Conducting Your First Video Interview? Here are 5 Tips to Follow

With some degree of social distancing likely to be kept in place for the foreseeable future, video interviews will become the new norm when it comes to assessing candidates.

If you’ve interviewed candidates for a remote vacancy before, there’s a good chance that you already have experience of using video software, such as Skype or Zoom, to meet with applicants. However, for many hiring managers, video interviews will be a completely new concept.

As such, we’ve put together our top tips to help your first video interview run as smoothly as possible.

1. Provide as much information as you can to your candidate prior to the interview

Video interviewing might be a new concept for you and it’s likely to be a new experience for your candidate too! Make sure you provide them with as much information as you can ahead of time via your interview management system.

Explain the format of the interview – will it be straightforward questions and answers, for example, or will they be set any tasks to complete? You should also make it clear how long the interview is likely to last for. Your candidates will probably have distractions at home, such as family members or pets, so it’s important you make them aware of how long they need to be available for.

Additionally, when you send the email invitation for your candidate to connect to the interview, try to follow up with a phone call to make sure they’ve received it – the last thing you want is for it to land in their junk items and miss it.

2. Make sure you’re well presented and in a distraction-free environment

When holding a face-to-face interview, you would make an effort to present yourself professionally; a video interview should be no different. A sloppy appearance shows a lack of respect for your candidate and, after all, you wouldn’t be impressed if they didn’t present themselves in a professional manner.

If you’re working from home yourself, make sure you’re in a distraction-free environment where you can’t be interrupted. Turn your phone to silent (or better yet, turn it off) and turn off your email notifications. Give the candidate your full attention.

3. Make sure you test your audio and camera prior to the interview

Take some time to get to grips with the video software you’re using; it’s worth giving it a trial run if you’ve never used it before. At least an hour before your interview is due to start, test the audio on your computer and make sure your camera is working properly. This should give you enough time to fix any issues.

Additionally, when your candidate dials in to the call, ask them if they can hear you clearly as you speak into the microphone. Some candidates might be too polite to say anything once the interview has started and if they’re struggling to hear, it might cause them to provide confused answers to your questions.

4. Be personable and put candidates at ease

If video interviews are a new experience for your candidate, they’re likely to feel a bit out of their comfort zone so you should try and make them feel as comfortable as possible.

Start the interview by introducing yourself and giving an overview of what you do, as well as running through the format of the interview. This should put candidates at ease before the time comes for them to start talking.

Remember to smile throughout the interview and maintain eye contact with the candidate, just as you would in a face-to-face situation.

5. Set their expectations and follow-up

At the end of your video interview, make the candidate aware of the timescales of when they will hear back from you. Make sure to send a follow-up email thanking them for their time and re-confirming the next steps in the process.

As this would typically happen at the end of a face-to-face interview, this provides candidates with a sense of familiarity and means they can move forward with confidence.

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