A Veteran Recruiter’s Pro Tips for Video Interviews

By on April 30th, 2020

As we transition to remote work, video interviews are becoming a popular alternative to in-person interviews. Video interviews have been extremely useful as the demand for new hires continues in certain industries despite the pandemic.

Regardless of whether you’re an expert at interviewing or being interviewed, it is important to take time to fully prepare. As an experienced Recruiter and Client Success Manager, I have been privy to smashingly successful as well as cringe worthy video interviews. Based on my experience, I have gathered the best practices for conducting successful video interviews for both interviewers and interviewees.

First, some background. There are two primary types of video interviews: a one-way interview and a two-way interview. A one-way interview is a pre-recorded video of a candidate answering a list of questions provided by the employer. In a two-way interview, employers will use a live video conference to interview the candidate in real-time. Most interviews we are seeing in the pandemic are two-way.


How to Interview: For the Interviewer


1. Research and Plan

Prior to scheduling a video interview, employers should create a formal plan on what the interview process will look like. You should also research which software you will use. Gotomeeting, Skype and Zoom are a few affordable and easy-to-use video conferencing software.

Download our Zoom etiquette guidelines here.

2. Set up Interview Space

Find a quiet, clean office space to conduct your interviews. Make sure the room is well lit and avoid having your back to a window or light source. 

3. Test Equipment and Connectivity

Familiarize yourself with the software and make sure you have a reliable internet connection. Use headphones to reduce possible audio feedback. Test your equipment to ensure that your audio input/output, microphone and camera are working properly. 

4. Prepare and Practice

Prepare appropriate questions around the candidates’ technical and interpersonal skills. Center your interview on getting to know the candidate. Practice using the software and run a few test interviews with your team to ensure you are comfortable with the process.

5. Look Presentable 

Dress professionally. Conduct the video interview as you would if it were in-person. Sit up straight and position the interviewees’s face near your webcam so that it looks like you are making eye contact while speaking. Show you’re engaged in the conversation.

6. Demonstrate Company Culture

Emphasize your company culture throughout the interview since candidates won’t be able to experience it directly. Share stories about the team demonstrating your core values. 

7. Have a Back-up Plan

Interviewers should have the candidates’ contact information in case something goes wrong and you experience technical difficulties.


How to Interview: For the Interviewee


1.  Set up Interview Space

Designate a private, quiet, and well lit location where you will be free from potential interruptions. Have the light source behind your webcam or computer screen so that it shines towards your face. Position your camera so you are looking up slightly and centered on the screen.

2. Test Equipment and Connectivity

Ensure that your internet connection is stable and that your computer’s audio and webcam are working properly. Try using headphones with a built-in microphone or headphones with your computers’ microphone. If the video software has a test option, test your video and audio input/output so that you will be confident when using the equipment. Try practicing with your Recruiter from HNM Systems or a friend.

3. Attend to Your Appearance

Dress as you would for an in-person interview. Avoid wearing bright colors or patterns and choose something that will look neatly pressed while sitting. Wear professional pants or a skirt in case you need to stand up during the interview. 

4. Show Positive Body Language

Sit up straight and position the interviewer’s face near your webcam so that it looks like you are making eye contact while speaking. Avoid the instinct to look down or away from the screen. Smile and nod to demonstrate you are actively listening and following along. 

5. Practice and Prepare

Practice using the software  and try a few test interviews with your family and friends. Ask for feedback on your appearance and body language. Declutter your desk space and close any windows or applications on your computer that you’re not using. Ensure your computer and equipment is fully charged or plugged in. Have a resume copy and job details ready to reference and a notepad and a pencil to take notes.

If your interview is over Zoom, be sure to check out our Zoom etiquette guidelines here.

6. Log on Early, but not Too Early

Be sure to log in 5 to 10 minutes early. This extra time will allow you to deal with any unexpected challenges, like a poor internet connection or difficulty logging into the web conferencing software. Be careful not to log in too earlier, though, as there could be another call taking place.

While the questions of a video interview are likely to be the same as an in-person interview, virtual interviews come with unique setup and adjustments. These tips will ensure that you’re fully prepared and set up for success.

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