Modern technology has made so many processes more flexible, and recruitment is no exception. Using a variety of mediums, it’s never been easier to make contact with a candidate face to face, even when you can’t be in the same room.
A face to face interview is nearly always preferable as it’s possible to pick up more about their body language when you’re physically present, but a video interview can offer some different advantages plus some real insights into the individuals you are considering for the position.
However, with video interviews it can be a little more awkward at times so it’s vital to be properly prepared. Here are five top considerations which you should always take into account when conducting a video interview.
1) Check your technology.
There’s nothing worse than the agreed time arrives and your equipment letting you down when you need it the most. Before you start conducting interviews, you should thoroughly check your set up and have a back-up plan, such as a telephone number, which you can revert to if all else fails.
Making sure you have the individual’s username, and carrying out a “dry run” with colleagues will satisfy you that you won’t be left with egg on your face when you’re trying to portray your company as a professional organisation.
A test run will also give you a better idea of how you appear on the candidate’s screen and whether you need to make any adjustments.
2) Be aware of your recording space…
When you carry out a video interview, the attention of both the interviewers and the candidate is concentrated into a relatively small space. Without an entire office for your eyes to roam around, it’s easy for the smallest details to stand out more clearly.
Your company is being interviewed in the same way that you are interviewing the candidate, so you should be aware of what might be presented on screen. Make sure the desks are clean, with no old coffee cups or even worse, confidential paperwork that could be viewed by the other party.
Even if your space is clean and tidy, having too much in the background could be a real distraction. Minimise the clutter which can be seen and you will capture the candidate’s attention far more effectively.
3) …and take a look at theirs!
Of course, by the same token, the recording space of the candidate can be very revealing! When you arrange an interview in your office, you won’t have the opportunity to see into the private world of the candidate so for this reason, a video conference provides an advantage.
Use this advantage to try and learn more about the individual; are there any clues to their personality lying within eyeshot? Have they dressed professionally for the interview or have they tried to be sneaky and just smartened up their upper half, expecting the rest of their body to be hidden from sight? Are there any questionable items within the recording space?
Video interviews can provide a much more intimate snapshot of an individual and a good interviewer can use this information to their advantage.
4) Ensure you won’t be interrupted.
Although being interrupted during any kind of interview is less than idea, it can be catastrophic during a video interview.
Someone walking into the room or even noises outside your window could be extremely disruptive to the person you are video calling. Make sure you treat a video interview with the same professionalism that you would a normal interview and make the same arrangements to ensure you will have peace and quiet so you both can concentrate.
Another type of interruption but one that may be less obvious might be the lighting. Through a video camera harsh lighting from behind you could make you appear almost impossible to see which could impede communication. Close the blinds so that the candidate can see you more clearly on the screen and it should make communication much easier.
5) It’s not a mirror!
If you’re not used to seeing yourself on screen while you chat, it’s surprisingly easy to get distracted and end up watching yourself on the monitor.
The net effect of this is that it will look as if you are constantly looking away from the candidate rather than directly at them. It may seem strange to start with but you should look directly at the camera when you’re talking; by doing this it will appear that you are looking at the candidate and provide a better connection for communication.
Conversely, do remember that it can be very disconcerting having someone stare at you without flinching or smiling, and looking straight down the camera without softening your gaze will be extremely intimidating. Remember to smile and break your gaze occasionally and you will achieve a far more natural effect that doesn’t terrify the candidate at the other end!
Video conferencing is increasing in popularity, making recruitment more convenient and less costly. The above five top considerations will help make sure that any video interview is as successful as possible.
Author: Nick Williams works for www.acuitytraining.co.uk in the UK and helps on their communication and assertiveness training courses.