How to conduct good video interviews

As workplaces reopen, many companies continue to use video interviews during the hiring process. This could be because hiring managers discovered the benefits of such interviews, such as savings on travel costs and the possibility of early screening that was not done just by phone, throughout the job. COVID-19 pandemic.

Job seekers often see the benefits of video interviews as well. According to a survey conducted by iCIMS, the vast majority of job seekers (94%) like video interviews and 83% perceive companies using video interviews to be more innovative than companies that do not.

As the move towards video interviewing continues, employment site Indeed recently announced that companies posting jobs (free and sponsored) on its site can now access a video interview platform. free.

Much like in face-to-face interviews, hiring managers who conduct video interviews should promote their business to the prospect while assessing whether the candidate best fits the vacancy. However, the technology and unique dynamics of video interviews mean that there are pitfalls to overcome that do not arise during in-person interviews.

When Mark Coster, co-founder and senior SEO specialist at Australian digital agency FairyDigital, interviews potential team members, he often comes across candidates who either don’t turn on their video cameras or don’t know how to do it, which eliminates many advantages. video interviews.

These five tips can help hiring managers proactively plan and prepare for the challenges of video interviews.

1. Communicate expectations and processes prior to the interview.

Perry Zheng, who conducts about 10 video interviews per month as CEO of Cash Flow Portal, a Seattle-based real estate software syndication company, has noticed that many applicants are confused about the expectations and criteria used by a manager. recruitment to assess them during the video interview. .

“Some candidates are too caught up in the dressing, others are confused about the [visual] background, while some are constantly worried about background noise in their homes, ”Zheng said.

Sending the candidate an email at least 24 hours before the interview with the link to the interview and detailed instructions allows the interviewee to be more confident and prepared.

Make it clear in the email that the candidate will need to use a device with a camera and that the camera is on for the duration of the interview. Consider giving candidates tips to improve their performance, such as placing animals in another room, turning off cell phones, and closing messaging apps to avoid notification sounds.

2. Keep the structure similar to an in-person interview.

While the medium may be different, Coster said the video interview should be treated as a face-to-face interview.

“Just because the means have changed doesn’t mean the ‘how’ has to change, too,” Coster noted.

However, it’s easy to focus on the video aspect and forget about key elements of the interview process, such as providing company information at the start of the interaction and giving the candidate the opportunity to ask questions. questions at the end. A little planning can help you stay focused.

Before the interview, write a brief outline of the conversation to keep you on track during the meeting. If you typically show candidates work samples or software during interviews, you can use the screen sharing feature to help them better understand the responsibilities of the job.

3. Give the candidate feedback on the video and audio quality.

Zheng interviewed a candidate who used a background for the video call to hide the damaged walls of his house. However, the distracting images of cats and parrots combined with vivid colors prevented Zheng from focusing on the candidate.

Instead of judging the candidate, Zheng explained the problem, assuring that there was no need to be embarrassed by the wall, and the interview proceeded smoothly with no background.

If an issue interferes with the interview, whether it’s a technical issue or noise in the interviewee’s home, give the candidate the opportunity to correct the issue. Often times, the person may not be aware of the problem and you could potentially lose your next best employee to a barking dog.

When you give feedback and show compassion, the candidate may gain insight into what it would be like to work for you and may be more willing to accept an offer from your company.

4. Break the ice.

Christen da Costa, founder of Gadget Review, a California-based online guide to products and services, notes that people are more embarrassed and nervous during video interviews than during in-person interviews.

Because candidates tend to be less confident when using this medium, they spend more time breaking the ice during video interviews and asking questions about the candidate as a person, not just as a person. potential employee.

“It tends to mess with the nerves they’re feeling and they relax a bit,” da Costa said. “I let them know when I change gears and try to keep the interview concise, but I also give them verbal and visual cues to let them know I’m listening and absorbing what they’re telling me. . “

5. Keep the challenges of video in mind when evaluating candidates.

Sophie Parker, who has been video interviewed for several positions, said it was difficult to build a good relationship with an interviewer due to communication barriers such as maintaining eye contact and reading body language.

“Not everyone is used to speaking on camera,” Parker said. “I am extremely embarrassed when speaking on a formal video call. I feel like someone is filming me and I can’t go wrong.”

If you think a strong candidate may not have performed well in their interview due to technical or nervous issues, consider giving them a second chance. If possible, bring them in for an in-person interview or follow up with a phone call to gather more information without the pressure of the video camera.

Video interviews are probably one of the many permanent changes the pandemic has brought to the workplace. By learning how to conduct a great video interview, you can find the right person for your job.

Jennifer Goforth Gregory is a freelance writer based in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

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