As the health and safety of staff and clients becomes a pressing and worldwide concern, employers are increasingly turning towards video platforms for their recruitment drives, using digital software to carry out job interviews. Here are some tips on how to conduct successful video interviews:
The first step is to find suitable software that both your business and your candidates will find easily accessible, some of the most popular video conferencing platforms being Skype and Zoom. Consider what is plausible for your business and install the software as needed on multiple computers or laptops. It’s important to have back-up technology ready to use if problems occur.
To lower the chances of running into problems, test it ahead of time - set up your account, test the video quality, ensure the microphone works and run a test call with someone in the office.
Likewise, set up your computer or laptop in a private and quiet room with a strong Wi-Fi signal. Other things to consider is the room’s lighting (natural light is best), sound reverberation (the room should have no echo) and backdrop (which should be neutral and unobtrusive) in order to appear professional.
Candidates should feel like it’s taking place in a professional environment.
Interviews should follow a pre-determined procedure so that all the staff members involved in the recruitment process are aware of the format and how the interviews are being conducted.
As in face-to-face interviews, all candidates should be measured fairly and consistently throughout the entire process. Due to the video format this can be trickier than usual. To ensure success, list the interview questions ahead of time and consider what the potential barriers to answering certain questions might be, particularly if it requires candidates to showcase previous work. For ease, keep to a simple question and answer format and if you need to address their CV and Cover Letter, print it off in advance.
Providing information to candidates ahead of the interview will maximise the chances of it running successfully: this includes the date, time, name of the interviewer, video platform details (ideally with a ‘how-to’ guide), an approximation for how long the interview will last, what they should prepare and what to expect from the process. Similarly, provide further contact details if the video software does not work.
Assume everything will go to plan but prepare for if it doesn’t.
It’s also important for the interviewer to consider their demeanor and adapt their approach to the format: be as professional and as well-mannered as you would be during an in-person interview, and be prepared for interruptions in the form of failures that occur from using technology, for example video lagging or a dropped connection. If this happens, remain calm and reassure the candidate their interview will resume momentarily.
Likewise, if something is disruptive on the candidate’s side in the form of a dog barking or a door banging, be forgiving and recognise that certain elements are out of their control (and does not reflect a lack of preparedness).
Maintain eye contact throughout (look into the webcam and not their face on the screen) and ensure your body language is relaxed and friendly (no crossed arms or glancing around the room in distraction). Candidate’s will respond to the energy in the room even through a screen, so hold yourself accountable and focus on the person, listen carefully and steer the interview in a productive manner.
Another tip on how to conduct successful video interviews is to allow the candidates time to think and formulate their ideas.
Through video, it can be difficult to gauge if a person has finished speaking or you may feel obligated to fill silences quickly without gathering your thoughts, but if you treat it as a normal conversation – involving all the nuances involved – it will be easier for you and the candidate to interact. As a result, the interview will feel less stilted.
Once the interview is over – and you’ve successfully ended the video call! - ensure that you have a strategy in place for following up with candidates.
Consider requesting feedback on the process, particularly if conducting virtual interviews is a new practice for your business. Likewise, make notes on what you thought went well, what differed from a face-to-face interview and what you’d like to improve upon in the future regarding your own performance.
By applying the above tips on how to conduct successful video interviews, your hiring practices will become more adaptable than ever, which is a particularly valuable selling point as more and more technology integrates into the workplace and impacts the recruitment process.