How to Conduct Better Video Interviews When Hiring Remote Employees

The number of organizations using a fully remote interview process has ballooned since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The use of video interviews increased by 67% nearly overnight, and the practice is likely here to stay. Nearly 60% of recruiters and hiring managers now report relying on video technology as part of their talent procurement strategies. 

Implementing video interviews in recruitment can expand traditional talent pools while making the hiring process safer and more efficient. In fact, today’s applicants often assume this to be the primary interview method, especially when hiring for entirely remote positions. Although video interviews do offer significant benefits, a remote interview process is a different experience from traditional in-person interviews, for both recruiters and applicants, and it can be hard to get to know someone through a screen. Follow these tips for conducting video interviews to ensure better results for your hiring team, and a better interview experience for prospective employees.

Discuss the Details

With interviewees coming from different countries and time zones, it’s especially important to communicate dates and times for your remote interviews. When confirming interview times, state it in multiple time zones (for example 11 am PST / 12 pm MST / 2 pm EST) to minimize any possible confusion. Send along any necessary information, like a login link, to ensure candidates can set up the video technology platform before the interview starts and mitigate any technical hiccups. Encouraging candidates to pre-test their technology beforehand will help ensure your remote interview process goes smoothly and efficiently.

It is also a good idea to set expectations around video use: make it clear to interviewees that they should be prepared to be on camera and avoid assuming that all candidates will automatically know this. Inform them that video interviews are an essential part of the hiring process to avoid any surprises.

Pick an Appropriate Setting

How and where you conduct your video interview can go a long way in creating a positive first impression of your organization and your values. A well-lit, organized room where you will be distraction-free during the interview process will convey professionalism and keep your interviews focused. 

Refining your setting will help your interviews feel as professional as they should be. Video interviews can seem more casual than in-person interviews, but by picking the right environment—whether that is in your home or an office—along with minimizing distractions and dressing appropriately, you can set the right tone between you and your applicants. Separated by distance and by screens, it can be easy for your focus to drift. Turn off your phone and computer notifications and minimize other windows to help keep your full attention on your applicant, just as is expected during in-person interviews.

Help Reduce Uncertainty and Anxiety

Job interviews are nerve-wracking already, and new technology and processes can increase those nerves for candidates not familiar with the nuances of video interviews. Recruiters and hiring managers can mitigate this by reducing uncertainty. Let each candidate know what to expect at each step of the interview process, and be sure to include who will be participating in the interviews. Coming into a surprise four-person panel interview likely won’t inspire the best performance out of your candidates.

Recruiters should get comfortable with conducting a video interview as well. Internal teams can practice with mock interviews to refine interviewer behavior, prepare for potential troubleshooting, and address any questions about cultural differences.

You can also address any uncertainty from candidates about the role and the organization by coming prepared with a thorough summary. Be ready to talk about the company’s short and long term priorities, recent accomplishments, work culture, perks, and any other information that will help applicants understand what daily work life looks like in your organization.

Add a Human Touch

Arguably the most challenging aspect of using remote interviews for talent recruitment is getting a grasp of a candidate’s more intangible qualities: their demeanor, sense of humor, and other factors that are crucial to determining a candidate’s fit among your team and organizational culture.

Recruiters can add informal “icebreaker” sessions to get to know candidates that may also provide a better understanding of team dynamics. Informal interviews with team members can follow initial interviews to help further assess applicant competencies.

Body language is harder to pick up on while video conferencing, but it is another important consideration during the remote interview process. Sit up straight to display that you are listening and engaged, and look into the camera to make eye contact and forge a connection with applicants. Try minimizing your self-view window to help you keep your focus on the candidate and not yourself.

Finally, don’t let the physical separation of video interviews prevent you from extending courtesy to all of your applicants. Thank them for their time and conclude each interview by setting the expectation for next steps. Whether that is scheduling another interview or confirming when they will hear back about your hiring decision, make sure to communicate that your applicants’ time is valued. Having applicants leave with a positive impression of you and your organization will continue to serve you well as you build out your remote talent pool.

Are you looking for more resources to help you build an increasingly distributed workforce? Download our whitepaper, Managing Your Virtual Workforce, to learn more about successfully navigating the world of remote and flexible work arrangements.

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