It should come as no surprise to hear that video interviews are growing in popularity. In a remote world, we need remote hiring solutions and video is an easy way to bridge the divide. In fact, one recruitment agency saw a 67% spike in video interview usage among its clients this spring. But conducting a successful virtual interview is not merely a case of taking what you used to do in the office and trying it online. If you're turning to video interviews to support your talent acquisition activities throughout the pandemic, then consider these strategies to help you make the most of them.
What can you do to improve your video interview?
If you've got a virtual interview set up with a jobseeker then think about the following 5 factors to help streamline your interview process and keep things running smoothly.
What's your purpose?: Like all interviews, you'll collect more relevant information if you take the time to prepare beforehand. That means identifying what skills or attribute you want to find in a candidate and putting a plan in place to help you sort through potential hires. What will your hiring process look like and what tools will you be leveraging? Consider how many interviews it will take you to learn everything you need and how many other recruiters or hiring managers will need to be involved. Plan your interview questions in advance and when in doubt, stick to behavioural based interview questions in order to access a deeper level of insight into a candidate. And remember, make sure you're communicating with your candidate throughout the entire interview process, especially your end decision, so they don't feel left out of the loop.
Finding the right fit: Of course, even with the best-laid plans, it can be hard to get an accurate sense of your candidate and how they might fit into your existing teams and culture. Video interviews are a great way to save time and hire remotely, but they still have limitations in terms of how much you can learn about a potential hire. Of course, one way to help keep your virtual interviews on-track is with the use of pre-employment assessments. Assessments can be easily completed and scored online which makes them an ideal addition to any remote hiring process. At McQuaig, we suggest starting with our McQuaig Job Survey in order to create an ideal profile of what a successful candidate might look like. Then leverage the McQuaig Word Survey to gain a deeper understanding of the respondent's personality and temperament to see if they are a match, not a match, or potential match to your ideal benchmark. When used together, you have a better chance of gaining a more accurate view of your candidate and their future potential, as well as align culture and job fit. If you have to keep your distance from your candidate, at least you can still get a good sense of who they really are before you make your hiring decision.
Welcome your candidate: Think about what kind of candidate experience you're providing and don't rush into your questions as soon as the interview starts. Take a minute and chat with your candidate. Stress and anxiety are high these days and video interviewing can feel a little strange at first. Put your candidate at ease and explain what the interview process is going to look like. This is also a great time to address what to do if either of you run into technical issues or get interrupted. Keeping the tone of the interview more open and conversational will also help your interview stay on-track. Body language and attention can be hard to gauge through a screen so you want your candidate to be as comfortable as possible so as not to miss non-verbal cues.
Think about your background: What's behind you when you join an online meeting? You want to consider what a candidate will be staring at when they look at you to make sure there's nothing distracting that might be catching their attention, like a messy closet. You also don't want to have a plain white wall behind you if you can avoid it. Try to find a background that's warm or has some personality to it to better set the stage for the interview. Also, avoid fake virtual backgrounds if you can. They'll do in a pinch but the resolution can be problematic and it's always nicer to see a person's real environment when possible.
Where's your camera?: Think about where your camera is located on your laptop and where your candidate will see you staring. Some laptops have lower webcams, for example, which you might want to offset by raising the computer on a box for the interview. It's a good idea to open your camera before your candidate arrives to make sure everything is in working order, your lighting is good, and your camera is in the right place. Also double-check your video is clear. If it's fuzzy, you probably need to clean your webcam quickly. And lastly, once the interview starts, think about where you're looking. We tend to stare at the screen to see the other person but looking at the webcam is actually making "eye contact" in a remote world.
Be ready for the unexpected
While considering the above factors will help you improve your video interview approach, remote interviews also come with some unique challenges. Prepare for unexpected distractions by taking the following potential issues into account.
1) Tech trouble - We've all had Zoom or Skype meetings where we can't get the video or audio to work. Be prepared just in case you run into technical issues on the day of the interview and have a plan in place that you can share with the candidate for what to do if things go wrong.
2) Internet connections - Not everyone has stellar Wifi at home and low or dropped connections may delay your call. Swap phone numbers with a candidate before the interview so you have a way of contacting them should the internet fail.
3) Interruptions - People are working at home these days which means interruptions are common. Be prepared in case a child wanders into the background or a pet jumps on a lap. Try using humour to dispel any tension created by an unexpected interruption.
4) Phone calls - We're living in a very wired in world at the moment. There's always the possibility someone's phone might go off and interrupt your conversation. If that happens, take it in stride and ask the candidate to mute their phone for the rest of the interview. If it's your phone, apologize and move on.
5) Environmental distractions - While both candidates and interviewers should think carefully about where they choose to hold their side of the interview, there are always events beyond your control that might impact the meeting. If a fire alarm goes off, sirens wail, or construction starts up, there's not a lot you or your candidate can do so either reschedule your interview or use headphones to diminish the outside noise.
Rock your next video interview
When you can't meet a candidate face-to-face, that doesn't mean your quality of hire needs to suffer. Video interviews are growing more popular and will likely remain so even after the pandemic is over. Learning how to get them right just takes a little practice. The key to video interviews, or any job interview really, is to be prepared. Figure out what you're looking for, what questions you'll use, and what the structure of the interview will be before you meet your candidate. Consider what first impression you're making yourself and take care to create as welcoming an online environment as you can. And of course, be ready for things to go awry. There is much more that's out of our control in a video interview than an in-person one, from noise, to tech trouble, to interruptions. Don't let the unexpected derail your interview. Plan out your approach and then be flexible where needed. Video interviewing can absolutely help you find top talent when you take the time to get it right.