linkedin Skip to Main Content
Just announced: We now support interviewing in spreadsheets!
Back to blog

Why One-Way Video Interviews Don’t Work and What You Should Do Instead


Remote hiring, bigger candidate pools, reduced internal resources… recruiters are looking to rationalize their screening and interviewing processes. 

Enter the one-way video interview. 

A one-way video interview allows candidates to respond to interview questions via a video recording platform. Recruiters and hiring managers can review candidates’ answers at their convenience.

This method seems like a win-win – employers get to assess candidates without aligning schedules, and candidates get to put their best foot forward without the nerves that come with real-time interactions.

However, upon closer inspection, the advantages of one-way videos are diminished by several limitations and drawbacks that make them far less effective than they appear. 

In this article, we’ll delve into why this form of interviewing is less promising than it seems and explore alternative methods that offer a fairer, more realistic approach to hiring.

Why one-way videos are ineffective

One-way videos seem like a reasonably hassle-free means of sorting candidates based on short video clips, but what’s the cost?

Favoring self-marketing abilities over more relevant skills

These pre-recorded interviews amplify specific skills, such as self-marketing ability and persuasion, which may be completely irrelevant to the job at hand. 

“Many developers miss out on their dream careers not because they lack the necessary skills, but because they fail to effectively market themselves.”

Jahdunsin Osho, Tech Lead at Edubaloo 

Providing an impersonal and disconnected candidate experience

One-way video interviews eliminate the interactive aspect of two-way interviews. The candidate records their answers in a vacuum without immediate feedback or the opportunity to clarify misunderstandings. 

This lack of interaction can make the experience feel dishearteningly impersonal. In fact, a one-way interview often feels more like an assignment than a dialogue.

Denying the opportunity to “sell” the company

One-way videos deny the opportunity for recruiters to “sell” the company. Not only do you need to assess candidates, candidates need to assess you as an employer. 

“I think the hardest part of landing really great candidates is being really great at the pitch for the company and the team. I really don’t think that’s talked about enough. Candidate experience is something I feel very strongly about. Yes, you need to assess skills and assess fit, but you also really need to actively sell the experience in the company. I want to put that in bold and capitals.”

Nathan Sutter, Global VP of Engineering at CoderPad

Perpetuating inequality and bias

One-way video interviews are just as unengaging for recruiters and they are for candidates. 

If someone is flicking through tens or even hundreds of videos, there’s a solid chance they’ll start subconsciously assessing submissions based on superficial information, such as presentation, rather than the depth and quality of responses. 

While one-way video interviews might appear as a convenient and cost-effective hiring tool, they inadvertently perpetuate various forms of inequality.

What you should do instead

Luckily, there are many alternatives to one-way interviews that will deliver an enhanced candidate experience and superior results for recruiters.  

Live video interviews

Virtual live interviews offer a middle-ground solution that maintains the logistical advantages of online interviews while reintroducing real-time human interaction.

This ensures the interview is indeed an interview, not a self-marketing video. 

While linguistic abilities and access to technology come into play, recruiters should be willing and able to accommodate candidates however possible. Where possible, implement interactive and objective tests, games, and puzzles to deliver equal opportunities to everyone. 

Virtual interviews can be tailored to different job roles and skill demands. 

What’s more, video interview platforms simplify the virtual interview process by integrating tools to make recruiters’ jobs easier: 

Structured interviews

Structured interviews are a systematic approach that aims to reduce bias and subjectivity.

Interviews are conducted based on a predetermined set of guidelines to ensure a consistent, equitable experience for all candidates. 

It’s a formulaic yet highly effective method designed to improve the validity and reliability of your hiring decisions.

A structured interview involves asking every candidate the same questions, to assess the same identified skills, and evaluating their responses using a standardized scoring system. For example, you could use a 5-point scale to rate responses, clearly defining each point so interviewers know precisely what to look for. 

This ensures that interviewers focus on candidates’ skills rather than being swayed by personal biases or irrelevant factors.

“Structured interviews are 81% more accurate in predicting job performance than unstructured ones.”

Jenny Jongejan, Senior Recruiting Consultant

Multi-method assessments

A multi-method assessment combines various evaluation forms. 

While this takes longer to execute than other forms of assessments, it also provides an in-depth read of a candidate’s soft and hard skills, an exceptional candidate experience. 

Types of Assessments to Consider

  • Psychometric tests

These scientifically designed tests can be helpful in gauging various cognitive abilities, emotional intelligence, and personality traits. They can provide invaluable insights into how a candidate thinks, feels, and interacts with others.

  • Task-based assessments

These are practical tasks or simulations closely related to the responsibilities of the job role in question. For example, a coding test for a software developer role or a writing assignment for a content creator.

  • Panel interviews

Incorporating structured panel interviews into your process can offer diverse perspectives, reducing individual bias and making the assessment more robust and fair. 

One-way videos might seem like the quick and dirty way to get screening and interviews done, but they’re by no means an answer-all. 

Sometimes, speed is not everything – recruiters should be aware of what they’re sacrificing by making the application and screening process as quick as possible. 

They can feel impersonal, limit the scope for thorough evaluation, and perpetuate inequalities in the hiring process.