How to Conduct a Video Interview: A Comprehensive Guide

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Posted by: David Garcia

Topics: Human Resources, Recruitment

Let’s face it. The working world is changing drastically.

Once the thought of conducting HR operations online would have been unthinkable, but the whole concept of remote and hybrid work is now commonplace.

Job interviews have indeed joined the trend of shifting to virtual.

Many recruiters and HR departments find video interviews preferable because they are less of a logistical hassle for both parties and, thus, tend to be more efficient.

That said, there are plenty of reasons to fear the very thought of a video interview.

Whether you are being interviewed or conducting the interview, the idea of doing it all remotely can bring up all sorts of social and situational anxieties, ranging from uncertainty about body language to technical hiccups.

Follow the tips below and prepare to navigate the many pitfalls and awkwardness associated with the video interview.

How to Prepare for a Video Interview:

1. Check the Technology

Nothing ruins a video interview faster than a spotty wifi connection or a malfunctioning microphone.

While it’s impossible to prevent these sorts of technological mishaps completely, there are several things you can do to make sure you are adequately prepared when leading up to an interview.

For example, use an ethernet connection instead of wifi for a more robust internet signal, and check your microphone levels and settings before hopping on the call.

After all, when it comes to interviews, the goal is to put your best foot forward. Making a good impression can result as much from your handling of technology as your ability to answer questions.

Taking care of the technical details shows preparedness and professionalism, which in turn builds confidence and trust in your competency.

No doubt you understand the inconvenience and unprofessionalism an unfortunate camera incident or login struggle can convey.

2. Find an Ideal Location

Without the neutrality of an office location from which to interview, it’s entirely up to you to create the perfect atmosphere. Everything from a nicely curated background to quality sound levels in your surrounding area can mean the difference between successful recruitment and a failed one.

Would you want to continue to work with someone who has no problem putting their messy bedroom on display during video meetings?

The occasional lawnmower noises and surprise appearances from family members and pets are often unavoidable in the world of remote offices. However, finding a location where these intrusions are kept to a minimum is the best route for preparing a video interview.

Pro tip: Use a room with a locking door to ensure you will not be disturbed.

3. Dress Professionally

Like scouting out the ideal background location, attire is also crucial for preparing for a video interview.

A professional appearance has always been important in any work environment. But because the person on the other side of the interview will not be able to meet you face-to-face, the way you visually present yourself on the screen will provide the basis of their first impressions and is therefore even more necessary.

If it’s a video job interview, the adage of “dress for the job you want” applies tenfold. Even if you're not the one under the interview microscope, showing up well-dressed will go a long way in portraying a confident and composed demeanor.

Of course, not every office environment demands the traditional three-piece suite-and-tie ensemble. These days, many work cultures embody a far more casual look, which could make you wary of overdressing.

That said, you should do your best to scope out expectations ahead of time to make sure that you are doing your best to align with office norms. When in doubt, showing up overdressed is better by far than underdressed, so err on the side of caution.

4. Practice

Preparation is essential for any interview, in person or not.

Practice the interview before the big day to feel prepared and confident.

Practicing can entail everything from writing up responses to anticipated questions to a complete run-through with full sound and video. Practice even means locating the quietest room in your home.

Like any other skill, practice makes perfect. So, the more thoroughly you run through all the aspects of interviewing ahead of time, the more likely you’ll be to knock the interview out of the park when you do go ahead and log in.

Practicing might feel a little silly by yourself, so try getting a friend or family member to help you by impersonating the person on the other side. Going through the motions of a run-through with your webcam can also be helpful when it comes to getting your posture and body language exactly as you want it.

How to Conduct a Successful Video Interview:

1. Prepare for the Unexpected

Because video interviews are technically taking place in two separate locations (with the camera in between, no less!), there are just that many more surprise elements that can pop up and throw a wrench in the interview plan.

An uninvited attendee could hop into the zoom room and cause some unanticipated commotion, or your cat could knock the wifi connection out of whack in your living room. Your co-host could even have their disruption and leave you with no choice but to plow full steam ahead all by yourself.

There’s no way to prepare for these mishaps completely. There will always be the element of surprise involved in a video interview.

However, there are certain steps you can take to prepare for as many categories of surprise elements as possible. This means having backup technology ready or feeling comfortable enough to handle an interview alone rather than with a partner for support.

No matter how you go about it, the more unexpected scenarios you can predict and make plans for, the better.

2. Stay Focused

Staring at a computer is exhausting. It is unnatural for humans to maintain a connection with a screen, so look for something you can lock on to. Maybe a painting in the background, or the camera’s lens, just make sure you aren’t staring at the box with your picture in it!

You may even want to turn off the ability to see yourself to avoid wandering eyes.

Suppose something totally out of the blue happens to bring a little chaos into your zoom room. Just move forward, acknowledge the distraction and continue as you were.

Even if the outcome is a little bit more harried than you would have liked, the fact that you could maintain focus in a chaotic scenario is sure to rub off on and impress the person on the other end of the interview.

Maintaining calm, confident composure in the face of distraction can be positive. Your ability to deal with any scenario will carry over to your on-the-job duties.

Prove you can handle a stressful interview, and you’ll prove you can handle the job.

What to Do After a Video Interview:

1. Record Digital Materials

A considerable benefit of conducting interviews online rather than in person is that the digital format offers plenty of opportunities to record and keep efficient notes.

Using an app like Rev that provides automatic transcription is excellent for looking back over the conversation for direct quotes later. Likewise, meeting with someone online makes it easy to save a copy for later with just the simple click of the ‘record’ button.

Just make sure that the person on the other side understands that their words and image will be recorded. Always receive consent before recording someone.

Another tip for digital archiving is to do it right away. The more time you let pass between the close of an interview and when you sit down to formally preserve a recording, the more likely a technical error will pop up and destroy the records.

2. Follow Up with the Interviewer/Interviewee

Sending an articulate follow-up email or letter has long been part of the interview etiquette playbook. Expressing your thanks and continued interest right away to someone who took time out of their busy schedule to meet with you is among one of the better ways to build and solidify good working relationships and leave the door open for meeting again.

When it comes to meeting remotely versus in person, seizing every opportunity you can to make a good impression on the other person is imperative.

Try as you might, forging a relationship with someone over the internet is significantly more complex than doing so in person. To counter this disadvantage, experts in workplace psychology and human behavior suggest seeking alternative methods of interfacing and perpetuating communication.

An interview is simply a conversation, so why not get serious about keeping the communication going with a thank you email or explaining the next steps in your recruitment process.

Conclusion

Whether you are conducting an interview or the one under scrutiny as the interviewee, the hiring process has never been more complicated than it is now with the proliferation of remote work and recruitment operations.

After dealing with the stress of a remote interview, you’ll still need to run a background check on your candidate. That’s where ScoutLogic comes in!

With decades of combined experience, our experts will guide you through the check with ease.

Spend your time on the remote interview; we’ll take care of the background check!

Reach out now for a free assessment.

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