Top Tips For Holding a Video Interview

As video interviews become an ever more important and common part of the hiring process, Visium is looking to give you some of our top tips to successfully handle hosting your next video interview.
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Currently, working remotely is one of the most talked-about trends among professionals. It seems like LinkedIn is filled with people sharing their work-from-home tips and another well-known company announcing plans to expand its remote work policy. 

When we look at the data, however, COVID-19 has seemed to only accelerate a trend that was already experiencing a rise in popularity. FlexJobs reported that the number of remote positions had increased by over 44% over the past five years and 91% in the previous decade. 

Whether or not you and your organization plan to return to the workplace soon or are already back; for many working from home will be the new reality. We’ll continue to find new ways to collaborate and communicate with coworkers and clients from afar, as we’ve all done in the past few months. 

For example, the ever-important job interview. Meeting with candidates gives you the opportunity to ask questions that help decide the best fit for the job. You also get to see how the candidates conduct themselves, think on their feet, and handle pressure. These are things that are difficult, if not impossible, to figure out from a resume alone.

Without being able to meet candidates face-to-face, you can still get a sense for a candidate’s aptitude by conducting interviews remotely using video conferencing software, like Zoom, HighFive or Microsoft Teams—you just need to make a few adjustments.

At Visium, we have been doing remote videos for years, and we’ve learned a few things! In this blog post, we’ll give some tips on how we like to conduct a successful remote job interview.  

Email interview expectations and tips beforehand

The uncertainty of any job interview makes it an extremely stressful experience for the candidate. That’s why we recommend sharing as much information as possible with them before they come in for any kind of interview.

Of course, with a face-to-face interview, this information usually includes a schedule, directions to your office, and tips that will help the candidate succeed. In the case of a remote interview, you’ll keep some instructions while including new information that will help them prepare mentally. For example, email an interview schedule along with instructions for using the video conferencing software, including a link to download any apps they might need. The goal is to help the candidate know what is in store once they click the meeting link; to give them as much insight as possible. 

Prepare for a successful interview on your end

The uncertainty of any job interview makes it an extremely stressful experience for the candidate. That’s why we recommend sharing as much information as possible with them before they come in for any kind of interview.

Of course, with a face-to-face interview, this information usually includes a schedule, directions to your office, and tips that will help the candidate succeed. In the case of a remote interview, you’ll keep some instructions while including new information that will help them prepare mentally. For example, email an interview schedule along with instructions for using the video conferencing software, including a link to download any apps they might need. The goal is to help the candidate know what is in store once they click the meeting link; to give them as much insight as possible. 

Evaluate candidates on what matters

While the candidate should also be expected to take steps to prepare for a successful remote interview, keep in mind that unexpected issues can often occur on video calls. 

As you meet with the different candidates, don’t let irrelevant factors, often out of the candidate’s control, overly-influence your opinions of them. Interviews may get interrupted by a barking dog or neighbor’s lawnmower. Wi-Fi issues always seem to happen at the worst time. These distractions can be annoying but ultimately have nothing to do with a candidate’s qualifications for the job. 

In the event of a larger issue which disrupts the entire interview, consider asking the candidate to reschedule or finish speaking on the phone. You were impressed with their background enough to grant them an interview so give them every opportunity to share why they could be the right person for the job. 

Avoid team interviews

Asking candidates to meet with multiple team members at once has become a popular way to conduct interviews. Consolidating interviews can shorten the hiring process and makes the experience more conversational for the candidate. 

But we all know problems are more likely to occur during a video call when too many people are invited to participate. Minimize the likelihood of technical issues by having candidates interview with only one person at a time. Since remote interviews are less burdensome for a candidate, it is usually fine to schedule multiple interviews over a few hours; as long as their schedule permits.

If team interviews are important, consider trying to gather all the members from your tram together. The less devices that need to connect to the interview, the more likely it is that there will be no issues.

Be present and focused

There is of course a different dynamic that has to be acknowledged when interviewing someone through video. It’s all too easy to lose focus and catch your mind drifting, especially with everything going on in the world today. 

Remember that a remote interview isn’t just another meeting on your calendar. Your organization is trying to find its next employee. And the candidate is trying to take advantage of an opportunity to advance their career. Be respectful of everyone involved and ensure you’re present and listening carefully throughout the interview. 

Don’t jump right into the interview

When a candidate comes in for an interview, there is usually some amount of small talk that helps them get comfortable and establish a rapport with you. And you’re able to form an initial impression from the casual conversation. 

Try to replicate that relaxed start when conducting remote interviews. Instead of getting right to the heavy questions, take a minute to get acquainted. Talk about your professional background and what you love about working for the organization. Or use an interesting factoid from the candidate’s resume to ease into the formal interview. Even just ask how they are doing, and how their day is going can help the candidate to feel more comfortable. Talking in front of someone can be a difficult thing to do, regardless of whether it’s in person or on a video chat.

Take time to talk about culture, the workplace, and team members

In-person interviews often give candidates the opportunity to see your organization close-up. They leave knowing if they would be happy coming to your workplace every day to work alongside the people they met while there.

Candidates who interview remotely don’t get those same insights. Fill in some of the blanks for them by describing what the work environment is like, how your team operates, and who they’ll work closely with. Talk about what your organization values and what sets it apart from the other jobs you’ve had in the past. This is where you make your pitch to the candidate and hopefully get them excited to accept a potential offer. 

Take advantage of screen sharing

Many of the tips outlined in this blog post are possible solutions to some of the challenges remote interviews present. But there are also advantages to the format thanks to the features offered by video conferencing software.

Traditional job interview questions are generic and hypothetical (“what would you do if…”). In a modern remote interview, you can use screen sharing to show candidates real projects your team is working on and ask how they would contribute. Find out what they think you’ve done well and what they would do differently. 

And lastly, keep on hiring

Even as business gets going again, you and your candidates might not feel comfortable interviewing face-to-face. Don’t let physical distance deter your organization from growing its team. You can discover new employees to hire on remote interviews and meet them in person when the time is right.

Of course, Visium Resources can also help you with hiring! We have been doing remote video interviews for far longer than the current COVID crisis and have been extremely effective in providing highly qualified candidates to our clients across the nation. Normally, we conduct the first interview remotely and then provide a short “highlight” video to the client so they can meet the candidate while reading their resume! We have seen that this can reduce the amount of time our clients spend on finding new staff as they get to meet potential candidates as soon as possible.

If you would like more information about how we at Visium can use our tried and tested video interview system to help your organization, visit our website or give us a call today!

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