Hold On, What The Heck Are Asynchronous Interviews?
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Hold On, What The Heck Are Asynchronous Interviews?

James Elliott James Elliott Last Updated:

Let’s face it, interviews are pretty inconvenient. Whether you’re a recruiter needing to schedule them, or a candidate trying to find time to attend one, interviews always cause frustration. We’d like to introduce you to a better way – asynchronous interviews. 

Sounds pretty fancy, right? Well, in this article, we’ll give you the full rundown on asynchronous interviews. Specifically, we’ll explore exactly what they are, why they’re so popular, and how they’re used, including how we do them at Toggl Hire. 

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What is Asynchronous Hiring?

Let’s start by breaking the term down into two words. Obviously, you know what hiring is, but it’s the asynchronous part that may confuse you. According to the dictionary, asynchronous refers to ‘two things that don’t exist or occur at the same time.’ 

In some ways, it’s easier to think of this as the opposite of synchronous. Imagine two dancers up on stage, but rather than dancing together, they dance two different dances. They aren’t in sync, instead, they’re asynchronous. 

Asynchronous hiring, therefore, refers to activities in your hiring process where the candidate and the recruiter do things at different times. In these situations, the hiring process is done without any live or co-located tasks – each one acts independently. 

Here are some examples of how replacing live touchpoints with asynchronous alternatives looks in practice:

Before Asynchronous HiringAfter Asynchronous Hiring
Initial candidate intro callInitial candidate email intro
Recruiter meeting to discuss candidatesShared notes on Toggl Hire
Delivering feedback over the phoneFeedback shared via email or voicemail
In-person/video interviewPre-recorded video interview

That last example leads us on nicely to talk about asynchronous video interviews.

What Are Asynchronous Interviews and When Do Recruiters Use Them?

Now that we know all about asynchronous hiring, it’s time to find out precisely what an asynchronous interview is. 

Put simply, an asynchronous interview is where an applicant is guided through a series of interview questions and answers them in their own time. Most commonly, those answers are recorded using a phone/computer camera. 

For this reason, you’ll often see the term ‘asynchronous video interview’ used rather than just ‘asynchronous interview.’ As video technology has become more and more popular within hiring, it’s now best practice for recruiters to record the questions via video, too, rather than just putting text on the screen. It also helps recruiters become more confident on camera and levels the playing field between the recruiter and the candidate.

 This way, the experience is as close to an actual interview as possible for all parties. 

Asynchronous interviews are most commonly used to replace traditional phone/filter interviews. They allow recruiters to assess a candidate’s soft skills early on in the hiring process while helping them save time setting up multiple calls. While it’s not common, asynchronous video interviews may also replace full interviews. 

And of course, async interviews are fantastic for remote hiring. Recruiters no longer have to rely on local talent pools or invest money to bring remote candidates into the office for interviews. With asynchronous video, it’s easy for recruiters and candidates to ‘speak’  to each other at a time that works for them, no matter which time zones they work in!

Note – You may see asynchronous video interviews also called ‘one-way interviews’ or ‘pre-recorded interviews’ – by and large, they all mean the same thing!

asynchronous interviews

The Benefits of Asynchronous Interviews

We’ve touched on them briefly above, but here are the key benefits for both the recruiter and the applicant when it comes to asynchronous video interviews. 

The Recruiter:

  • Speed up your time-to-hire. Async interviews boost time-to-hire by allowing you to screen multiple candidates at once. Let’s say you want to screen 30 candidates, in the old world, that’s 30 separate phone interviews. Now, all you need to do is record your questions once and then let candidates respond all at the same time. Slotting in 30 calls may have taken a whole week, async interviews take a matter of hours!
  • Screen for critical, dealbreaker skills early. Asynchronous video interviews are one of the best ways to assess a candidate’s critical skills early in the process. Especially when compared to phone interviews, async interviews allow you to test how candidates communicate and display confidence. It’s also great for testing those critical skills such as foreign language or even evidence functional requirements such as working visas.
  • Allows collaboration. A candidate’s video responses all go into a single system where you and your colleagues can collaborate on their assessment. Gone are the days of relaying the phone interview to others, as you and the team can work together on assessing video interview submissions.
  • Delivers fair chance hiring. If you’re concerned about fair hiring practices within your organization, asynchronous interviews are a great way to deliver consistency. Every candidate gets exactly the same questions, providing the perfect environment to directly compare performance and eliminate unconscious bias. 

