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How to Conduct a Successful Video Job Interview

Video call business people meeting on virtual workplace or remote office. Telework conference call using smart video technology to communicate colleague in professional corporate business.

The hiring landscape has changed in recent years. With expanding remote work possibilities, job candidates have more options and can therefore be choosier about what company they work for. So, as an employer, you must work harder to inspire them. Because of the nature of remote work, that process includes video interviews. You should be mindful of the impression you’re making as you prepare for, conduct, and follow up on interviews with job candidates. 

Just as you can tell many things about a potential employee during an interview — such as their knowledge base, their communication ability, and their organizational skills — they can tell much about you. Possible employees look for things like the state of your technology, your ability to clearly state instructions, your level of engagement, and how well you manage your time. 

Of course, an interview is also an opportunity to assess the skills and culture fit of potential employees. This is especially important if you’re hiring for a remote position because the video interview reflects how you will always be communicating with candidates if you hire them. Here, BairesDev offers a few helpful tips for creating the best environment for showcasing your company and evaluating potential team members. 

Know How to Use the Software

Use software that is reliable, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet. If you’re familiar with the platform, make sure all your settings are in place before the interview. If you’re not familiar with it, ask a colleague to walk you through it, or train yourself using an online video. Perform a test run before your first video interview to make sure you know how to operate all the features, including video and sound adjustments, and screen sharing. 

In addition to the software itself, you’ll need to ensure your physical environment is suitable for interviews. Choose a location that’s neat, clean, well-lighted, and quiet. Make sure items in the background are professional, such as plants, framed degrees, and books. If you’re working from home, arrange for kids and pets to be cared for during your sessions. Eliminate other possible distractions as well, such as alarms from your phone or open software on your computer.  

Communicate Clearly

Keep in mind that job candidates may not be familiar with your technology. Send them specific instructions, including things like whether or not they will need to download software or create a username and password. If possible, include screenshots, troubleshooting tips, and a phone number to call in case they have problems. Send all this information to each candidate well before their scheduled interview. 

Another communication opportunity is providing information about your company and its employees. While job candidates can do their own research online, consider sending them an electronic package of success stories, awards, and other accomplishments. Also include information about salary, benefits, and your company’s culture. 

Be Professional

Don’t let the video format or the fact that you’re working from home stop you from maintaining professionalism. Rather than the hoodie you might prefer when in everyday meetings with your team, dress in business casual attire for interviews. Look directly into the camera when speaking so the interviewee feels you are speaking directly to them. 

The same should go for your demeanor. Friendliness and a few icebreaker questions are fine, but don’t veer from the task at hand: determining whether or not the interviewee is a good fit for your company and whether your company is a good fit for them. Give them your undivided attention and make sure you have things like water and a notepad set up before the interview begins. 

Prepare in Advance

Well before the interview, review the job description and make sure you understand very well what you’re looking for. If it’s helpful, create a spreadsheet that you can use as a checklist after every interview to determine which candidates have which required skills

Also research the candidates themselves, including their resume, cover letter, and any other information they provide. Look for their LinkedIn profile, website, or portfolio online. Add to your standard question items you may be interested in regarding each candidate. Additionally, think in advance about how you’ll answer questions they are likely to ask you about the job and your company. 

The following video provides useful suggestions for preparation:

Budget Enough Time

Budget about twice as much time for the interview process as the scheduled interview itself. Before the interview, use part of the extra time to do a final review of the candidate’s information, address any technical issues, and make sure you have everything you need. Use the remaining extra time for longer-than-expected interviews and to review and finalize your notes. 

Consider how much time you’ll need for each question and stick to that schedule as much as possible. Going a little over the scheduled time is acceptable, but if you do, be respectful of the interviewee’s time by asking if they are available to continue. If they’re not, consider a follow-up call to discuss any outstanding questions. Make sure to leave time to answer their questions as well.

Follow Up

As suggested above, consider having a checklist of must-haves and nice-to-haves and evaluate each candidate after their interview. When you have all this information compiled, conduct a debrief with others within your company who have interviewed the candidate and/or higher-level managers who must approve any new hires. 

Contact candidates as soon as possible to let them know their status and next steps. If the decision process is delayed, communicate that too. 

Don’t Be Intimidated by Video Interviews

Even if you’ve never conducted a video interview before, don’t get hung up on the details. Many of the skills are the same as you need for an in-person interview, and those that aren’t are easily learned. If you take what you already know as a good interviewer and translate it to the video format, you should be in good shape to hire your next employees.

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