How to Conduct a Video Interview

Funny Story:  I spoke with a candiate that had a Skype interview. Things were going great. He was very professional. Then his mother came down the stairs in her bathrobe and start ironing directly behind him!  Needless to say this was a total distraction to him as well as the interviewer!

It’s expensive for companies to fly candidates in for in-person interviews, so more companies are conducting video interviews using Skype and similar technology. Internet-based videoconferencing tools allow employers to reach out to candidates virtually anywhere in the world easily and cost-effectively.

According to a recent survey, 63 percent of human-resources managers said their company often conducts interviews via video. This is up from just 14 percent one year ago. In addition, 13 percent of respondents said they think their organization will use video more frequently to meet with job seekers in the next three years.

While use of the technology is becoming increasingly common in business, for many hiring managers, this is still unfamiliar territory. Setting the stage for a positive video-interview experience for both the hiring manager and the job seeker requires planning and practice. Here are some tips for employers:

Choose your location wisely
Videoconferencing services such as Skype allow you to schedule a meeting from almost anywhere — your home computer, cubicle, smartphone or tablet computer.

However, no matter where you conduct an interview, don’t let your surroundings interfere with maintaining a professional atmosphere. For instance, if you’re working from home, dress as you would if you were conducting a formal, face-to-face interview with a job seeker — after all, that’s what you’re doing, albeit virtually.

If you’re at the office, remember that your webcam is the job seeker’s window into the company. Select a location that is tidy, quiet and distraction-free. To ensure privacy, consider reserving a conference room. Let your colleagues know you’ll be interviewing a potential hire and must not be disturbed, just as you would if you were meeting the job seeker in person.

Treat your small screen like the big screen
When preparing to conduct a video interview, think about how to make the experience more natural. For example, ensure there is ample natural light at your location and that it’s directed onto your face, rather than from behind you, reducing shadows and glare.

Also, avoid leaning into the webcam; doing so can create visual distortion. However, look directly into the webcam and not at the computer screen when speaking. In a face-to-face interview, maintaining eye contact is essential to making a positive connection with a potential hire, and it’s no different in a video interview.

Account for technical difficulties and time delays
Videoconferencing is a convenient but imperfect technology. Its effectiveness depends on the speed of your Internet connection and how much network traffic is being carried on both your company’s and the job seeker’s systems at the time.

Even under the best of conditions, delays and “choppiness” in video and voice are common; work around these issues by speaking slowly and trying not to move around too much. Allow for a second or two of dead air to pass after the job seeker finishes speaking before you deliver your next question or comment. Think of TV news anchors conducting interviews via satellite. This will help to avoid awkward and confusing conversation overlaps.

If you’ve never conducted an interview via videoconference, don’t risk making a poor impression by jumping into the process unprepared. Practicing with a colleague can help you to build confidence and polish your skills before your debut. And always be prepared to rise above technical problems: Keep the job seeker’s contact information handy just in case you have to grab the phone to complete the conversation.

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  • Helen Nourai THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!

    After being COVID laid off in 2020; I spent the next year floundering, and looking for work. I had my resume up on all the different sites, and applied to anything that was even close to a good fit. No luck, and very few calls or email responses. Until one day out of nowhere Helen contacted me. Helen was extremely personable, positive, and prepared. After speaking for some time, completing the initial introductions, and basic information. Helen already had a position in mind for me. I sent her all of my relevant documents, and she worked her magic. Just a couple days later she emailed back my beautifully reworked resume, and double checked that I was ready for her to submit to potential employers. Then things went very fast! The next day on a Tuesday I had 2 phone interviews. Then Thursday another interview with the Director. Helen kept in touch every step of the way; calling even when I had forgotten to keep her posted. Then the General Manager contacted me on a Saturday followed by the VP!! Less than a week after Helen had submitted me I had completed the interview process, and was waiting on an offer pending reference & background checks. Helen, again was in amazing communication with me. Discussing my needs from the offer to ensure that when the offer was made; it included everything I wanted. It worked out exactly like that too! In the midst of the whirlwind offer that was exactly what I wanted (something I've never experienced before), and all the different company leaders reaching out to me. Helen was right there with me too. Checking in, sharing in my excitement, and giving me all her congratulations. Again, I had never experienced a hiring process with this much of a personal touch before ever! Definitely never one that was this smooth, and fast. If the Company went a day not talking to me, Helen was on it and reaching out to push the process forward.
    13 months of the unconscionable COVID under employment; with all the stress, worry, and insecurity, doing anything and everything to scrape together as many dollars as possible, to finally land a dream position that is a perfect fit, in my ideal location, industry, and salary. It is all still so unbelievable, and I know Helen was more than a major player. She was the key! The difference maker! I cannot express my level of gratitude for her help, and perseverance. Helen is the most gifted recruiter I have ever interacted with, and should I ever be looking for work, Helen will absolutely be my first call.
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    Ben Whetstone
    Helen Nourai THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!
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    Thank you for all the assistance you provided me during my job search. I appreciate the information and advice that Johnathan Litt had given, as well as the connections you have shared with me. Your expertise and help have been invaluable during this.  I’ll never forget your help and your friendship, you are one and only one, thanks again.
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    Jonathan Litt is a wonderful person and great recruiter!
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    It has been such an honor to work with Patrice & Associates, but more specifically with Gary Kinsinger. I’ve worked with recruiters in the past, however none as detail oriented and diligent as Mr. Kinsinger. From the moment he initially reached out to me, all the way to my first day in my new position, Gary was and is still very present in making sure my comfort and needs are met. I truly can’t put into words how beyond grateful I am to have worked with Gary. And with no doubt in my mind would recommend his services to anyone in the market. Gary matched me with the role of my dreams in just one and a half weeks. Thank you so much, Gary Kinsinger!
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    Daniel Nichols

    Kathy Helfand is a true asset to Patrice & Associates
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