Six Tips for Conducting a Successful Video Interview with Job Candidates

Video interviews have a lot to offer as part of the hiring process: they save time, offer greater flexibility than face-to-face interviews, and – when done well – can enhance your company’s reputation by providing an outstanding job candidate experience.

To improve your chances of finding just the right hire, use these 6 tips for conducting a successful video interview.

1.      Plan and Prepare

Planning ahead will help both you and your interviewees get off on the right foot. Always contact job candidates well in advance to clarify:

  • who will initiate the video interview call,
  • any user names, conference call numbers, or log-in information that may be required, and
  • the interview date and time (Pro Tip: sending a request through Google Calendar will prevent time zone confusion)

You may also want to forward a thought-provoking interview question as part of your preparations to gauge how well candidates prepare to respond during your video meeting.

2.      Pick the Right Place

Where and how you conduct your video interview can reflect on your company for better or worse. Pick a place where distractions and background noise will be minimal, turn off your notifications, and forward all incoming calls directly to voicemail.

You should also consider lighting and what’s visible in the background of the space you’ll be using. Having a window behind you, for example, may throw your face into shadow, making it difficult for the person you’re interviewing to see you.

3.      Do a Pre-Check

Whether it’s Skype, Zoom, or dedicated video interviewing software, familiarize yourself in advance with the video chat program you’ll be using – and make sure everything is functioning properly before you go live.

You can avoid awkward tech glitches during your interview by doing a pre-check for:

  • poor lighting,
  • sound, voice, or microphone problems, and
  • internet connection issues

It may also be worth recording a pre-interview call to check and adjust your posture, tone of voice, and where you tend to focus your eyes (Pro Tip: remember to look at the camera, not your screen, so you’ll appear focused on your interviewee).

4.      Pay Attention

Just like in-house interviews, video interviews provide an opportunity to look for visual cues about the person you’re considering hiring.

You can gather valuable information, for example, just by noting:

  • how your candidate is dressed,
  • whether they’ve left questionable items visible around them, and
  • how prepared they are to provide answers to your pre-interview questions, and ask insightful questions of their own

Body language can be tougher to read over video, but you can still watch for signs that the other person is doing something other than listening while you’re speaking – like scanning texts or emails, for example.

5.      Be Professional

The success of your video interview hinges on being professional. Dress appropriately, engage in active listening, and don’t change the way you’d normally run an interview just because you’re conducting this one remotely.

You want potential hires to feel at ease – so feel free to smile early and often, but keep your conversation on track. Continually going off-topic during an interview disrespects your candidate’s time, wastes yours, and can make you appear disorganized and distracted.

6.      Finish on a Positive Note

It’s discourteous and unfair to leave job candidates hanging at the end of any interview. Be clear about next steps so your interviewee will know what to expect, and when they should follow up with you.

Recruitment is a two-way street. And interviewing is as much an opportunity for potential new hires to get to know your company better, as it is for you to learn more about them. Use these tips to make every video interview you conduct a positive experience for everyone involved.

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