How to conduct a video interview for maximum impact

Sophie Walker our consultant managing the role
Historically, hiring managers have been uncertain about choosing video interviews over an in-person interview. However, the recent Covid-19 crisis has meant that much of the UK’s - and the world’s - recruitment activity has moved online, and there is no denying that video interviewing is an integral part of this.

Virtual interviews allow HR professionals to remotely hire the best talent. There are many benefits to the video interview – it saves time, suits flexible working and - with permission - you can record the session and watch it back to help you make your decision.

Consider that most hiring managers conduct three interviews per candidate, with some organisations like Google following multi-stage interview hiring featuring different people from across the business. Now imagine how much time you can save by running a virtual meeting. But the question remains - how do you conduct a video interview for maximum impact? You’ll need to begin by adapting your pre-interview preparation.

Prior to the interview

One-way or two-way interview

Video interviews are one of our top tips for hiring and onboarding remotely , but first you must choose which style suits you best. One-way interviews don’t require you to interview the candidate in real time; instead you send the questions on and have them record their answers. You can either use specialised video interviewing software which will send out invites and do the recording for you, or have the candidate record and send it on themselves. 

A major benefit of this video interview style is the added ease – you don’t need to find a time where both you and the candidate are available, and you can watch it at your convenience. It allows you to create a more consistent process but this comes at the cost of an impersonal format.

A two-way video interview entirely mimics the traditional interview, but without both you and the candidate being in the same room. Again, you can use specialised technology that can help you keep organised when interviewing multiple candidates.

Because you are having a conversation in real-time, this two-way conversation allows you to understand the candidate better. Also, you have the chance to ask follow-up questions, which is a luxury you do not have in a one-way interview.

Choose your room wisely

When choosing which room you’ll conduct the video interview in, make sure it’s a quiet space with good lighting and consider using a backdrop. These are all small factors but they will help the meeting run smoothly and look professional – both of which will ensure the video interview has maximum impact. Depending on the video interview software you use, you may be able to select a neutral backdrop to virtually overlay your home setting.

Do a test run

49% of businesses agree that video interviewing is a useful method to help them distinguish themselves from other employers. But to stand out for the right reasons your technology needs to be up to scratch. Check your tech before the interview, testing everything from your microphone volume to your internet connection. A top tip is to use a headset as this will cut out background noise. 

A noticeable time lag will make communication difficult and even uncomfortable in some cases so your connection must be high quality. Additionally, any technical glitch on the day will interrupt the flow of the interview which can leave the candidate, or you, feeling thrown off balance. Having your technology set up and running without complications is the best way of ensuring that your video interview has maximum impact. 


During the interview

Remember that a virtual interview should feel as professional and flow as seamlessly as an in-person interview. Seven in ten candidates will share a negative job experience online, which can hurt your future recruiting efforts, whether they happen online or not. So it’s vital that you consider how you can make sure your video interviews run as seamlessly as possible. Here are some quick tips:

Have their CV to hand

No matter if you’re recording the video interview or not, you’ll want to have a hard copy of the candidate’s CV in front of you. When conducting multiple interviews, it’s a common problem to forget which candidate said what. Save yourself the task of searching back through the video clips and make detailed annotations; this will leave you more time to search for new leads or screen candidates.

Put them at ease

Interviews are notoriously nerve-wracking and despite not being in the same room as you, the candidate may still feel tense. To see their true potential, you must make them feel comfortable. It’s recommended that for a video interview you only need to frame your face and shoulders in the camera shot, which means that you’re relying on your facial expressions to communicate your body language. Therefore, strong eye contact and an encouraging smile are paramount and will help put the interviewee at ease.

Slow it down

Even if you have the best technical set up and a great internet connection, picking up on social cues can be tricky in a video interview. To make sure that you don’t miss out on any signals, keep the pace of the interview slow. Relaxing the speed will also alleviate any nerves for the candidate and allow them time to collect their thoughts and showcase their abilities.


After the interview


Keep in touch

Just as you would after an in-person interview, it's crucial to maintain contact with the candidate, or the recruiter you're working with on their behalf. If you don’t keep regular contact with prospective employees, this signals that you are not serious about hiring them and the candidates may pursue other options. Therefore, to maintain access to the best pool of candidates, you should make a point of communicating timelines clearly and updating throughout the recruitment process.

Making an offer

There’s no use in waiting around to give candidates your verdict. Speed is of the essence and if you manage the timing poorly you risk losing your top candidates to other employers. Once you’ve made your decision it’s time to let your latest recruit know the good news and reach out to the other interviewees to thank them for their time.

In summary

For years hiring managers and recruiters have weighed up the benefits of video interviewing against in-person interviews but in light of recent changes to our global workforce, no one can deny how essential the virtual meetings are to keep businesses moving along as usual. 


Marks Sattin has been recruiting for over 30 years

If you found this advice on conducting a video interview for maximum impact helpful then you can view more of our market insights here. Marks Sattin is a specialist recruitment firm working with the best talent across banking, finance, executive search, technology and business change. And with over three decades of experience recruiting for these divisions, you can trust us to source the most suitable and talented candidates.
28/04/20
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