How to Conduct a Successful Video Interview

October 6, 2017
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This article provides advice for employers on how to conduct a video interview smoothly and successfully. 

As more companies extend their talent search further afield, video interviews offer a meaningful way to interact with candidates who might be overseas or already in work, without the hassle of a face to face interview.

There are many benefits to video interviewing. Some of these include:

  1. Unlike a phone interview, you can read body language and facial cues.
  2. No one has to pay travel expenses.
  3. It’s unlikely that the candidate will need to take time off work (great if you’re trying to recruit someone who already has a job).
  4. You can record a virtual interview and replay it later. Never underestimate what you can learn from a second glance! Watching the interview back could be the difference between a good and bad hire.

how to conduct a video interview

But, of course, there are some obstacles…

  1. Both you and the candidate need a decent internet connection, webcam, and microphone.
  2. Unexpected connectivity problems could cause delays and make it hard to communicate.
  3. There might be other problems such as bad lighting and background noise.

If you don’t solve issues like poor lighting and connectivity, a brilliant candidate could be put off by interruptions and delays, which might make them less confident (in you and themselves) than if it was a phone or face to face interview. This is why it’s crucial to plan and prepare for a video interview.


Virtual Interview Tips for Employers

There are a fair few obvious face-to-face rules that still apply in a virtual setting, for example, you still need to dress appropriately and prepare questions in advance. But with a video interview, there are also technical elements, like microphones and internet connections as well as time zones to consider.

Here are our top tips for how to conduct a video interview and impress your candidates.

1. Pick a quiet, well-lit location
This point isn’t just to make sure that there won’t be distractions on your end, but also to ensure that what your candidate can see looks good. You may have to shift items in a room to create a backdrop that looks appealing. When you’re arranging the room, the key is to think about how it appears on the screen and not in the physical room.

2. Figure out your tech
Before the interview, practice to make sure everything is set up okay as it’s highly likely that you’ll need to make adjustments. Avoid using a tablet or phone as they don’t have the capabilities of a computer or laptop. You should also do a test call beforehand to make sure your microphone is at the right volume. If the microphone is too loud, the candidate will be able to hear your breathing, which isn’t what you want your candidate to hear.

3. Prepare the environment
The candidate will be assessing your business from what they can see, which means that you need to prep the room (or at least the bit they’ll be able to see). To create a good impression of your business: 

  • Stay away from empty meeting rooms because the candidate will hear an annoying echo. Plants and soft furnishings absorb sound and will stop the echo from happening.
  • Inform your colleagues when the interview is going on and where. Make sure that you can’t hear office noises, like conversation and ringing phones and that people know to be mindful of the interview as they pass.
  • When you set up the webcam, make sure it’s an arm’s length away from where you’ll be sat and make sure it’s eye level (use books or a box to make it higher if you need to.).
  • To prevent undesirable lighting effects, position a lamp in front of you but behind the camera. Ensure the light doesn’t create strange shadows.

virtual interview methods

4. Dress appropriately
Even though the candidate might not be able to see all of you, you should still dress exactly as though the interview were face to face.

5. Sort a backup plan
Things do go wrong, and the unexpected can strike at any time. So make sure you have the candidate’s number so that you can call them if you need to.

6. Use the tone and pace of your voice to calm nervous candidates
You don’t have the opportunity to use body language to help your candidates relax and create a positive impression, so you’ll need to rely on your voice and facial expressions. Speak slower than you would in a face-to-face interview, and, where you can, use a headset rather than surround sound as this will cut down on feedback and prevent you from interrupting each other.

7. Turn off distracting or noisy background apps
If the computer that you’re using for the interview is your personal or work one, make sure that any applications that might make alert noises are switched off.

8. During the interview, sit still.
If the candidate sees you moving backwards and forwards and shifting your weight around, it’s going to be incredibly distracting. Figure out before the interview if you’re going to sit or stand. Equally, make sure you have everything you need. You may want to have their job description, your questions, and their CV on the table in front of you. If you do, try not to look down too much.


Conducting interviews through video can be a great change of pace and open up opportunities for all sorts of candidates. As with all interview styles, there are pros and cons, so it’s important to get your video interviews set up and running right to ensure you get the most out of the process.


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