliance on the CV by focusing the analysis on personality, behavior, motivations, and how an applicant demonstrates their suitability for the position based on pre-prepared questions and scenarios. 'However, it is imperative to design them well,' emphasizes Anna Cook of CERN. 'When it comes to recent graduates, asynchronous video interviews can be extremely delicate. This is because depending on how one formulates questions intended to elicit experiences and stories that highlight their soft skills, what works for a someone in Germany may not necessarily work for  someone in Spain. There is no 'one size fits all' in this matter".

Moreover, it will be necessary to tailor the question frameworks to different audience categories and job functions. This can be an especially burdensome task for large organizations with hundreds of different roles, and it becomes even more complex when considering the cultural contexts of each country. As for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with limited resources for creating questioning templates, the challenge is even greater. In any case, this is an exercise for which recent graduates are not yet well-prepared.

More diverse recruitments

In a survey conducted in the first half of 2020 among candidates who had experienced a recorded video interview, Easyrecrue reported that only 20% of them had previously had a recorded interview. 'This has led a number of British universities to offer their students preparation for this type of interview,' notes Tristram Hooley from the Institute for Student Employers. Additionally, LinkedIn launched its 'LinkedIn intro video feature' alongside its offering to assess soft skills and provides resources for candidates looking to familiarize themselves with it. While this evaluation practice is undoubtedly destined to be adopted by more and more organizations, another factor that may expedite its adoption is the protection of private data. In Germany, for example, it is prohibited to record live video interviews. Furthermore, the candidate must give consent, which is not required for a phone interview. The choice is therefore up to the candidate. Are asynchronous video interviews poised to replace live interviews? It is highly likely that they will be increasingly used, particularly for the convenience they offer to organizations recruiting profiles from abroad and for their potential to enhance diversity. 

At Bertelsmann, Pamela Taylor has observed how this solution has expanded the geographical scope of applications and contributed to diversity. « Bertelsmann primarily uses asynchronous video interviews for our Talent Meets Bertelsmann event. Candidates don't need to travel, which can be costly, or take a day off – a significant benefit for those who have part-time jobs to support their studies. » she adds. However, for many recruitment managers, it primarily serves as a pre-selection process, followed by in-person or video live interviews. These latter interviews will serve to introduce the company, the role, and, most importantly, to ensure that the profile is a good fit with their future manager. Human interaction will always remain at the core of the recruitment process.