Conducting a video interview might seem straightforward - you just have to speak in front of the camera with the other person, right? But actually, it takes a lot to make it engaging and successful. Let’s find out!
With the onset of the pandemic, a lot of businesses were forced to conduct video interviews instead of meeting in-person.
Taking a video interview, especially for first-timers, can feel daunting. Poor connectivity, time-zone mix-ups, low sound, and distracting locations - there are multiple challenges you might face while trying to deliver the best candidate experience.
But, lucky for you, there are several ways you can conduct an interesting video interview to take your recruitment process to the next level.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss 11 actionable tips to rock any video interview you find yourself conducting.
Define Your Purpose
What do you want to achieve with the video interview?
What information do you want to pull out from the candidate?
These are some of the questions you need answers to before you conduct a video interview.
Narrowing down your goals is the key to a successful interview.
Put a plan together with your hiring team. Determine what you want to understand about the candidates before interviewing them.
Is it their soft skills or their expertise in a particular subject? Or do you simply want to explain to them about your company’s culture?
No matter what it is, communicate the purpose with your candidates to make sure that you both are on the same page while the interview is going on.
Remember: A clearly defined purpose can go a long way in the successful evaluation of the interviewee. Plus, it also offers an exceptional video interview experience to the candidates, making them confident about their decision of working with you.
Preparation is the Key!
If you believe that only candidates should prepare for the BIG day, you need to think again.
Picture this: You’re conducting a video interview and suddenly your connection stops working. Or, you don’t have the required documents to share on the screen with the candidate. Terrifying, isn’t it?
In times like these, you don’t have any option other than to leave the interview in the middle, resulting in a wastage of time and effort.
But, you know what? Paying attention to a few points, you can completely avoid this situation. Here’s how you can do it:
- Always have a backup plan if your or the candidate’s internet connection becomes an issue.
- Prepare the slide presentation, if required. Make sure the documents and other necessary information are available on your laptop.
- If you’re going to conduct video interviews throughout the recruitment process, communicate the same to the candidates so that they can keep their equipment ready as and when required.
Watch this video for a few more tips:
Choose an Appealing Background
What if we tell you that your background matters for the video interview more than you think?
Confused, right? Hear us out!
What appears in the camera frame plays a crucial role in setting the tone of your video. When you conduct interviews in the office, the company is in charge of the physical setup.
But, in the case of video interviews, you are in charge. Make sure your background is clean, quiet, and well-lit.
Check what’s directly behind you. A pile of clutter or a busy hallway can be distracting.
When it comes to lighting, we cannot stress much about good and natural lighting. Too much or too little light can make it challenging for the interviewee to see you.
Finally, while choosing the background color, avoid light or beige colors unless you want to bore your interviewees to tears.
Dress to Impress
Now that your background is ready, it's time to choose a nice, formal attire.
Just because your interview is happening over Zoom, Skype, or any other platform in the comfort of your home, doesn’t mean you should dress casually.
Dress exactly like you would for an in-person office interview. Showing up in sweats and a T-shirt will signal the candidate that you’re not taking the interview seriously.
Dressing professionally gives the candidate an idea of your company culture and makes the video interview look more like an on-site interview.
Here are a few things you need to be aware of:
- Not all colors are camera-friendly. For example, your pure-white shirt may look great in person, but it can end up washing you out in front of the camera. Instead, go for colors like teal, navy, dark red, emerald green, coral, etc. And, avoid red, hot pink, orange, and pastels, as much as possible.
- Patterns like small prints, checked patterns, zig-zags, plaids, stripes, etc., are a big NO as these can ruin the video quality and make your candidates dizzy.
- When it comes to makeup, make sure to keep it natural, light, and undetectable to the interviewee.
Be Conscious of Your Body Language
Even if you’re fully prepared for the video interview, sitting at a quiet location, and wearing that business attire, there’s one thing that can ruin all your efforts, i.e. body language.
Just because you’re interviewing over your laptop does not mean basic courtesies are off the table.
Like in-person interviews, body language also plays a critical role during video interviews. It helps in shaping who you are and gives the candidate a sense of your level of professionalism.
Not sure how to mind your body language? Consider these tips:
- Avoid too much fidgeting as it projects a lack of confidence. Fiddling with your hair or pen in front of the camera can be distracting and make you look nervous in the interviewee’s eyes.
Pro tip: If you’re nervous, grab a stress ball and play with it underneath your desk, keeping it out of sight.
- Work on your posture. Crouching on a chair or resting your head on your hand makes you look like an uninterested and incompetent professional.
- Try to maintain eye contact and avoid up-and-down eye movements across your laptop screen.
Thus, sit upright, face the camera, smile genuinely, and keep your hand gestures to the minimum.
