How to conduct a successful video interview. The rules and our tips.
by Anthony Lewis
24/03/20Back to insights
Over the next few months, video interviewing is going to become commonplace. Something we at Tile Hill have always celebrated as it can advance the efficiency and effectiveness of executive recruitment.
It is a departure from the norm but it allows clients and candidates to engage in a richer and more meaningful way than a traditional phone interview. Whilst some might still prefer a face-to-face, if done the right way, and with the right mindset, it can be as good.
We’ve compiled our video interview rules and tips for clients and candidates. The rules are important as they ensure the video interview can be effective, but also leaves both parties feeling engaged and enabled to make the right decision.
They may seem simple, but you would be surprised at how often they don’t happen…
- Be in the room – Turn off email notifications and hide your phone. This is no different to a face to face meeting.
- Allow time at the beginning of the interview to build rapport and hold the usual welcome, much as you would as someone settles into the room.
- Actively listen – It can be hard to read non-verbal cues and body language when you only can see someone’s head. So, make sure you actively listen and make eye contact when not making notes.
- Remove judgement – People will have varying homes, different home office set-ups, some will be tidy, and some will be messy. This should not detract from what they are saying. Make sure the quality of the conversation comes first.
- It won’t be perfect – When conducting an interview over the internet, the signal might be patchy, the image might not be perfect, children may walk in, or there may be a delay. This again should not impact your views on each other.
- Lighting – Make sure the room is well lit, and that your face is completely illuminated. Where possible, have the curtains open and the lights on. Ensuring that your full face can be seen enables the interview panel to see your facial expressions and makes it easier for both parties to engage with each other.
- The background – Do not worry about having the perfect background. This is your home and your choice of décor. Where you are making the call from should not be the reason you are successful or unsuccessful. If you are worried about it, most video conferencing technology will allow you to blur your background. This might be a good idea regardless as it focuses all attention onto you and what you are saying.
- Camera quality and angle - Having a good quality image is important. So make sure the internet signal is strong and you have good battery charge on your device. Where possible, use a device that has a good quality camera. Most mobile phones and tablets have good picture quality, but this creates issues with the stability and angle of the image. So make sure you are taking all of this into account. Ensure that the camera angle is level with your face and not pointing up your nostrils or only showing half of your head. You may need to prop your device up, so make sure it is on something stable if necessary.
- Sound – Test the sound quality before the interview. If you are using headphones or the device’s speakers, make sure you can be heard and that you can hear the interview panel. Most software allows you to test the audio before the call goes live. Large rooms will often sound echoey and busy rooms will have plenty of background noise which might be a distraction.
- Distractions – Remove all distractions. The news, mobile phones, loved ones… whatever might cause you to lose your train of thought. You need to be focussing on the conversation so make sure you are removed from potential disruptions.
- Answering questions – Allow the question to finish before you start your answer. If there is a delay on the call, then you may start answering before they have finished asking the question so a short pause before you start answering is a good idea. Likewise, be prepared for interruptions as the panel may also think you have finished speaking before the image catches up.
- Eye contact – Look into the camera and make the same eye contact you would in a face to face interview. If there are multiple people on the call, split the screen so you can see all of their faces at the same time. Speak to them directly and engage with the individual as you would in person. Likewise, do not worry if the interviewer is not making direct eye contact with you or if they are making notes and looking to the left or right of the camera. Be confident and keep delivering your message. Do not get despondent because the interview panel isn’t looking at you. But, if in doubt, check that you have answered their question adequately as you wrap up each answer.
- Dress – This is a business meeting, so dress appropriately. Make sure that whatever part of your body is showing is appropriately dressed. If you wish to go ‘newsreader’ then just make sure you don’t stand up until the camera is well and truly turned off.
- Trial run – Do a trial run with a friend or family member before you start the interview. Practice always makes perfect.
- Be yourself – This is an interview, so be yourself, enjoy the conversation, and cross your fingers it goes well.