Hess Associates

Tips on Conducting Video Interviews with Candidates

During this coronavirus pandemic, social distancing has mostly been mandated across the globe. Even before this new era, in order to save on initial interviewing expenses, many hiring managers or HR managers were conducting initial and even follow-up interviews using Facetime- or Skype- like technologies. Some companies are/were making hiring decisions based entirely on video interviews.

5 main related technologies are used:

1. Facetime is excellent but only if each party has a MAC/ Apple product. This can also be video’d for future reference (https://www.imore.com/how-record-facetime-call-your-iphone-or-mac).

2. Skype, which is owned by Microsoft, actually offers free video services for both MAC and PC, Calls of course, if both the interviewer and interviewee have Skype user names, are free anywhere on earth. Some employers will choose to videotape the interview. This can be done with either MAC or PC (https://support.skype.com/en/skype/iphone/), or if PC, downloading supertintin.

3. Google+ technology works on many platforms but one must open a Google account.

4. Video services, managed by proprietary software, not free, including recording of all interviews, if desired – similar to 1, 2, and 3, offer an organized setting and easy recording. These include but are not limited to hireview, montagetalent, or interviewstream, sparkhire.com, or take a look at this 2020 review of other systems (capterra). Some of these will have mobile apps as well as desktop.

5. If the interview is for a very high powered position, it is possible that this will be conducted in a video conference formal setting. For most positions however, webcams associated with PCs or MACs, Tablets, iPads, phones suffice.

A few precautions for the hiring company:

1. Ensure that your device, formal teleconference room set up, or webcam/computer set ups are ready to go – that the internet is working, the sound is right, passwords are set up. This includes video and audio tests that are easy to run.

2. Be aware of where the eye of the camera is, in order to look directly at the candidate – this gesture is very important and just as hard for them as for you.

3 .Have a clean, dedicated, professional appearing work area – part of your job. In addition to determining if this is the best candidate, the other part of your job is to present your company in the best light, so that the candidate will want to join your team.

4. If at home, make sure no people, animals, radios, TVs, outside traffic will interrupt. Most hiring managers will not carry out interviews at home, but with global considerations and time zones, this is a possibility. Especially during the coronavirus pandemic. Make sure the area behind you is clear and clean.

5. Done properly, this form of interview should still give you an idea of the candidate’s personality, body language, ability to look you in the eye. This can be hard though as people want to look at the speaker on the screen and if they do this, they cannot look at the camera – this is probably the biggest pitfall of the process. Conversely, your body language will speak to the candidate as well.

6. As with traditional interviews, have your list of questions ready and organized.

7. Be prepared to describe your company’s physical layout and location, perhaps even size of offices, cubicles, loft or not, elevator or stair access, windows – all things candidates having on site interviews will be exposed to.

Whichever platform is chosen, the interview process using video may not differ substantially from a more traditional process. It is still the candidate on one side, the potential employer on the other, either singly or as a group.

Note that 80% of major US employers (100 – 10,000 employees) take advantage of live video interviews somewhere in the hiring process. One assumes similar statistics for Canadian companies.

Interestingly, some employers will choose to use software whereby they can email the candidate a link to a series of questions they must answer by video. Then the hiring manager or HR specialist can review their answers when convenient – either all candidates at once, of separately. There are a variety of such applications, – Again, see capterra – where candidates can be prescreened via pre-recorded video interviews.

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