How to Conduct a Video Interview

How to Conduct a Video Interview and Find the Perfect Candidate

As the world continues to operate more remotely, video interviews have settled as a mainstay in the hiring process. In fact, according to StandOut CV, a sizable 69% of employers have continued to conduct virtual interviews post-pandemic.

To attract the best candidates - particularly if you're in an industry where it's hard to hire the top talent - it's important to ensure your video interviewing skills are up to scratch. Every interview should be well organized and well prepared in order to give candidates a great first impression of your company. And to make the hiring process more enjoyable for you, too!

With that in mind, we've spoken to two hiring managers about their experiences of conducting video interviews, to find out more about the challenges of remote interviews and how to overcome them. Keep reading for tips to help you secure the perfect candidate.

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1. Streamline your candidate list

This rise in remote and hybrid working means that you have the opportunity to target a wider pool of talent than ever before. And conducting interviews via video means that you can see more candidates faster. Thanks to this combination, it's easy to fall into the trap of interviewing more people than necessary.

"This was especially the case in the early days of Open Velocity where I was getting used to not having HR support," says Bethan Vincent, Managing Partner at Open Velocity.

The solution? Streamline your candidate list so that you're prioritizing quality over quantity. Not only will this save you a lot of time, it'll make the decision process easier too.

2. Schedule breaks between interviews

For the sake of efficiency, it can be tempting to book interviews back to back. But this can soon lead to Zoom fatigue. What's more, if you don't give yourself a break between calls, you can quickly get behind on your other tasks too.

"Although it's tempting to book back-to-back interviews, it's important to schedule breaks and make time for the administrative tasks that also need completing during the day," says Grace Buchanan, Culture & Talent Lead at Journey Further. "I'm careful to block out my day into call times and admin times, so I know I can complete all my scheduled tasks, and also be in the right headspace to do them."

"Hosting calls (a higher energy task) and completing admin (a lower energy task) require different headspaces so it's useful to schedule your day to accommodate both, giving yourself the time to settle into each and prevent Zoom fatigue and burnout."

It's also important to set aside a bit of time before the meeting to prepare and get into the right mindset, and afterwards to make a note of your impressions and key points from the conversation. The longer you wait to do this, the more likely you are to confuse candidates or forget important information!

3. Set time aside to build rapport

The major downside of video vs face-to-face interviews is that it's harder to build rapport with candidates through a screen. Body language is harder to gauge, it's tricker to make eye contact, and it's harder to set the tone of the interview and create an atmosphere where the candidate can express their true selves.

"This was an issue for me right at the start of the pandemic when I suddenly found myself hiring completely over video for the first time," says Bethan. "I was in the middle of a hiring round and typically liked to invite people for an informal coffee chat in our office as a first-stage interview."

"Since then, I've kept the approach of an informal 30-40 minutes the same, but I'm clear with candidates in advance that it is an informal chat and I expect them to ask me lots of questions (and welcome it). This sets the tone for the call from the outset."

Grace also emphasizes the importance of trying to build rapport: "Something I prioritize with this in mind is always taking care to ask how someone's day is going, or making the same light conversation you would with another person if you were meeting them in an office."

A little can go a long way in terms of making someone feel relaxed and getting to know a candidate that bit better.

4. Reduce the likelihood of no-shows

There's little worse than setting time aside to conduct a video interview and preparing your questions, only to discover you've been stood up by the candidate. "It's much easier to ghost a video interview than a face-to-face," says Bethan. "This can be challenging, especially in a tight labor market where frankly candidates have the upper hand."

But how can you reduce the likelihood of no-shows?

Bethan says: "I use tools like Calendly which empower people to self-serve and reschedule if needed. I also send an email one hour before the allocated call time to serve as a reminder."

5. Ensure the candidate has everything they need before the call

It may not be as bad as ghosting, but having the interview delayed because you forgot to send the candidate everything they need is both frustrating and entirely avoidable. It's also stressful for the candidate, and can contribute to making them flustered, setting the wrong tone for the rest of the interview.

"I always make sure to share call details ahead of time so the other person has time to prepare," says Grace.

Ahead of the interview - ideally a couple of days before - provide information and instructions so that they know what to expect and how to connect to the call. This should include:

  • A link to the meeting URL

  • The passcode/meeting ID/username and password they may need to join the meeting

  • A reminder to check their internet/video/audio ahead of the call

  • A reminder to find a quiet space

6. Have a backup plan in case of tech issues

Sometimes tech issues are unavoidable, no matter how prepared you and your candidate are. You think things are going smoothly and then suddenly the internet cuts out, a microphone stops working, or worst of all, a laptop suddenly dies.

That's why it's always important to have a backup plan.

It's a good idea to include a phone number in the meeting invitation so that candidates have an alternative way to reach you, and if it fits with the structure of the interview, you can then offer to finish the interview via a phone call instead.

"If it's possible, I will offer to host a phone call or simply reschedule," says Grace. "Technical issues can have one of the largest impacts on building rapport, as those moments are stressful for the person concerned. I think it's important to reassure that person (or yourself, if it's your internet that's broken!) that everything is fine and that it's possible to reschedule."

Zoom interview tips for employers: quick recap

Ready to conduct your next video interview? Remember:

  • Streamline your candidate list

  • Schedule breaks between interviews

  • Set time aside to build rapport

  • Reduce the likelihood of no-shows

  • Ensure the candidate has everything they need before the call

  • Have a backup plan in case of tech issues

For more Zoom tips, check out our guide on how to transcribe a Zoom meeting, or find out about integrating Zoom with Transcribe for a seamless experience.

Written By Katie Garrett

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