The Art and Science of Conducting a Video Interview
Research from Office Team tells us that video interviewing usage is now anywhere between 60 and 70 percent, that is around two-thirds of businesses are regularly using video interviews as part of their hiring process. At the moment, it seems that video interviews seem to be used as a replacement for the first round face-to-face interview or the long standing first round telephone interview, the latter of which constitutes an enhancement. In general, video interviewing is not thought to be a replacement for face-to-face second/third round interviewing, although as holographic technology emerges, who knows how pivotal video interviewing could be in 10 years time.
But, even though video interviewing does not encompass the entire end-to-end interview process, ironically, it is actually located at one of the most important stages of the interview process, which is first contact. Since first impressions last, the video interview is currently one of the most immediate and powerful representations of your employer brand and if your video interview is of poor presentational standard, it will reflect badly on your firm and brand. So while we are not expecting television-level quality of AV (audio visual) presentation, video interviews now must deliver an all-round high level of quality and professionalism, which is consistent with both your employer brand and your company brand. Therefore, I have outlined some tips and advice for employers to help them deliver a video interview candidate experience that is of a high quality and in line with their employment brand.
1. Top quality equipment
For the best interview experience your candidate should have an excellent high density, quality image of you and your team; so, don’t skimp here and make sure you have the highest quality camera. Also, try to avoid hosting your video interview from your smart-phone, as all round quality will suffer. Rather, try and ensure the host computer is on a high-speed network to ensure high-quality AV presentation. Even if you are connecting to a cloud-based system you should still try and do so from a broadband connection to ensure top quality AV Presentation. Make sure to use a good quality microphone that is discretely positioned.
2. Presentation Area
You also need to prepare the presentation area for yourself, the host, to ensure it contributes to high-quality AV presentation. This means ensuring to choose a background that isn’t visually busy, e.g a plain wall, and which complements the colors you are wearing. For example, don’t place someone with a dark blue suit in from of a dark blue wall. Also, make sure that your desk area is tidy and that the room is adequately lit. Finally, make sure it is set up so that you are all facing the camera as this will be a more engaging experience for the candidates as it will appear as if you are looking them in the face.
Ideally, pay a film school student a few bucks to come in and set you up with a good quality video interviewing environment.
3. Personal presentation and conduct
Wear a solid colored top for interviews and avoid tops with patterns, stripes or that are brightly colored as they can be distracting. Take care to ensure that you are always facing the camera during interview and make sure to look into the camera when you are directing a question at the candidate and this will seem to the candidates as if you are looking at them and making eye contact.
Also, conduct the interview in pretty much the same manner as you would a normal interview, that is, using prepared questions as part of a structured interview. However, if there are multiple interviewers, it’s probably best to set an agenda and have interviewers ask their questions at scheduled points to aid smooth running of the interview.
4. Screen test
There’s nothing worse from a candidate’s point of view than entering a mishandled video interview with poor quality images, participants dropping in and out ( and beeping each time they do), loud feedback, and confusion. It’s like landing in a war zone (in a manner of speaking) and it reflects very badly on your business.
So, ideally, if you want to be serious about video interviewing and want it to enhance your brand, use a managed and professional video interview service that can ensure a high-quality experience that supports your brand. Some may even offer a stewarding service where they connect all callers and remain on hand to help with problems. This is five star conferencing level service, (which makes candidates feel warm and fuzzy), but I accept it is not always affordable.
If you are going to do it DIY—using free video software—then make sure you advise all participants to dial in 10 minutes early, advising them that this is for AV and network calibration to ensure the interview is on the highest technical standard.
And finally, I’d also recommend that you prepare a video interviewing guide, using relevant elements of this document, and give this to all participants, as you need all participants to play their part to ensure the highest quality interview experience possible.