Do a Tech Run-Through
Let’s get real: Technology can cheat you sometimes, regardless of how many times you checked your equipment.
Hence, doing a test run of all your tech and cutting down technical difficulties at least an hour before can make sure that nothing gets in the way of your video interview.
Here’s a check-list of the tech stuff you need to check to maximize your candidate experience:
- Make sure your internet connection isn’t slow as it can make your image or audio choppy.
- Check if all your equipment is working properly, such as the computer, webcam, microphone, lights, video conferencing tools, etc.
- Avoid downloading anything in the background as it can kill your video quality.
Additionally, have a short video test-call with a friend to make sure you can see and be seen and hear and be heard.
Or, if you’re using the software for the first time, take time to familiarize yourself with its features, such as video and audio functions, mute/unmute option, screen sharing, and many more.
Prepare Your Questions in Advance
When it comes to video interviews, never try to wing it. It’s crucial to prepare a list of questions you want to ask the candidates to ensure you don’t forget any key information during the interview.
Your video interview questions are probably the same questions you’ve outlined for in-person and onsite interviews. Once decided, arrange them in a cohesive flow. Also, make sure to cover 6Ws: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How.
Use warm-up questions in the beginning to break the ice. Examples? "Tell me about yourself.", "What do you know about the company?".
Gradually, move on to more in-depth, relevant, and behavioral questions.
Also, try to script open-ended questions that can help you extract as much information as possible from the candidate. Plus, avoid questions with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers as these aren’t going to help you know the interviewee better.
Here's a video that can help:
Control Interruptions As Much As Possible
Let’s face it; there’s nothing worse than being interrupted by roommates, family members, children, or even pets while conducting a video interview.
After all, who wants their toddler screaming right at the moment they’re asking some serious questions, right?
To avoid such noises and interruptions, here’s what you can do:
- First and foremost, apologize, address the situation, and move on. Mute your microphone or turn off your camera for a moment and cut out the technical difficulties.
- Avoid conducting a video interview in a public place, such as a café unless you want to invite unlimited distractions.
- Set up a room where you can close the door and inform the person you share your space with not to disturb you while the interview is going on.
- If there’s something unavoidable, like ongoing construction work, or a sudden bark of your dog, make the interviewee aware of the same.
- Put your mobile on ‘do not disturb’ mode and pause any notification on your PC.
Remember: While conducting the video interview, your ultimate goal should be to devote complete attention to the candidates by turning off the rest of the world.
Put Your Candidate At Ease
Regardless of the type, interviews can be pretty scary and stressful for the candidate. The good news is you can help them feel relaxed and at ease so that they can be themselves and perform naturally.
Wondering how to do that? Check the following tips:
- Overcommunication is the key to successful video interviews. Reach out to them before the BIG day, and provide them with all the necessary details regarding the interview.
- Encourage them to treat the video interview like an in-person interview. Suggestions related to professional attire, background, lighting, body language, etc., can help them a lot.
- You can even create a ‘Welcome Video’ introducing yourself and the company, for an exciting and inviting experience.
Treat It Like A Conversation
This helps when you want to foster a deeper, human-like connection with your interviewee.
You don’t have much time to interact with the candidates before or after the interview. Thus, it’s better to build a rapport with them while the interview is going on.
Being personable in a video interview can go a long way in evaluating the professional as well as personal attributes of the candidates, which can further help you in taking the right decision.
Thus, talk to the interviewee as if you’re talking to someone you know well, while still being professional. Feel free to comment on their answers and add your questions, wherever appropriate.
Record Your Previous Interviews
Recording your previous interviews is an efficient way to prepare for your next video interview and notice what needs to be fixed.
Since you can always replay and review it later, it can help you assess your body language and your responses to the candidate’s answers.
Plus, it also allows you to check whether the audio or video feature is working properly. Or, if the interview was engaging enough for both the parties.
Not only that, you can gain a more accurate view of the candidate’s capabilities, which is quite difficult to figure out while the virtual interview is going on.
It’s only when you watch the recording later that you notice the nitty-gritty of the interview and understand how you can improve your performance for the next ones.
StoryXpress Screen Recorder is an excellent tool that can help you record your video interviews to watch them later. All you need to do is install the Chrome extension, sign-up, and hit 'Record' to start recording. Simple, isn’t it?
There’s no doubt a video interview is the way to go when it comes to making your hiring process more flexible, cost-effective, and quick.
It is also an amazing tool to reach untapped talent, such as remote employees who prefer flexible work options.
However, video interviews don't have to be intimidating. Just like a standard in-person interview, prepare yourself, look professional, make your interviewee comfortable, and you’re good-to-go.