Video interviews: Best practices for getting to know candidates

 

Conducting interviews is a necessary part of running a business and hiring the right candidates to work for you. As remote work and the ability to hire people from all over the country and the world gains momentum, so does the need to interview potential candidates from a distance. Thanks to the many technological advances over the last decade, video interviews are more common than ever. While this practice has gained popularity, it's still new to many business owners and hiring managers. So, here are some video interview best practices to help you get to know candidates.

Prepare for the video interview

Whether you're interviewing a potential employee in person or online, it's important to go into the conference prepared. A video interview has its benefits, but you'll want to take the right steps to ensure it goes smoothly and that you learn the information you need to get the right person for the job. These are some tips to help you get ready for a video interview:

Test your video conferencing equipment

There are several video conferencing platforms you can use to conduct your interview, but the one you use isn't as important as knowing how to use it. If you're struggling to get the meeting started or the link you send the interviewee doesn't work right, it can disrupt the interview and the discussion you're hoping to have. Testing your equipment before the interview allows you to use it and get a better understanding of what to expect during the actual interview. This can help things run smoothly and cause less stress for you and the candidate.

Set up the interview

Once you've chosen and tested the interview platform you want to use, you can set up the interview. Most platforms will provide all members of the meeting with a link to join the video interview. This means you can interview more than one person at a time or have more than one member of your hiring team present for the interview if you'd like. Just set the time and date of the interview and then inform all involved parties.

Choose an interview space

An in-person interview typically takes place in an office or another out-of-the-way location, but choosing where to conduct a video interview can be more challenging. You want to find a location that's free of distractions, such as colleagues or your phone. It's important to focus on the interviewee and their answers, so you can get to know them better, and that they focus on you and your questions. Consider these things when selecting your video interview location:

Lighting

For a video interview, lighting is especially important. Make sure you avoid having any bright lights, such as from windows or lamps, directly behind you because it can cause a glare or make it hard to look in your direction. However, you want to make sure the room is brightly lit so that the candidate can see you clearly.

Sound

Sound is also very important when conducting a video interview. If the interviewee can't hear you, they may not be able to answer your questions clearly. Background noise can sound much louder to the person on the other side of the video conference, so make sure to silence your phone, find a quiet room where no one will disturb you, and make sure there are no motors or electronic sounds, such as an air conditioner or automatic door, that can be amplified through the speaker on your computer.

Video interview best practices

Managing a remote team can be challenging, which is why learning video interview best practices is a good idea. It can help you hire candidates who have the skills they need to excel in their positions and who understand the duties and requirements of the job. Ultimately, this can help reduce employee turnover and improve productivity for your company. Here are some video interview best practices to think about before your next meeting:

Posture and eye contact

Just like when interviewing a candidate in person, maintaining good posture and eye contact during a video interview helps you appear more professional and also sets the candidate at ease. They'll feel as though you're paying attention to them and listening to what they have to say. Good posture exudes confidence, which can help the candidate form a positive first impression of you. This means you may need to adjust your computer or your workstation to ensure you don't have to slouch to see the screen properly.

Professional dress code

Although you may hear stories of people conducting video interviews in pajamas, this isn't a recommended practice. To show your job candidates that your company is to be taken seriously, as is the position, you should maintain a professional dress code during video interviews. Wear the same clothes you'd wear to the office or job site or something you'd expect the candidate to wear to the workplace. This helps set the tone and shows them what you'll expect in their dress if they're offered the role.

Tone and communication

In a video interview, your tone is key to setting the candidate at ease and helping them feel more comfortable answering your questions. Speak clearly and loud enough for them to hear you, but not so loudly that they feel like you're yelling or being too forceful. Ask questions in a friendly tone and provide plenty of time for them to formulate an answer. If they have to ask you to repeat the question, try saying it again in a different way, but avoid sounding frustrated or annoyed.

Notes and reviews

During your video interview, remember to take notes on the answers the candidates give and your thoughts and feelings about their responses. Think about how well they'll fit in with your company's culture. Be upfront with them about what you're writing so you don't make them nervous. You can explain that simple notes about their responses help you remember them better when making a selection. After the interview, you might want to write a review of your overall thoughts on the candidate before you move to the next one.

Video interview tips

When you decide to take the leap and try scheduling a video interview, you might feel just as nervous as the job candidate, especially if it's your first time. Consider these tips to ensure your interview is successful and you get to know the candidate so you can make an informed decision:

  • Ask the right questions. You can make sure you get the information you want by asking the right questions. Prepare what you want to ask before the interview so you touch on all the important aspects of the role and the company.
  • Give them time to answer. Before moving on to the next question, make sure you've listened to the candidate's full answer. They may need time to think about what they want to say. Actively listening can help them relax and provide you with more information on their background and history related to the job.
  • Let them ask questions. At the end of the interview or after providing them with any details about your company or the role, ask the candidate if they have any questions. Don't rush them, as it can be difficult to process a lot of new information.
  • Explain any next steps to take. If there's anything you need the candidate to do to follow up the interview, such as perform a background check or submit more paperwork, share that with them before they leave. You may also want to send it in an email just to be clear and thorough.

Using these video interview best practices, you can conduct a successful interview that helps you find the perfect candidate for the position you need to fill. This can simplify your hiring process and help you reach more candidates.


Learn more about how to get the best candidates for your business with these helpful ideas:

If you have a strong company culture, learn how to hire someone who fits in well.

With the increased use of cell phones, you may want to learn the best practices for texting candidates.

Attract more employees with these 11 benefits you can offer remote workers.

Hire better and more qualified candidates by updating your hiring strategy to meet the demand of today's job market.

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