Gone are the days when candidates walked into an office, fidgeting with nervousness while waiting in the lobby, to do a job interview. Nowadays, it’s more common to first meet prospective hires through a Zoom call before graduating to the later stages of an application process.
Video interviews have become an integral part of any hiring process and require you to follow certain guidelines and best practices to maximise your chances of finding the right fit for your company. From finding the right web conferencing software to nailing digital etiquette, this is everything you need to know about remote hiring.
The pre-interview phase
While remote interviews offer convenience and flexibility, they also require careful preparation to ensure a smooth and successful experience. These are some essential steps to take before diving into your video call:
- Setting the stage: start by selecting a reliable video conferencing platform, like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet. Familiarise yourself with your chosen platform’s features by doing some trial calls so that everything goes according to plan during the interview. Turn on a good light to properly show yourself clearly on camera and use headphones to minimise background noise. Lastly, remove any distractions from your workspace to ensure a quiet, clutter-free and neutral interview environment.
- Technical troubleshooting: Make sure to also test your equipment – camera, microphone, and internet connection – well in advance to identify and resolve any issues. These are some common problems you might run into and how to address them:
- Audio issues: if your audio is unclear or distorted, check your microphone settings and ensure it’s properly connected. Adjust the volume levels and speak clearly to ensure your interviewee can hear you. Consider using an external microphone for better audio quality if needed.
- Video problem: poor video quality or freezing can be frustrating for both you and the interviewer. Close unnecessary applications to allocate more bandwidth to the video call. If the issue continues, try restarting your computer or switching to a wired internet connection.
- Connectivity issues: sudden internet disruptions can disrupt your interview’s flow. If you have connectivity issues, let your interviewee know as soon as possible and attempt to reconnect. It’s a good idea to have a mobile hotspot or alternative location with better internet access, in case you need better connection.
- Dress for success: while it might be tempting to reach for your loungewear given you’re doing the interview from the comfort of your own home, it’s important to dress professionally to make a good impression.
Tips for a smooth interview
Although the interview questions themselves might be the same online and offline, there’s some tips to ensure that your remote interview goes smoothly:
- Building connections virtually: creating a virtual connection with candidates takes intentional effort. It’s important to use techniques like small talk to put candidates at ease and establish rapport. Active listening is key – show genuine interest in what candidates have to say by nodding, paraphrasing, and asking relevant follow-up questions. Mirroring body language and maintaining eye contact can also foster a sense of connection through a screen.
- Structuring the interview correctly: outline a clear agenda for the interview, including the topics to be discussed and the allotted time for each. Prepare well-defined questions that probe into the candidate’s skills, experiences, and fit for the role. Don’t forget to leave time at the end for candidate questions! This demonstrates your openness and transparency as an interviewer.
- Assessing soft skills: video interviews offer unique opportunities to assess candidates’ soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving abilities. Pay attention to candidates’ non-verbal cues, tone of voice, and how they articulate their responses. Delve into behavioural questions that prompt candidates to share specific examples of how they’ve demonstrated key soft skills in past experiences. Think about including questions that can unveil a candidate’s situational judgement or use role-playing exercises to assess their reactions to real-life scenarios and ability to navigate challenges.
Etiquette during and after the interview
Politeness and etiquette should still make a strong appearance during remote interviews, even if you and the candidate are miles apart. Here are some best practices to follow both during and after the interview.
Video interview etiquette do’s and don’ts
✔️ Maintain eye contact by looking directly at the camera, not the screen
✔️ Minimise distractions by silencing notifications and closing unrelated tabs or windows
✔️ Practice active listening by nodding and providing verbal cues to show your engagement
✔️ Use clear and concise language, avoiding rambling or jargon that may confuse the interviewee
❌Multitask or check your phone during the interview – give your full attention to the conversation
❌ Forget to test your equipment and internet connection beforehand to prevent technical hiccups
❌ Interrupt the interviewer or speak over others – wait for your turn to contribute to the discussion
Post-video interview etiquette do’s and don’ts
✔️ Send a personalised thank you email within 24 hours to express appreciation for the candidate’s time and summarise any follow up action points necessary
✔️ Keep the lines of communication open by responding promptly to any further inquiries or updated from the hiring team
❌ Send a generic message; this could potentially put off applicants
❌ Overwhelm the interviewee with excessive follow-up messages or inquires– demonstrate patience and respect for their process
Pitfalls to avoid and best practices
Remote hiring has become an integral part of modern recruitment strategies, offering flexibility and access to a diverse talent pool. However, it also presents unique challenges that need careful consideration. These are the main points to keep in mind:
- Technical issues: such as poor internet connectivity or malfunctioning hardware or software can disrupt the flow of interviews and hinder communication. To mitigate this risk, make sure to thoroughly test your equipment to keep the interview flow intact.
- Poor communication: inadequate communication between hiring managers, recruiters, and candidates can lead to misunderstanding and delays. Keep open and clear communication channels with candidates to ensure everyone is on the same page about what’s next in the hiring process.
- Rushed decision-making: hasty decisions can lead to overlooking qualified candidates or making the wrong hire. Take the time to thoroughly evaluate candidates, conduct multiple rounds of interviews if necessary, and involve key stakeholders in the decision-making process.
🏆 Conduct structured interviews: have well-defined criteria and standardised questions to ensure consistency and fairness. It’s also a good move to provide interviewers with training on conducting effective remote interviews and evaluating candidates objectively.
🏆 Utilise technology wisely: from scheduling interviews to conducting assessments, leverage tech tools to streamline the hiring process. Invest in user-friendly video conferencing software if you don’t already have it.
🏆 Continuously improve: remote hiring is an evolving process, and it’s essential to continuously evaluate and refine your strategies. Ask for feedback from both the candidates and the hiring team to identify areas for improvement. Stay abreast of emerging trends and best practices in remote recruitment to remain competitive.
Video interviews give you more room to find the right candidates thanks to the flexibility they offer. But with great power comes great responsibility, so you make sure you’re implementing best practices to avoid being stuck with a hire that isn’t the right fit for your firm.
To stay on top of hiring trends and attract top talent, ensure you’re embracing the right technology while still retaining a human touch to make the best impression with prospective hires.
- Is it OK to have notes in a video interview?
Yes, it’s ok to have notes in a video interview. They can help you stay organised and reference key points, but avoid relying on them to maintain eye contact and engage naturally with the interviewee.
- How should I introduce myself in a video interview?
In a video interview, introduce yourself confidently, stating your name, and position in the company. Reiterate why you liked the candidate’s profile and what the structure of the interview will be like.
- What should you not do during a video interview?
During a video interview, avoid checking your phone or emails, or allowing distractions in your environment. Also, refrain from speaking over others, interrupting, or appearing disengaged. Maintain professionalism, focus, and active listening.