video interviews

How to conduct effective video interviews with job candidates

Sarah Linney
6 Jul
Reading time: 6 minutes
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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers worldwide have switched to video interviews for potential job candidates. Employers prefer video interviews now because they are safer for both the interviewer and the interviewee. 

While technologies such as Zoom have made video interviews easier (while sparking the term Zoom fatigue!), video interviews are a big adjustment for many hiring managers. 

Video interviews are challenging for many reasons

Video interviews are more challenging than in-person interviews because the format makes it challenging to catch specific social and emotional cues from the interviewee. 

Other dreaded scenarios, such as one party being unable to log onto the video conferencing platform, could negatively impact the interview or bias the interviewer. 

For companies or hiring managers with limited video interview experience, we’ve put together this detailed list of tips for conducting friendly and effective video interviews with prospective job applicants. 

Make sure your video conferencing platform is set up correctly

First things first, preparing your platform is key! Before you schedule video interviews, make sure you’ve set up your video conferencing platform correctly and that you’re ready to go. 

If you know you’re going to be conducting video interviews shortly, set aside time to familiarise yourself with using the platform, so you’re not fumbling around during the interview.  

If multiple people are conducting the video interview, make sure you’ve installed your video conferencing platform on every device. Take the time to make sure you’ve got the video settings where you want them. 

Make sure your audio is turned on, and make sure the interview space has a reliable internet connection. These may seem like simple steps but many video interviews have been interrupted or delayed because of these small factors. 

Additionally, ensure that you know how to activate other features, such as video projection or screen sharing so you’re ready to take any actions you need during the interview. 

Last but certainly not least, make sure your video feed is working, and if you’re working off a phone, laptop or tablet, make sure you’ve fully charged your device. 

Make sure you (and the interviewee) know how to log in

Nothing will derail a video interview faster than one party (usually the interviewee) not being able to log in to the video conferencing platform. 

When you’re conducting video interviews, make sure everyone involved in the discussion has the appropriate login credentials to participate in the video interview. 

Make sure all the interested parties have the video conferencing platform downloaded onto their device. If meeting participants have to set up login credentials on their own, make sure they have the link or other necessary information. 

It’s a good idea to check and make sure everyone has what they need a couple of days before the scheduled interview.

Most video conferencing platforms such as Zoom can send out alerts, calendar invites and other automated reminders about upcoming video interviews. Using automatic reminders and calendar invites is an excellent way to ensure that everyone involved in the discussion has the information they need.  

Provide distinct login credentials for multiple interviews

If you’re going to be conducting multiple interviews and you’re issuing the login credentials to the interviewees, make sure that you’re not using the same set of login credentials over and over again. 

There’s horror stories out there of video interviews where multiple prospective hires have accidentally logged into someone else’s interview in progress. 

If you have to use the same set of login credentials for multiple interviewees, make sure you schedule enough time between interviews, so there’s no awkward overlap. 

Budget enough time for interviews

Managers who have little previous experience with video interviews should remember that video interviews take longer. Between technical glitches, long answers and poor audio, video interviews almost always end up taking longer than in-person interviews.

If you’re in a situation where you’re scheduling multiple interviews, make sure you budget adequate time for an effective interview to unfold organically. 

Try and budget in time for technical glitches and long answers beforehand. Equally important, leave enough time between video interviews for you and the other hiring managers to recover, go to the bathroom, get a cup of tea and generally decompress.  

Set up a bright and inviting interview space

Another common sense tip for compelling video interviews is to set up a professional, inviting and brightly lit interview space. 

Before the interview, turn on the video camera on your device and take a moment to look at the interview space from the interviewee’s point of view. Get rid of any distracting objects or illustrations, and make sure your interview space is clean. 

Adequate lighting is crucial for an inviting interview space. If you don’t have access to proper lighting, consider conducting video interviews from a room with large windows. For a sunny space, it’s a good idea to close the blinds slightly to avoid glare. Try not to position yourself where there’s a window at your back; this will create a silhouette effect for the interviewee. 

Behave like it’s an in-person interview

With video interviews, something’s always going to get lost in the translation, whether through poor lighting, low volume, technical issues or a lack of body language signs. During video interviews, it’s essential to maintain your composure, put the interviewee at ease and behave professionally, as if the interview were in-person rather than remote.

Make eye contact by trying to look directly into the camera rather than at the interviewee. Try to speak clearly and make sure you enunciate your words.

Train yourself to pause a full beat longer than you usually would between questions, learn to watch the interviewee and gauge, by their body language, whether they have finished speaking at the end of any exchange. 

Remember that standard interview etiquette still applies, thank the interviewee for their time and remember to follow up after the interview.   

Keep background noise to a minimum

Finally, when conducting video interviews, it’s essential to keep background noise to a minimum. When conducting video interviews, choose an area or space removed from office noise and foot traffic. 

Turn off electronic devices in the room that aren’t in use, and put your phone on silent so it doesn’t interrupt the interview. 

In the event of unexpected noise, maintain your composure and apologise to the interviewee. 

Conclusion

Video interviews can be slightly more challenging than traditional interviews for a range of reasons. However, with some upfront preparation and a little bit of patience, you can make sure they go smoothly and provide a professional exchange of ideas for everyone involved. 

To discover more trends inspired by the coronavirus crisis and its challenges, watch our on-demand webinar, COVID-19 lessons: How recruitment will change in 2021, to hear what our panel of recruitment experts have to say.

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