The Curious Case of Asynchronous Video Interviews

6 mins

Asynchronous Video Interviews (AVIs) are an incredibly popular interview method used by orga...

Asynchronous Video Interviews (AVIs) are an incredibly popular interview method used by organisations to hire millions of applicants per year, but applicants tend not to like them. Organisations may be able to improve applicant reactions by designing AVIs differently, for example, allowing for more preparation time, providing the opportunity to re-record responses, not asking too many questions, and tailoring these features to different types of applicants, a new study found.


The Asynchronous Video Interview (AVI) is a type of one-way, technology-mediated selection interview in which applicants record themselves answering interview questions, and those responses are later assessed by humans or by artificial intelligence. While organisations use AVIs to streamline the hiring process and make it more flexible, applicants do not tend to like them. With a view to making the applicant AVI experience more favourable, and AVI design better suited to different types of applicants, a study published recently in Human Resource Management (HRM) examined how AVI design features (for example, preparation time, response length, re-recording options, question formats) influence applicants’ reactions to AVI. 


“AVI is an incredibly popular interview method. It's used to hire millions of applicants per year, and it also has many benefits as it's cheap, fast and quite easy to schedule. However, this type of interview is generally not well liked by applicants. It's seen as creepy and more invasive of one’s privacy. These negative interview experiences are really bad for the applicant and the organisation as well. AVIs are fundamentally different from other ways of communicating, and that means we cannot simply transfer what we know about other types of interview to the asynchronous context. So, it's important to understand how the AVI experience can be designed to be more enjoyable and tailored to different types of applicants. And that's what our study is all about”, said Ottilie Tilston, the lead author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.


AVIs can differ widely in how they are designed - and so can the applicants. Hence, in examining the impact of AVI design features on applicant reactions, the study also looked at the role played by applicant age and gender: “Applicants can be asked questions in text or video format, and they can be given more or less preparation time, and they can be offered the opportunity to re-record their responses or not. Any combination of these features creates substantially different interview experiences. And importantly, the applicants themselves also vary, and they may respond differently to these features on the basis of their individual characteristics, such as age and gender”, said Tilston.


According to Tilston, while AVIs are already in widespread use, it is really difficult to know how companies are using them. In comparison to many hypothetical studies that are carried out in the labs, which use “mock” applicants to examine their reactions to AVI design features, this study analysed data from real job applicants. So, the study can really help fill the void of knowledge regarding how AVIs are commonly designed and used in practice. “For example, in the literature there's a lot said about video questions, but in our data set we can see that video questions seem to be under used - they are used only 10% of the time. And we can also see in our data set that the companies making AVIs seem to be heavily guided by template options, so it seems to be a good idea to make good templates”, said Tilston.

Having examined the AVI experiences of almost 30 thousand job applicants applying for different jobs in different companies in different countries, the study found that certain design features, such as allowing more preparation time and offering the opportunity to re-record responses, are related to more favourable reactions of the applicants, while including more questions was related to more negative reactions, especially for older applicants. “People seem to like having more preparation time. They also like being allowed to re-record their responses if they don't like their first attempt. However, other features were related to more negative reactions. For example, applicants over the age of 31 don't like being asked too many interview questions, while applicants below the age of 30 prefer to have more time available to respond”, said Tilston.


While the study did not find any strong gender effects, apart from women reacting slightly more positively to increased preparation time, considering the applicant diversity in terms of both age and gender provides a more nuanced understanding of applicant reactions: “Our research confirms existing theoretical models by showing that the applicant reactions depend on specific design features of the AVI - that applicants react to certain design features more positively than they do to others. But we actually take this a step further - we consider that just as not all AVIs are the same, neither are all applicants the same”, said Tilston.


The study findings could help both AVI vendors and hiring organisations design AVIs that facilitate a positive applicant experience: “It seems to be a good idea to always allow re-recording if the applicants don't like their first response. And avoid including too many questions, especially if you're recruiting for a role that might attract a large number of older applicants, such as a senior role”, said Tilston.


In addition, AVIs should not be viewed as a simple replacement for live interviews: “Especially if you have a complex job that you're going to ask many questions for, an AVI should be used as a preliminary screening tool. It can be followed afterwards by a longer live interview where you ask more detailed questions which can either be in person or via video conference”, said Tilston.


Tilston’s co-authors were Franciska Krings, a professor of Organizational Behavior at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, Nicolas Roulin, a professor of Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Saint Mary's University, Canada, Joshua Bourdage, an associate professor in Industrial-Organizational Psychology at the University of Calgary, Canada, and Michael Fetzer, an associate partner with AON's Talent Solutions, Georgia, United States. 


Contact Ottilie Tilston at


Read the full article here.


Written by Jelena Petrovic, Knowledge Transfer Editor of HRM and Associate Professor at the University of Southampton Business School,


HRM is a Financial Times Top 50 Business Journal published by Wiley.