Oct 21, 2014
I recently attended an HR conference where the group was asked if they used video interviewing. Nearly all raised their hands. I found this a bit frightening because to date I have not seen a single article on how to do an effective video interview. Given that video interviewing is not the same as phone or in-person interviewing, I decided to offer some guidance courtesy of my partners at SilkRoad.
Make the best possible impression
Because it’s possible to do video interviews at home in your pajamas, you might be tempted to think this is an acceptable. It’s not. Remember, the candidate is evaluating you as much as you are evaluating her. Dress as you would in the office, make sure you are well-lit with a professional, non-distracting background, and prevent interruptions from frolicking children and animals. If you are using cloud technology like Google Hangout, check your connection and set-up ahead of time to ensure there are no snafus during the interview.
Tell candidates what to expect
Video interviewing is new to some candidates, especially those who have been in the workforce a while and haven’t job searched recently. Send along instructions regarding how to operate the necessary technology. Suggest that candidates test it first and access the interview 10 minutes early. You should also forward an agenda that spells out who they will be meeting, how long the interview will be, and how it will generally proceed. If there will be an opportunity for candidates to visually display qualifications during the interview (Powerpoint, websites, video, etc.), let them know in advance so they can take full advantage.
Plan what to ask
Prepare several open-ended questions in which candidates can describe their work history and problem-solving ability, and can communicate why they want to work with your organization and what excites them about the position. And your industry is not as big as you think, so avoid asking the same questions for years on end (even if you think they are especially clever).
Ask candidate permission to tape interviews as this will be highly useful to you and your fellow evaluators later on. If you are effectively engaging a candidate via video, your notes are going to be spotty, and a recording can jog your memory during the decision process. Recording may also save you and the candidate the trouble of an additional interview.
Again, remember that video interviewing is a relatively new trend. Give candidates a break when it comes to things like video quality, background, and lighting. Recognize that when doing a video interview, it’s more natural to look at yourself onscreen than into the camera lens, so strong eye contact should not be mandatory.
Some might find it difficult to warm up in a video interview, so give them the benefit of the doubt. And while you don’t want candidates to be reading a script, an occasional glance at notes is okay. Remember, you are looking for a person with a positive attitude and the right mix of experience, knowledge, and skills for the open position, so try to leave minor, video-related details out of it.
Consider videos upfront
For positions in which excellent presentation skills and quick thinking are essential, you might ask for a timed video interview as part of your initial application process. This approach allows you to view the candidate’s video through your ATS upon resume submission. Depending on your interviewing technology and your recruiting strategy, you may show a question to candidates only after they have hit record, and limit the number of takes candidates can do. Used strategically, the upfront video can help you narrow the field without the time required for live phone or video screens.
Looking to improve your recruiting process? Take a look at SilkRoad Recruiting.
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