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5 Video Interview Tips for Hiring Managers

Derek Cirino - Sep 14, 2020

Whether you’re looking to fill a role or you’re job-searching during a pandemic, one thing’s for sure…there are likely plenty of curveballs coming your way. From the uncertain job market to new rules and regulations, hiring in 2020 looks a whole lot different than any of us can remember.

If you’re struggling to navigate through this process, specifically the video interview portion, you’re in the right place. In this post, we’re taking a look at five video interview tips hiring managers can use to make their interviews more effective and even more enjoyable.

Tip #1: Test your tech ahead of time

Technology has a way of malfunctioning during those times where we really need it most — during an interview, approaching an important deadline, or when we’re trying to catch those final moments of a crucial sports game. With that said, you’ll want to do everything in your power to prevent these issues from interrupting the interview process, because not only are technological difficulties awkward for you, but they’re unnerving for your candidate too.

Before you even start to schedule applicant interviews, test out your technology on one of your existing staff members; this way, the pressure’s off and you can iron out any issues that could transpire during the real deal. When it comes time to start the actual interview, try to do another test run a few minutes before your appointment to make sure things are running smoothly day-of.

If you’re conducting panel interviews or need multiple people to log on, you may also want to run a brief training beforehand to make sure everyone knows how to use the video platform you’ll be using for the interview. Ensuring all interviewers are on the same time will give your organization a more professional look and show off your cohesive teamwork, which is a big plus for prospective candidates.

Tip #2: Communicate instructions clearly

Most hiring managers and job applicants will need a little time to adjust to the new normal of video interviewing instead of traditional in-person interviews. Whether you’re used to the technology or not, we all know glitches can happen and interface varies from platform to platform. Because of these variables, you’ll want to be sure that you communicate instructions very clearly to both interviewees as well as interviewers.

While most professional video platforms will issue automatic emails with appointment times and details, it doesn’t hurt to send a separate email with more minutiae. Information like who’s conducting interviews, time slot details, any necessary login codes, and instructions for troubleshooting issues can be very helpful to candidates and will demonstrate professionalism on your behalf as well.

Another way to make sure your staff and candidates both feel supported throughout the interview process is to establish a single point of contact. Typically, an HR professional would be the best person to take on this role. Having one liaison to set up appointments and take questions will help streamline the process and avoid miscommunications.

Tip #3: Make sure your space looks (and sounds) professional

Working from home looks a little different for everyone, and for many people, that’s the beauty of it! However, when it comes to interviewing applicants, it’s important to put your best (virtual) foot forward. Here are a few tips to ensure you and your team look as polished as possible:

  • Dress to impress: Ditch the PJ’s for just a moment — even if you’re in your home office, a video interview should still look and feel professional. Both parties should abide by typical interview attire guidelines even though they’re not in the office.
  • Eliminate distractions: From kids to construction, there’s plenty of potentials for interruptions to hijack your interview. When it comes time for your appointment, do your best to minimize distractions for the allotted time. Go to a quiet corner, put the pets in another room temporarily, and keep the kiddos occupied as best you can.
  • Beautify your background: Although you’re not in an office setting, it’s still a good idea to make your background look as professional as possible. Set up next to a blank wall, hang a simple art piece, or install a makeshift background to keep things looking polished.

Tip #4: Set up a script

No matter how comfortable you think you are in front of the camera, there’s no question video interviews can be awkward. To mitigate these floundering feelings, write a simple script to follow along with — include a few important questions, company highlights, and a brief biography to start. Of course, you don’t want your interview to feel completely rehearsed, so try not to rely on your script too much. And don’t forget to keep eye contact just like you would in an office setting.

Tip #5: Don’t forget the details

It can be tempting to try to rush through a video interview but doing so can cause you to miss out on need-to-know details. Here are a few commonly missed items to add to your list as you start to wrap up your interview:

Final notes

Getting ready to host a video interview can be nerve-wracking for any professional, but it doesn’t need to be. As you prepare for an upcoming video interview, remember these five tips:

  1. Conduct a tech test run to help you resolve platform issues in advance
  2. Communicate interview instructions to candidates and colleagues clearly
  3. Make your space look and sound professional by eliminating distractions and polishing up your background
  4. Use a script to help you stay on topic, but don’t over-rely on your notes
  5. Don’t forget to mention important details as you wrap up your interview

Keep in mind, many of these tips are applicable for phone interviews as well, so feel free to refer back to these guidelines as you nail down your new interview process.

Did we miss anything? Share your best video interview tips with us in the comment section below.

Samantha Rupp holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and is the managing editor for 365businesstips.com. She lives in San Diego, California, and enjoys spending time on the beach, reading up on current industry trends, and traveling.

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