For many good reasons organizations and candidates have a preference for meeting and interviewing in-person. As many organizations reduce travel and restrict visitors to their offices amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the temptation may be to reschedule those in-person meetings. We strongly advise that organizations focus instead on shifting to virtual interviews. This will ensure candidate engagement, keep momentum in the process, and display an agility the candidate will appreciate and, frankly, expect in their future employer.
Use our 7 simple tips and reminders to run successful video-based interviews:
Test your technology in advance
Make sure you have your relevant web or video conferencing platform fully set up. Ensure you know how to login. Test whether the audio quality is better using voice over IP or your cell phone or land line. Reach out to the candidate in advance to make sure the application functions effectively on their device. Also, be patient, understanding that many platforms (internet providers and video technology) will be hosting unprecedented volumes and connections. If the video platform is not working effectively make the decision swiftly to move to a traditional phone call to fully capitalize on the time you have together.
Setup your space appropriately
Your space and lighting will both make an impression on the other end. Be sure to test how well-lit you are and what the background looks like in advance. Most platforms include a feature to see your own video feed.
Make eye contact
How your camera is positioned relative to your face will make a big difference to the experience on the other end. This is particularly important if you have multiple monitors. You may be looking at the feed of the candidate but in doing so end up looking like you are looking away from them if the camera is positioned over a different monitor. Make sure your camera is positioned facing you and look at it to make eye contact.
Be mindful of body language
Not being physically in the same room, one is liable to be a bit more casual; additionally, if you are using a small device like a tablet, phone, or laptop with integrated camera there is the risk that you end up hunching over the device. Sit tall, shoulders back – like grandma and grandpa always said. Set up your device accordingly.
Ditch the other devices! It’s pretty rude to look at your phone or other device during an inperson meeting; just because the other party can’t see that device doesn’t make it okay. The research on multitasking is pretty cut and dry – no one is good at it. The party on the other end will notice if you aren’t fully engaged with them.
Amp up your enthusiasm
It can be easy to slip into monotone when speaking on the phone, and a less than perfectly clear connection may do you no favors either. Express yourself enthusiastically and vary your intonation and pace according to the points you are communicating. Remember you also have video so don’t shy away from making non-verbal gestures (just don’t overdo it!).
Relax and set a good tone from the outset
We’d advise that on some of the finer points, like lighting and clutter-free spaces, you cut your candidates (and yourself) some slack. They may well be managing some complex arrangements. Making them feel comfortable regardless of the logistics you or they are trying to manage will set you up for a great conversation.