10 Video Interview Tips for Employers in the Covid-19 Environment

In the Covid-19 environment, we are swiftly shifting long-held best practices in interviewing job candidates.

For example, traditionally it was ideal to conduct interviews in person. But now, that can put candidates and interviewers at unnecessary risk of exposure. This is why many employers, including us, have been utilizing video calls for interviews.

While technological innovation enables us to do business in new ways, it also comes with tradeoffs. 

Pros and Cons of Video Interviews

The obvious benefit of interviewing by video is safety. The less your company is exposed to or exposing potential candidates the better. Why take unnecessary risk?

Video interviews can also be more flexible. You can potentially interview a candidate anywhere in the world, and they don’t have to worry about commuting or childcare. 

The downside of video interviews is that they may not provide you as much information as an in-person interview would about a job candidate. You are only able to assess a candidate with two senses: sight and sound. You are missing out on the way they move and how firmly they shake your hand. You are also unable to assess odors like too much perfume, cigarette smoke, or alcohol. These qualities can all be important in the hiring process.

As we cautiously move forward in the new business environment, video interviewing may be here to stay, at least to some extent. (It seems likely that more people will be working remotely anyway, in which case remote interviews make the most sense.) Here are some of the best practices we’ve discovered in order to make the most out of remote interviews.

10 Tips for Video Interviews

  • Make sure you have an account established with the video service of choice for all of your recruiters and train them on how to use it. Your team should know what they’re using and how to use it, and be consistent. Your team’s unfamiliarity with their video service can create situations where potential candidates back out because the process is more difficult than their competing job prospects.
  • When you connect with the candidate, ask what medium they’ll be using: a phone or computer. Many only use phones and don’t have a computer. You want to know upfront what tools they have; don’t assume. If they only have a smartphone, ask if they’ll be able to access your video service. If not, you may have to do a simple phone interview instead.
  • Send candidates a link ahead of time to download the program or install the app needed to conduct the interview. This is separate from the meeting link.
  • Separately send a link to the actual meeting when you’re ready to do the interview and have them check their email or a text. You can schedule it ahead of time if you know you’ll definitely be able to start the meeting on time. But if you’re doing back-to-back interviews and run behind, you may just need to tell them approximately when to be available so they can join when you’re ready.
  • When scheduling, give them someone to contact in case they’re having any trouble with the technology. This point of contact may be the interviewer, but it could also be an office assistant in your organization.
  • Prepare candidates to have adequate interview time that will be uninterrupted. Will your interview likely take 30 minutes? An hour? Since candidates are at home, they can tend to act more casual. Advise them to eliminate distractions, block out the time needed, and as much as possible dress appropriately.
  • Be aware that there may be other sights and sounds in your office that can be distracting. These distractions may affect you, but they also may affect the candidate. It shows candidates respect if you can give them your full, uninterrupted attention and keep distractions in your office to a minimum.
  • If this is an initial meeting, it’s good to keep it short and focus on major things that would qualify or disqualify the candidate. Consider using video interviews for just the first contact and have the candidate come in later for the final decision point, as you will be in contact with them anyway if they get the job.
  • The more you explain the hiring process, the more likely candidates will follow through. Candidates often feel lost in the hiring process—especially now in the COVID-19 era. Expectations for the interview should be very clear and outlined. There’s a lot that would be communicated informally face to face, so they need to feel reassured by your definitive plan and follow up.
  • Consider showing candidates around the workplace by video. Introduce them to their coworkers if they’re in the final stages of the hiring process, and give them a vision for where they will be working. It will help the job offer feel more tangible if they have never set foot in your business.

The principles for conducting a good interview are the same: the fewer interviews, the better. While you may need to do some additional followup by phone and in person, try to get as much as possible done in your primary video interview.

Related: 3 Key Questions Employers Should Ask During an Interview

Need help with conducting video interviews or any part of the hiring process? Let us help you staff with the right people, so you can focus on growing your business. Contact us today to discuss your staffing needs.