What Does A Successful Video Interview Look Like?

Since the rise of COVID-19, society has had to adapt to a new normal. One sector in particular has been recruitment, and not just because of the increase in demand for jobs versus a significant drought in job opportunities. 

Businesses have had to adapt to new hiring processes as a result of social distancing regulations, especially the upsurge of video interviewing. Whilst it already played a part in the recruitment process, it now plays a crucial role. 

In just the first 4 weeks of the pandemic, video interviews saw a spike of 67%. So you can only imagine the overwhelming takeover it’s had in almost a year and a half.

So, has this become the new normal? Will we see the return of traditional hiring practices, or is this now modern day recruiting? It’s not easy to tell, but from a candidates perspective it’s definitely a preferred method to keep around. In fact, 83% of candidates see employers that carry out video interviews as ‘more innovative than their peers’. Who doesn’t want to avoid a commute?! 

Whether you see this as a positive change or a setback, it’s wise to understand what makes a successful video interview – for both the hiring manager and the candidate!

Video Interview Best Practices for Hiring Managers

Perform test runs

As humans we have a bit of a love hate relationship with technology. Whilst it’s our friend most of the time, it can sometimes be a bit unreliable. And it’s always in the most crucial times that it lets you down?! Very frustrating.

So make sure that whatever program or technology you’re using to hold the interview, is running smoothly and you know how to use it. If it falls through at the last minute it’s not going to reflect very well on your preparedness and organisation skills. Double check, maybe even triple check if you need to.

Send over the instructions to the candidate

It might put your candidates mind at ease to provide them with a bit of information prior to the interview day.

They might not be familiar with the program you use to conduct the interview, e.g. Zoom or Google Hangouts, so send them over instructions on how they can get themselves set up or how to download any software.

Also let them know who they can expect to meet and be questioned by, the topics they can expect to be questioned about the approximate length of the interview.

Conduct interview in a professional setting

This is a key component to your video interview! It’s not only going to set the tone for the entire interview but it will also give an insight into your attitudes towards the work environment as an employer. Setting up your interview in a clean, quiet and well lit setting shows a level of respect to the process and the candidate.

If you’re unable to set up in such a space, perhaps utilise an appropriate virtual background image.

Communicate effectively regarding next steps

Don’t leave them high and dry! Let them know what is going to happen going forward now the video interview is complete. For example, there might be a second interview stage, so tell them you will be in contact with them to determine their success – or you could tell them there and then!

Video Interview Best Practices for Candidates

Some of the practices aforementioned also apply to candidates – in fact they’re very important! Including conducting the interview in a professional setting and performing test runs. Let’s look at some extras for the job seekers…

Be prompt

If you were travelling into their office for a 1pm interview you wouldn’t arrive at 1pm on the dot, you’d be arriving around 10 minutes early. So, just because you’re staying home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prompt with your timing. Join the call early, even if they don’t. You can never appear too eager or organised, afterall.

Dress professionally & look presentable

Even though your interview is taking place from your living room or home office, it doesn’t mean you should appear comfortable. They can still see you! Dress appropriately for the position you’re interviewing for. 

Also, look presentable and well groomed. Don’t look like you just rolled out of bed and opened up your laptop. Everyone wants employees that look after themselves!

Body language & facial expressions are key

It can be difficult to convey positive non-verbal communication when you’re looking at each other through a computer screen, but there are certain ways to avoid appearing sloppy or disinterested.

  • Appear alert and engaged – do NOT slump or lose your posture
  • When you’re not speaking, your facial expressions should show you’re listening and focused
  • Maintain good eye contact throughout* – have confidence in what you’re saying instead of looking off into the distance as if you’re searching for the answer 
  • Use hand gestures at an appropriate cadence if they come naturally
  • Nod or smile in agreement rather than vocalising with “mmm” “yeah”

*(make sure you set up your device at eye level)

Prepare notes, but don’t read a script

If you need to remember specific figures or facts, feel free to have them written down near you for reference. Hiring managers won’t hold that against you, in fact they’ll appreciate you took the initiative to arrive prepared for all potential questions.

However, don’t write down full responses to questions and read them out loud like a script. If you do this you won’t be keeping eye contact, and it makes you appear lazy and robotic. An important element of an interview is to be authentic and honest with how you respond. Employers are looking for genuine answers, and the ability to think on the spot.

To Sum Up…

It’s most likely that video interviews are going to be around for the long run, so you should know the etiquette. Our main piece of advice to both hiring managers and candidates is to be yourselves. People want to work with real people, flaws and all, so don’t stress yourself over the tiny mistakes. Just be hopeful for the outcome and enjoy yourself along the way.

If you need any more advice on virtual interviewing or the recruiting process in general, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Want to hear more top tips? Looking to fill a role, or maybe you want to know more about careers at Vertex

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