The Candidate:

  • Convenience. Async interviews allow you to submit your answers at a time and date which suits you. That means no more awkward excuses at work, or feeling under pressure to complete interviews around your workload. Plus, with the option to practice questions and re-record your answers, asynchronous interviews give you the chance to put your best foot forward!
  • Showcase your skills. Video interviews provide a fantastic opportunity to showcase what makes you special early on in the recruitment process. Especially for customer-facing roles, it’s hard to stand out on boring resumes, but with a video, you can let your personality and soft skill set shine through!
  • Better insight into the company. Especially for companies who record their questions, pre-recorded video interviews give you an insight into the company you’re applying to. This helps you feel more relaxed and helps you connect with the company to decide if it’s a good fit for you. 

How Does Toggl Hire Deliver Amazing Asynchronous Interviews?

Here at Toggl Hire, we’re not just focused on skills tests. Recently, we’ve launched a brand new feature, Video Intros. Video Intros is our way of delivering amazing asynchronous interview experiences for both recruiters and candidates. 

Like everything in Toggl Hire, Video Intros are super easy to use for recruiters. Simply set yours up, send it out to candidates, and wait for the answers to roll back in.

For candidates, the user interface is slick and easy to use, with Video Intros often taking less than 10 minutes to complete. It also provides a great insight into the role you’re applying for, thanks to the video introduction from the hiring manager too.

Here’s how it all works in practice!

How Do Video Intros Work? – Setting Up 

It all starts inside the Toggl Hire dashboard for hiring professionals. Simply head over to the ‘Video Test’ tab and turn on the Video Testing feature to get started. 

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Once activated, record your own introduction. Within the ‘General’ sub-tab, you record your introduction video, telling candidates all about you, your company, and the role they’re applying for. 

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That’s your starring role complete! Now it’s time to configure the questions for the candidates. Choose your questions from our question library, or create a bespoke question for your role. You can set multiple questions and time limits to keep answers concise. 

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Time to add the sprinkles! With Toggl Hire, you can get your brand across by designing unique landing pages and end screens for your unique introduction. 

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How Do Video Intros Work? – Inviting Candidates

Now that your Video Intros are all set up, it’s time to let candidates join the party. The great news is that it’s super easy to do straight from your Toggl Hire dashboard. Simply find the right candidates and invite them to take the video test.

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How Do Video Intros Work? – The Candidate Experience

Once candidates receive the Video Intros invite, they will be taken straight to your beautifully designed Video Intro landing page. 

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It’s easy for them to get started by watching your welcome message. 

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Now it’s time for your candidates to move onto the business part of the Video Intro, recording their answers! Using their device’s camera and microphone, candidates record answers to your questions, with the ability to practice and re-record until they’ve nailed the perfect response.

asynchronous interviews

Once candidates are ready, they can submit their Video Intro responses back to you, ready for you and your team to review.

asynchronous interviews

How Do Video Intros Work? – Reviewing Candidates

With your responses back in, it’s time to complete the process and review each candidate’s Video Intro. You’ll see all your candidate’s submissions and be able to provide instant feedback directly from the Toggl Hire dashboard. 

asynchronous interviews

Summary

If you’ve been scratching your head wondering what an asynchronous interview is, don’t worry, you’re not alone. With the rise of technology in hiring, asynchronous interviews allow recruiters and candidates to interview on their own terms, saving valuable time and money. 

If you’re a recruiter who’s new to asynchronous interviews, we’d recommend trying them out on your next vacancy. Not only do they save you time, but they allow your candidates to showcase their skills in a modern and innovative way. 

Of course, we think our Video Intros feature is the bee’s knees. If you’d like to see more about it, you can watch this short video below. 

James Elliott

James Elliott is a Strategy Manager and Writer from London, UK. When not working on the day job, James writes on a variety of business and project management topics with a focus on content that enables readers to take action and improve their ways of working. You can check out James’ work on his website or by connecting on LinkedIn.

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