7 Tips to Help You Conduct Effective Video Interviews

Video interviews are on the rise. These tips will help you create an effective process so you can hire the best candidates for your business.

We may receive compensation from partners and advertisers whose products appear here. Compensation may impact where products are placed on our site, but editorial opinions, scores, and reviews are independent from, and never influenced by, any advertiser or partner.

Video interviews are likely to become a much more popular candidate sourcing technique. That’s because many of us have spent 2020 working from home, and companies have realized they don’t need to only hire people who can commute to the office every day.

But many companies use the same approach for video interviewing as they do for in-person screening. It’s important to tailor your interviewing format and technique to suit the needs of the medium rather than taking a blanket approach.

With that in mind, we’ve put together our top video interview tips so you can find the right candidate to help your business grow and be sure you make a positive impression on them.

7 video interviewing tips to help you pre-screen candidates efficiently:

  • Create a structure
  • Remember good interview etiquette
  • Test your equipment before the interview
  • Schedule interviews in advance
  • Follow up
  • Provide feedback
  • Track performance

1. Create a structure

Interviewing candidates via video can get awkward if you don’t create a structure that defines what will happen during the interview.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Will you start with general questions and then move on to behavioral or situational questions?
  • Will the candidate have to do a presentation?
  • How many interviewers will there be?
  • Who will be on the call?
  • How many video interviews will the candidate have to do?

Share this structure with candidates ahead of time so they understand what will be expected of them. Remember to also share any important documents and information they need to know.

Make sure your fellow interviewers know what’s happening. When LinkedIn decided that all job interviews would go virtual in March 2020, its talent acquisition team created a shared document where team members from around the world could post questions about the interview process, and leaders could post answers and share links to resources.


2. Remember good interview etiquette

Just because you’re screening candidates by video doesn’t mean you don’t have to observe normal interviewing etiquette.

Don’t keep your candidates waiting. Make sure you begin the meeting on time and even log on a few minutes before the start time in case they’re early.

This also applies to video interview attire. While many of us are used to dressing more casually at home, you should still make an effort to look professional during virtual interviews.

When the call starts, each member of the virtual interview panel should introduce themselves and explain what role they will take on the call. Don’t start until everyone who needs to be there has joined the call, and ideally don’t let anyone join the call late since it will disturb the flow for the candidate.


3. Test your equipment before the interview

If we could pick one phrase to sum up working from home in 2020, it would be, “You’re on mute.” We’ve lost track of the number of times we’ve said that sentence, either in a work video conference or on one of the many Zoom parties we had during lockdown.

Add to that countless issues with video and audio, as well as poor connectivity and other internet problems. Despite access to some fantastic virtual communication and collaboration tools, we all still experience issues sometimes. That’s why you need to test your setup before you start the interview.

Decide which platform you’re going to use and communicate that with the candidate as early as possible. Provide login details before the call.

Make sure your video and sound are working and your internet speed is fast enough to support a virtual interview. Test screen sharing and be sure you have the information you need on-screen.

Check the environment to be sure there aren’t any loud noises coming from your surroundings that could disrupt the interview and put off the candidate.

And be sure your virtual interview background is appropriate! If you’ve been using a fun background for remote meetings with your team, remember to remove it and replace it with a neutral background before the interview.


4. Schedule interviews in advance

Just because you’re conducting video interviews doesn’t mean you can play fast and loose with a candidate’s schedule. Set a time for an interview at least a week in advance and send a meeting invite with all the details.

Don’t constantly reschedule. A candidate’s time is still valuable even if he or she doesn’t have to travel to a physical location.

Also, if you reschedule multiple times, you’ll portray an image of you and your company as disorganized and disrespectful, and the candidate is more likely to pass on the opportunity of working at your company.


5. Follow up

It can be easy to feel more disconnected from candidates when you don’t meet with them in person, but it’s just as important to make them feel valued during a video interview.

Show them why they should work at your company by adding thoughtful touches during the recruitment process, such as sending an email thanking the candidate for their time and outlining the next steps.

Make sure you respond promptly, whether it’s to move them to the next stage or to let them know they aren’t the right fit. And don’t ever ghost a candidate.

HR software and applicant tracking systems (ATS) can help. Breezy HR lets you automate next actions for each of your pipeline stages so you never leave candidates in the dark about what’s happening with their application. You also save time by eliminating having to manually check pipeline stages.

For example, when a candidate is in the interviewing stage, Breezy HR can automatically send out an evaluation form to get feedback and interview notes from the other members of your hiring panel. This moves candidates through the process more quickly and stops them from getting stuck at a specific stage.

Breezy HR’s pipeline management functionality lets you edit recruitment stages and assign actions for each one.

Breezy HR automates the next actions for each stage of the recruitment pipeline. Source: Breezy HR software.


6. Provide feedback

Video interviewing is new to a lot of people, and it can be difficult for both the interviewer and the candidate to get it right. If you spot areas where the candidate can improve, be sure to provide this feedback.

It might be a candidate’s first-ever video interview, so don’t be too harsh if they don’t come across as well as they might in person. It takes practice to master this process, and your video interview advice could be just what they need to acquire the necessary skills.

It’s also a learning process for recruiters and hiring managers. Ask candidates for their feedback on how you’re coming across in interviews and how they found the overall process.


7. Track performance

You’re probably already using HR technology or an ATS to source candidates. Make video interviewing a key stage within your pipeline so you can track performance. If you notice that candidates are spending a lot of time in that stage or are dropping out during video interviews, then you know you have an issue that needs to be resolved.

You can use Zoho Recruit’s built-in reports and analytics to track the time candidates spend in each stage, as well as the overall time it takes to fill a position. You can build your own reports so you can specifically track the performance of video interviewing and compare its performance against other candidate-sourcing techniques.

Zoho Recruit reports on candidates by source and recruitment stage.

You can create reports to track the time candidates spend in each recruitment stage. Source: Zoho Recruit software.


Provide a superior candidate experience

Whether you’re screening candidates on the phone, meeting them face to face, or conducting a video interview, you’ll need to convince the most talented among them to work at your company.

If you master the art of video interviewing, you can transform your hiring process and provide a superior candidate experience that showcases your organizational skills, flexibility, and innovative approach.

The Ultimate Guide to Building Virtual Teams

Knowing how to build a strong virtual team is more important today than ever -- and there are six critical things you must do to succeed. That's why we've created this ultra-timely 19-page report on what you should be doing now to set your virtual team up to win.

Enter your email below to access our (no-strings-attached) free report, "The Ultimate SMB Guide to Building High-Performing Virtual Teams."

The Motley Fool has a Disclosure Policy. The Author and/or The Motley Fool may have an interest in companies mentioned.