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8 Video Interview Tips to Recruit Top Talent

The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t just impacted how we work. It’s also impacted how companies interview and onboard employees. Thankfully, we have the technology to fill the coronavirus-shaped hole in the recruitment process. It’s virtual interviews and video interview tips to the rescue!

With in-person interviews currently off the table, video interviews are having a moment. According to one study, 87% of businesses are currently conducting interviews remotely to evaluate the merits and suitability of candidates. Yet, while the objective of a video interview remains the same as a real-world interview, the format shift means there are some key differences.

While remote interviews can give you access to a larger talent pool, they do come with some major downsides. One of the risks of the virtual interview is losing the non-verbal communication cues that can give you a better understanding of a candidate. The best way to compensate for this loss is through careful preparation and good video interview questions.

Check out the virtual job interview tips outlined below to ensure your video interviews are nothing but smooth sailing.

Essential Video Interview Tips: Get The Right Software

There are dozens of easy-to-use video software applications to choose from, including paid platforms and free options such as Google Hangouts, Skype, and Zoom. With that being said, the abundance of choice and availability doesn’t mean you should leave selecting the one you’ll use to the last minute. Being comfortable with the software is a key part of video interview preparation, so give yourself time to get to grips with all the buttons and settings ahead of time.

If video software is the vehicle that’ll virtually transport you to your candidate, then your computer and internet connection is the earth upon which it travels. They should both be robust enough to deliver a smooth video and audio connection. Holding a video call with a colleague to check everything’s working as it should is a reassuring way to prepare for a video interview.

Over-Communicate with Your Candidate

The additional logistics involved in a video interview mean communication with your candidate is doubly-important. Try to give as much notice as you can, or, if possible, offer several days/times for the interview. This will give them time to download software, organize a quiet space, make childcare arrangements, and so forth. If you’re using software that isn’t readily available (such as Skype, Google Hangouts), then be sure to provide detailed instructions on how they can access the platform.

Choose A Professional Setting

Your office is custom-designed to exude seriousness and professionalism. Your home? Not so much. Your candidates’ eyes will be on you, but they’ll naturally gaze beyond and check out what’s happening in the background at some point. What will they see? Don’t let your video interview background distract the candidate! A row of (respectable) books or a blank background will do the trick when in doubt.

Treat It Like A Real-World Interview

We miss the office atmosphere; we don’t miss picking out a professional outfit to wear Monday through Friday. Working from home does have a benefit, and that benefit is pajamas. However, while most of the time it is fine to go about your business in clothes that are high on comfort but low on style, a video interview is not one of those times. To hire the best employee and keep your professional reputation intact, be sure to keep in mind one of our most important virtual interview tips: treat this as you would a real-world interview, and dress the part.

Wondering what to wear to video interview? Don’t forget the pants. You might not stand up during the interview but oh if you do….

Arrive Prepared

It’s one thing to be unprepared when a candidate arrives at your office, but at least in that circumstance, the candidate can look around and get a feel of the workplace. If you’re still getting everything ready for the interview during a video chat, then you’ll be putting the candidate in an uncomfortable position. They can only look at you or their wall.

So make sure you’re ready to hit the ground running as soon as the video connection has been made.  Have your list of questions and any relevant files in front of you. An applicant tracking system can help to keep all documents in order. What is an applicant tracking system? This software allows you to have all your candidates’ documents readily available in one easy-to-access place. You’ll be able to quickly pull up all the key pieces of information in advance of the interview start time.

Discuss Your Company Culture

In traditional face-to-face interviews, candidates can get a feel for company culture just from walking around the office space. A video interview will remove that aspect of the candidate experience. As such, it’s important to spend some time explaining the work culture that underpins your success. This can be a mixture of your company’s work environment (employee wellness, flexible hours, office perks, etc.) and the principles and values that shape your organization’s behavior and decisions.

Of all the reasons why a new employee might not work out, a clash with the company culture is among the most common. This makes explaining your culture as fully as you can one of the most important video interview tips.

Bring Compassion

You’ll be looking for virtual interview tips for interviewers that’ll benefit you, but spare a thought for your candidate too. An interview can be a nerve-racking experience at the best of times, but it’s even more nerve-inducing when conducted under less than ideal circumstances. When you’re interviewing from home, disturbances such as crying babies, barking dogs, and other staples of domestic chaos become infinitely more likely than when you’re interviewing in the security of a private, soundproof meeting room.

Your candidate may take any disturbances that arise in their stride, or they may make a thousand apologies. Regardless, assure them you too are a human being and that you understand that these things happen. Being patient and showing empathy aren’t just virtual interview tips: they are solid rules for life.

Always Have a Plan B 

If we’ve learned anything from 2020, it’s that things can go wrong, sometimes to an extreme degree. Even if you take on board our video interview tips, there’s a small, small possibility that your or the candidates’ internet connection cuts out (or one or both computers explode) during the interview for reasons that are beyond anyone’s control.

When Plan A fails, your Plan B will spring into action. Having the candidate’s phone number (for if the video works fine, but the audio does not) or simply rearranging the interview (if it’s all a mess) are the two virtual interview tips for hiring managers to follow if temperamental technology threatens to ruin the day.

Integrating Virtual Interview Tips

Video interviews aren’t going away anytime soon. The pandemic may have been the event that catapulted virtual interviews to a captain-of-the-football-team level of popularity, but the clear advantages it offers the recruitment process mean it’ll stand on its own two feet long after the pandemic is a distant collective memory.

Take a thoughtful, considered approach to your remote hiring process. Incorporating smart video interview tips into your candidate interactions so that you can ensure that the lack of face-to-face meetings does not hinder your quest to bring onboard the best of the best that the candidate pool has to offer.

applicant tracking

Written by Robert Shillcock.

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