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Keys to conducting a successful video interview

Apr 14, 2020

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A successful video interview will require the right technology, strong verbal and non-verbal communication skills and a solid cultural pitch to engage candidates and uncover who has the personality, communication style, confidence level and experience to perform the job.  

The new world of work may not seem quite normal just yet as organizations across the globe re-invent business as usual. Yet, as the world eases into working from home and hybrid work structures, hiring is happening.

And for many talent acquisition teams, the new normal means transitioning from in-person interviews to video interviews in order to screen candidates and bring talent quickly and effectively into a workforce. 

Research indicates that 60 per cent of hiring managers and recruiters used video technology in their talent acquisition process even before the pandemic, yet for so many other hiring professionals and their organizations, video interviews are new and teams are still adapting to new technologies and ways of doing things.  

Whether you’re familiar with conducting video interviews or transitioning into video, these tips to perfect your process.

Set a process for how a video interview will be conducted and communicate that process to your teammates and candidates  

Are you wondering how best to interview candidates? As your processes change, it’s important to ensure that everyone involved in the hiring phase is on the same page about how your organization will source, screen, onboard and effectively manage talent. You also want to ensure that the person you video interview is the person you hire! 

Your team 
For you and your team, an effective strategy may include documenting and sharing process changes in a central environment to provide guidance and minimize confusion on how to conduct a video interview.  

Organizations like LinkedIn, for example, created a shared document where remote workers from around the world could post questions about the new video interview process and leadership would respond with answers and resources about how the company will be conducting their video interviews.  

Your candidates 
During times of uncertainty and high stress, over communication with your candidates is okay—they want to be put at ease. When offering a video interview, give a detailed rundown of the meeting and share the expectations, timelines and the names of the participants who will be involved in the video process.   

Line up and test your tech  

First thing’s first: Do you have a strong WIFI or internet connection for video?  

Some areas in your home or remote working location will have better signal strengths than others, so make sure to test which area has the strongest one to perform your video interviews. 

To minimize disruption and maximize the candidate experience during video interviews, it’s important to ensure you’ll have no hiccups with your audio/video capabilities or video conferencing tools. On your device, this means testing things like your microphone, camera and screen sharing capabilities.   

If you haven’t used video conferencing tools before, there are many popular (and reliable) options like ZoomSkypeMicrosoft Teams or Google Hangouts that have attractive features for video interviewing. 

Microsoft Teams and Zoom, for example, allows a user to choose a virtual background, effectively transitioning any space into a more professional setting.  

Choose a distraction-free area 

When conducting a video interview, choose a quiet space where you and your candidate can communicate with the least amount of interruption and distractions as possible. If you don’t have a home office or virtual backgrounds as an option, choose a well-lit room that has a plain background that’s devoid of things like photos or posters. It’s important to also be aware of how much light is in the room. Both too much or too little indoor or outdoor light can make it difficult to see during the video interview , and therefore, connect with your candidate.  

Craft a compelling culture pitch and have it ready 

Social distancing and working remote do present some challenges when it comes to advocating for the company culture of your organization or your clients’. As candidates will not have the opportunity to be onsite and get a firsthand experience of the office, working environment and employees, it’s important to take extra time to prepare an attractive and engaging pitch for what it’s like to work there before the video interview takes place. 

Telling a great story is always an effective way to do this. Take into consideration the organization’s values, vision and mission and how they tie into your candidates’ experience, values and goals.  

Dress (and be) as professional on video as you would in an in-person interview 

When it’s time to interview candidates, it’s important to give the impression that the video interview is just as serious and professional as an in-person interview – even if you’re conducting it from your kitchen with a virtual background. This means dressing just like you would in an office environment with your phone off and resources (like their resume, the job posting, culture pitch, your interview questions, list of participants, etc.) ready.  

To provide the best candidate experience, remember to take notes and use the same body language and verbal communication skills you would in person.  

Don’t penalize a candidate if life in quarantine interrupts the interview

While you want the video interview to remain professional as possible, it’s important to have compassion if unavoidable distractions occur. If a dog barks or kids make a noise, candidates shouldn’t be penalized for life in quarantine – especially if partners, family members and roommates are all working from home and/or the kids are home from schools. 

A well-executed video interview should provide the same insights into whether the candidate is still under consideration for the role or contract. You want to ensure to end the conversation in the same manner you would after an in-person interview to discuss the next step or terminate the process.  

Hiring the right person for your role is an important thing to get right. Hiring the wrong person costs you a lot more than time. 

Learn more about how to find talent on your terms:

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