5 Crucial Tips For Conducting A Successful Video Interview

In the last year, the number of video interviews I have conducted has increased dramatically. I went from video interviewing a candidate only when it was absolutely necessary to scheduling video interviews several times a week. In talking with many of my clients, I have realized this is true for almost all businesses spanning the banking, finance, tech, and most other industries as well as for all career levels.

In a recent survey by Mashable, they state that video interviews have gone up in popularity 49% since 2011 and 66% of candidates prefer to utilize video chat during the interview process. With the rise of video interviews, there has been a large wave of “How To” articles for the candidates. Unfortunately, there is a large gap for “How-To’s” for the recruiters and HR Managers conducting the interviews. Almost all of the candidates I work with have given positive feedback on their experience with video interviewing, but, there are a few issues that I hear come up time and time again that can leave a less than favorable impression.

To make video interviewing the best possible experience for the candidate, here is my list of the 5 most important steps to conducting a successful video interview:
1. Take noise into consideration

I have heard countless candidates say that during their interview, they could hear all the recruiter’s co-workers in the background, which made it difficult to focus on the questions being asked. Not only is this distracting for the candidate, but it could also look like you are not taking the interview seriously or as if it is an afterthought. To avoid this, schedule a conference room to ensure a quiet and focused environment. If there are no conference rooms available, make sure you have a pair of headphones handy as this helps to cut background noise and make your voice clearer and easy to understand. Inform your team that you will be conducting a video interview so they will not interrupt you and will talk softly.


2. Set the scene

During one video interview, a candidate saw a list of competing candidates’ salaries posted on a whiteboard in the recruiter’s office. Treat video interviews the same as you would in-person interviews. If you are conducting an interview in your office, tidy up your space, remove any personal or distracting items, and if in an open space, make sure your camera is facing a solid wall. A solid color is important since a design or art on the wall can appear distracting to the candidate on camera. Try not to have people walking behind you as well. Most importantly, as the interviewer you want to wear a solid color outfit. Patterns move when you move and read poorly on camera.


3. Lights, Camera, Action!

When preparing for a video interview, it is the small touches that take an okay experience to a great one. Open your blinds and turn all the lights on to ensure a bright and easy to see environment. Candidates want to see a recruiter’s face so make sure you are center frame. It helps to build trust and makes the Candidate feel more comfortable. The angle of the camera should be straight on, not angled up or down. If you need to, lower your chair or add a few books under a laptop to boost the height of the computer. Do a trial run with an employee to ensure lighting, color and height are optimal.


4. Introduce all parties

If you are having a panel style interview where there are multiple people in the room, introduce everyone in the room, even if they cannot be seen on camera.  Prior to the interview, you should send out an Agenda with everyone’s names and titles. It is important that the candidate knows whom they are interviewing with to best prepared for the interviewing questions.


5. Have a backup plan

When scheduling a video interview, it is imperative to offer a backup option to the candidate. It is inevitable that technology will fail, or there will be a bad connection and it is important to be prepared. I like to provide a phone number and remind the candidate to call in the case of any unforeseen technical difficulties.


In my humble opinion, nothing truly can take the place of an in-person interview. If time or location is a challenge, then video interviewing is the next best way to become introduced to your next employee.