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4 Steps to Ensure Smooth, Productive Video Interviews

Wednesday, January 4, 2017 - 11:30
Video Interview Tips

As the workforce becomes more remote, video interviews have become a go-to tool for screening talent. Video conferencing allows recruiters to expedite the interview process while also providing the benefits of face-to-face interaction. Additionally, video interviews can help companies geographically expand their hiring pool while reducing travel costs.

Although people at nearly all levels and companies have grown more comfortable with technology, video interviews are still new to many job candidates and interviewers alike. Worries around the technology can turn an already nerve-racking event, a job interview, into a stressful situation for both interviewer and interviewee. In fact, our recent survey on video conferencing habits found seemingly minor but common issues such as poor Internet connections (58 percent) and how lighting affects appearance (42 percent) makes users uneasy about video conferencing. Therefore, it’s important for recruiters to help candidates feel comfortable with the technology and video interview process.

Video Conferencing Anxieties

Here are four ways hiring managers can reduce the possibility of technical difficulties and ease candidates’ anxieties:

1. Check-in With the Candidate Prior to Scheduling the Video Interview

Reach out to the candidate via email or phone, and make sure he or she is able to accommodate an online video interview. Be sure to ask if the candidate has the proper technology (i.e. a webcam) and a clear understanding of how to use the meeting platform. Checking in with the candidate will not only minimize the chances of technical glitches but also help put the candidate at ease.

In your correspondence, remind the candidate to call in from a private space if possible. In an interview with West for our online interview guide, Lynda Zugec, Managing Director at The Workforce Consultants, reminds interviewers of the available public spaces for video interviews:

Lynda Zugec Video Interview Quote

If your candidate is only able to access the internet via a public setting, ask that they use a headset to minimize background noise, and suggest they look into taking interviews at quieter locations like the local library or a government funded employment center. Both facilities typically have free public internet and private rooms for reserve. Lastly, communicate with the candidate about who will place the call, and the names and titles of anyone else that will be on the interview.

2. Skip the Free Video Conferencing Tools

While tools like Skype and FaceTime have familiarized many with video calls, they aren’t necessarily the most reliable or professional solutions. Enterprise grade video conferencing tools create a standardized experience and provide more reliable functionality. Additionally, enterprise solutions offer extra features such as free mobile apps, easy calendar integration, document sharing, muting, disconnecting, on-demand playback of recordings and much more that can help recruiters stay on top of their various interviews.

While you may be familiar with your enterprise level video conferencing tools, keep in mind that your candidate may not be. You may have to assist your candidate with links and resources before the interview to help them become comfortable with the technology. In an interview for West's online interview guide, Harvey Daniels, Consultant at Northwestern University's Kellog Graduate School of Management and DePaul University, encourages you not to let this affect your evaluation of the candidate:

Video Interview Technology Quote

3. Provide Instructions for Joining the Video Conference

If you find your company is conducting a lot of video interviews, it’s probably worth putting together a few resources to help candidates navigate the video platform. For instance, a short video that walks through how to use the technology will better prepare candidates. Another option is a Q&A sheet that covers the most frequently asked questions. Some questions to consider covering include, which web-based technology will we be using? Do I need to install anything on my computer prior to the online interview? How long will the interview be?

4. Establish a Personal Connection with Candidates

While video interviews are convenient and mimic face-to-face interactions, it can be stressful for those unfamiliar with the process or technology. Interviewers can put a candidate at ease through a few non-verbal strategies. For starters, a smile is the easiest way to communicate positivity and openness. Second, while too much eye contact can cause discomfort, too little shows disengagement.

Try following the "2/3 to 1/3 rule," which means interviewers make eye contact two-thirds of the time. Lastly, just as you expect candidates to call in from a quiet area, make sure you’re also calling in from distraction-free environment. Background noise from your end will distract the interviewee and discredit the company. Try to scout out and reserve private meeting rooms or offices. Make sure the space is inviting, well-lit and a clean, positive representation of your organization.


Of course, when it comes to technology trends in the hiring space, video interviews are just the tip of the iceberg. The virtual job fair is another emerging trend of which hiring managers should take advantage. These online events are a step up from networking and job board websites, and facilitate ongoing hiring efforts on a 24/7 basis. With platforms like our Virtual Environments, recruiters can engage with candidates from around the world and hold live video interviews during the career fair.

Take a Tour of West's Virtual Environment Platform

More About Virtual Environments

Whether in-person, via online video or a virtual career fair, interviews are crucial to determine whether a candidate has the knowledge, skills and abilities to operate effectively within the role. With proper preparation and guidance, video interviews allow hiring managers to identify top talent and sell the opportunity to the applicant.

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