Lights, Camera, Action! Top tips for a successful video interview
Thanks to video conferencing technology, a recruiter is able to reach a much wider candidate base and can maximise the chances of sourcing that perfect candidate for a client’s role – however, there are some easily avoidable pitfalls to watch out for.
From both the recruiter and candidate perspective there are several points which could turn the interview from dazzling to disaster, leaving a bad impression all round. A video interview should be approached in the same manner as a face-to-face interview, with the same preparation and consideration taken.
Understanding the challenges and putting a strategy in place to help avoid the pitfalls is the first step, and here are our top tips for a successful video interview:
It is important to keep to time, even if you aren’t meeting your candidate face-to-face. Just as you wouldn’t leave a candidate or client waiting in the lobby, being signed-in to your video conferencing software ahead of your call should take the same priority as travelling to your meeting. It’s easy to become confused and presume there are technical issues if either party is running late or trying to remember login details.
Live on air
Similar to being present in a face-to-face, you are ‘live on air’ during a video interview. Whereas on a conference call you may be tempted to reach for your smartphone – check your emails, Facebook, Twitter or messages – it will be clear to all parties that you aren’t ‘in the zone’. Even a cheeky look at your emails on a separate screen could lead to a momentary lapse in concentration which will affect the flow of conversation and could come across as rude.
It is always 5pm somewhere
If you are taking advantage of the global recruitment market you may be scheduling a video interview across two or more time zones. Be sure to know the time difference; try tools such as World Time Buddy to help schedule the meeting. Even if the video interview is out of office hours still make sure you are dressed appropriately.
Getting some peace and quiet
Offices can be manic and noisy and this isn’t the best environment for a video interview as sensitive information may be discussed and the interference on the video call may distract other participants – we have all had our fair share of noisy conference calls! Try to find a quiet corner somewhere, ideally with good acoustics, and away from loud noises or voices.
Dress the part
You wouldn’t meet a client or a candidate in your PJs or tracksuit, would you? Even though you are not sitting directly with them, they can still see you; so dressing appropriately based on your normal business wear is advisable. A good rule to follow is – act as if you are meeting them in an office.
Which way is up?!
May seem like an obvious point but ensuring the camera is in focus, with a clear headshot is best, and most likely more interesting to the other participants than the floor, wall, ceiling or having a headless character on screen.
Testing, testing, 1…2…3
Top technical checklist: check the internet connection; test your speakers; test your microphone; and check for feedback on the video call. Perhaps spend 10/15 minutes ahead of the scheduled video call to work with a colleague and conduct a quick test.
Keep it professional
As much as you probably appreciate video calling loved ones, having your Mum or Auntie from Australia start calling you whilst you are negotiating a job role or pay could prove pretty distracting. Having a professional Skype or Google+ account rather than using your personal one will help avoid this and it means you can brand up in corporate style and photos.
Although more common now, video interviews will still be a novelty for many candidates – and if you are dealing with a nervous graduate for example, putting them through a baptism of fire for their first junior role might be too much for them. By having a cheat sheet prepared to share with them which has some of these top 10 tips can help ease any worries and smooth the video interview process.
You are on the call, the nightmare call to schedule with three time zones, you have briefed the candidate and the client is eager to virtually meet the candidate, what next? Remembering to breathe and take pause to allow a flow of conversation is important. Although some video calling software has the technology in place to help participants see who is speaking and taking the lead, it doesn’t hurt to apply the same conversation etiquette from offline into online.
Hopefully our top tips will help you to prepare and host a successful video call. Ultimately you cannot control everything and dealing with random issues is something many a recruiter handles on a weekly basis, however, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.