Are Candidates Wasting Your Time with off Topic Responses During a Screening Interview?


Recruiters Listening to an off Topic Candidate Response


Recruiters are having difficulty with candidates on a regular basis who redirect the conversation, and it becomes difficult to get them back on track.  Recruiters are now switching to one particular method for screening which avoids this obstacle completely, giving them a quick and focused interview.


Why Unfocused Candidate Responses Can Waste a Recruiter’s Time

Everyone feels uncomfortable when someone has gone off topic in a discussion and keeps talking, not letting anyone cut in to put the conversation back on track. What’s even more uncomfortable is when this happens in a professional setting, and the person on the other end of the line is under a time constraint.

Recently, recruiter Shannon shared her story of this exact situation occurring while she was conducting a screening interview over the phone for a candidate who could not seem to give a straight answer to her questions. Not only were the questions vaguely dismissed, but the long, confusing answers she received had absolutely nothing to do with what she had just asked.

The entire time, all Shannon could think was 1) “how do I steer this conversation back in the right direction?” and 2) “this is a huge waste of my time.” Immediately following this interview, she had another candidate expecting her call at a specific time, and she was beginning to worry that this interview was going to cut into her next one.

Almost immediately, Shannon knew this candidate was not hirable, however, she still knew she needed to redirect the conversation to obtain a legitimate answer from the candidate. She knows the importance of a positive interview experience and can recall stories of her colleagues interrupting candidates, only to receive negative reviews online about their interviewing process.

With no success of shifting her conversation to the direction she needed and ending with no clear answers from the candidate, she completed the interview and called her next applicant, apologizing for the delay and unprofessionalism. This seems to happen to Shannon quite often, and she is certainly not the only recruiter to have this problem.


How Asynchronous Video Interviewing Ensures Candidates Provide Focused Answers to Your Interview Questions

Shannon’s solution is not as far out of reach as she thought. What many recruiters like her have started doing to fix this problem is switching from phone screening to video interviewing methods.

Video interviewing is a quick and easy way to conduct this stage of the hiring process, saving the interviewer ample time to spend focused on the content of what the candidate is actually saying. Software like VidCruiter’s asynchronous video interviewing allows recruiters to not only write their own questions but decide exactly how much time is allotted for each answer, too. This means the applicant must remain focused and on topic, and Shannon is able to decide which questions are given more or less time, so if she is looking for a longer answer, she is able to get one.

If Shannon does run into the same problem over video recording where the candidate is still not focused on the question, she has the option to fast forward or even skip the entire video, helping her avoid the awkwardness of interjecting to redirect the conversation. If the applicant is not able to provide an answer within the allotted amount of time, they are simply marked as not having answered the question. This simplifies Shannon’s work and allows her to focus her time on those who did answer the questions properly.

When Shannon made the switch to asynchronous video interviewing, not only did her job become much easier, but more enjoyable too. She no longer stresses over time constraints or wondering whether she is choosing the right people, all because she has the right tools for the job.


When candidates provide off-topic responses to a recruiter’s questions, the entire interview can drag out resulting in an unnecessary amount of wasted time. By signing up for a product demo, you will learn how VidCruiter’s recruitment software includes multiple features to help candidates remain focused when answering interview questions.


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