The Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing measures have meant that video has suddenly become the preferred or only viable method for interviewing candidates. Whilst some of the old ‘normal’ may eventually return, we anticipate that video will remain a prominent part of many hiring processes because of the advantages it gives in terms of convenience, time saving and speed to hire.
For many businesses, using video as part of the hiring process is a new departure so here are some tips to help you to make the very most of your video interviews.
- Select your technology
Ensure that everyone involved has the necessary hardware and software to access it. There are a lot of platforms to choose from: Zoom, Skype, Cisco Webex Meetings, BlueJeans, Microsoft Teams, and Google Hangouts, Meet, Whatsapp, and good old FaceTime are some of the most widely used platforms.
Many of these methods are free to use, although be aware of a time limit on certain platforms for free users - you don’t want the call ending abruptly mid-interview!
- Test your technology well in advance
Always do a test run well before your interviews. Bear in mind that even if you have done video interviews at work, it’s going to be different if you’re doing them from your home.
- Check your signal strength! Is it adequate in the room you are intending to conduct the interview in?
- Do the camera and microphone both work? Can you be seen and heard clearly?
- If you plan on sharing your screen, experiment beforehand so that you can use it efficiently during the interview.
- Help the candidate prepare for the interview
How the entire interview process is handled by you is all part of the candidate experience and it will form part of the impression they gain about your business. Bear in mind that for some candidates, video interviewing may be new to them. Be clear on the format of the interview, who will be involved, and how long it is likely to take. Share advice or resources to assist them. Let them know about:
- What equipment they will need.
- What video platform(s) you would prefer to use. You could send them a link to enable them to download the relevant software.
- Where to take the interview (e.g. a quiet room with a neutral background and lots of natural light if possible) and a reminder that candidates can always use the mute button when they’re not speaking (especially if they’re at home with kids or pets).
- Provide a backup number in case there are any technical glitches and the candidate needs to get in touch and ask them to provide the same for you.
- You might want to share some top tips on how to prepare for the video interview, so they are calm and can focus on the conversation.
- Choose a space for your interview
Choose your interviewing space with care. It needs to be clean and tidy and free of anything distracting (or confidential) in the background. It should be a well-lit room, but be aware that too much light coming through the windows or too little can make you difficult to see, and that can detract from your ability to connect with the candidate.
Also, if you have kids or pets at home that could be a distraction, make sure they are kept busy during the interview. No one wants to be this guy!
- Collaborate in advance with any colleagues interviewing with you
Do they have the right technology and the knowledge to use it effectively? Be clear with them too on how you want to conduct the interview. Who is going to cover what bit etc. This is particularly important if you are not used to conducting interviews together.
- Think about how you will sell your business as a great place to work
One of the challenges with video interviews is that your candidates are not going to have a chance to see your office first-hand, to meet the team, or to get a feel for your company culture. To compensate for that, spend time preparing how you can put this across. Think about any materials that you might be able to share during the interview to give the candidate a flavour of what working in your firm might be like. This could include videos and pictures of team events and activities.
Some of the video platforms allow you to add your own background image, maybe you could use a nice professional interior shot of the office to show it off?
- Interview Etiquette
Follow the same rules of professionalism and etiquette as you would in a real-life interview. It’s important to signal to every candidate that this video interview is as important and as serious as an in-person interview would be. Dress appropriately and make sure you are fully prepared and ready. Turn off the ringer on your phone and all other notifications that might pop up on the device you’re using and also those nearby. These can be very distracting to both you and the candidate and may give the impression you are not giving your candidate your full attention. The easiest way to do this is by clicking ‘do not disturb’ in your settings.
- Starting the interview off
Start on time. Being late virtually will go down no better than being late for a face to face meeting. As in a face to face situation, begin with a few pleasantries, and ensure the candidate is feeling settled.
- Body Language
Smile and make and sustain eye contact just as you would face to face. To do this effectively always look into the camera when you’re speaking rather than down at your screen. Speak clearly, nod when the candidate talks to show that you’re listening.
Just as with a face to face interview, your candidate will be able to read your body language for signs of interest or lack of interest etc. Be extra encouraging because for many candidates conducting an interview by video will add an additional level of stress to the normal interview situation.
- Take notes
Make notes about what the candidate says and how they behave and about the process. Better still, with the candidate’s permission, your technology may enable you to record the interview so you can revisit it later or share it with colleagues.
A few final words
A well-executed video interview allows you to deliver a quality candidate experience in by showing that yours is an agile and flexible organisation and the sort of business that will be attractive to the highest quality candidates.
And last of all, having secured a great new hire through remote interviewing, you may also have to manage some or all of their onboarding remotely too. It’s very important to keep up the good impression and make the onboarding process as effective as possible.