Why colleges and universities should consider using on-demand video interviews permanently

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world of higher education upside down, resulting in an overhaul of many long-standing systems and processes. Besides the obvious switch to online instruction, the admissions process has changed substantially and varies from one program to the next. Some have extended application deadlines, waived application fees or specific standard tests, lowered entry requirements, and most professional programs have introduced live and on-demand video interviews to address COVID-19 restrictions.

Video interviews may have been overlooked in the past for various reasons, but they are certainly playing an important role this year. In fact, some of the advantages the video format provides may make it a viable, permanent solution. We’ll explore some of these benefits and the ways in which you can pair these interviews with cognitive and non-cognitive assessments to help you find well-rounded students for your programs.

Health and safety of applicants and colleagues

Adjusting to the ‘new normal’ means conducting business-as-usual activities without compromising the health and safety of applicants and employees. Colleges and universities have already made the switch to online learning, a trend that was on the rise even before the pandemic, to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Admissions teams have also leveraged online platforms to conduct live or on-demand video interviews to avoid unnecessary travel and limit the number of people on campuses. There are many free live video platforms available to meet your needs, so though you may not necessarily be face-to-face with your applicants, you can still get the answers you need while avoiding unnecessary contact.

Flexible scheduling

Perhaps the edge that one-way or on-demand video interviews have over the live format is their flexibility. Instead of trying to accommodate everyone’s schedules to meet at a specific time virtually, you could consider providing a general timeline for applicants to submit their video-recorded responses and then provide your own team with a timeframe in which to complete their reviews. Connectivity issues or other technical glitches may also make live video interviews less convenient and time consuming. While the on-demand format is generally a premium feature in most platforms, the flexibility you gain with the format is well worth it.

Lower costs for applicants

Applicants travel a long distance to interview at their dream school, but it comes at a significant cost. A good way to ease the burden for applicants and maintain their interest at a time when finances may be a challenge is to be more accessible. Video interviews allow them to speak with you from anywhere in the world, while giving you an easy tool to meet and assess a wider pool of applicants. Even when the pandemic subsides, providing the option to interview online will be appreciated by your applicants.

Better applicant experience and more authentic responses

In-person interviews can be incredibly stressful, especially if it’s a panel. That stress can affect their performance in the interview, making it seem like they are not a good fit for your program when they actually might be. One-way or on-demand video interviews allow the applicant to set the scene and have a little bit of practice before providing you with their complete answers. They’ll feel more comfortable and confident, providing you with a more accurate picture of who they are as people. 

Apples-to-apples comparison of applicant responses

It’s much easier for live interviews to veer off course, making it difficult to compare responses and make decisions with confidence. With one-way or on-demand video interviews, you send everyone the same set of questions in advance, allowing your team to easily and accurately compare applicant responses and assess their communication skills.

Ways to leverage one-way video interviews in admissions

There are multiple ways of incorporating one-way video interviews in your admissions process. You can simply replace the in-person interview with the one-way video format if your preference is to avoid disrupting your normal process. If you’re looking to still conduct live video interviews but minimize scheduling conflicts by bringing in fewer applicants to that stage, you could use mini on-demand video interviews as a way to screen the applicants.

At Altus Assessments, we’ve developed two screening tools that help you consider an applicant’s non-cognitive competencies in a timely and efficient manner. Casper test is an online, open-format situational judgement test used by programs to evaluate applicants’ people skills. As these assessments are blind-rated by a diverse and highly trained group of raters, programs are spared the expense and time of reviewing the tests as they receive scores that reflect the individuals’ non-cognitive competencies. We’ve recently built an extension to the Casper test called Snapshot. It’s a video response tool that allows you to review applicant responses to 3 interview-style questions on video. So instead of just having a score on the applicant’s people skills, you can get an extra bit of information about who they are and their motivations to help inform your decisions. 

You can use the Casper test score and the snapshot responses in the following ways:

  • Replace some existing time-consuming processes for evaluating people skills and professionalism such as reviewing personal statements and reference letters with Casper test and Snapshot.
  • Leverage the score and Snapshot responses as a screening tool to bring a smaller and stronger pool of candidates for a more comprehensive live virtual interview
  • Use Snapshot as a way to help “tie break” when deciding between a small group of applicants for the last few spots in your program.

During and after this pandemic, your team has multiple options when it comes to effectively and efficiently leveraging on-demand video interviews for admissions decisions. Speak with an expert from our team today to learn how Casper and Snapshot can help your program screen the best applicants.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

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