Although many professional teams continue to work remotely, organizations are returning to business as usual in many ways and hiring is picking up. Those looking to hire in 2021 are facing the reality that video interviewing is here for a bit longer than we hoped—and in-person interviewing is being saved for final stage candidates only.
Over the bulk of the past year, we have learned quite a few lessons (some the hard way) on how to successfully conduct a video interview. And while much of the advice out there is directed at the interviewee looking for a new job, there are a few things the interviewer can do to make the process more seamless:
- Begin a video interview by confirming with the interviewee that he or she can see and hear you—and vice versa. If either side is having technical issues, address them from the start. Some issues may be uncontrollable and it’s best to discuss them early.
- Try to limit distractions. Just as you would expect from your interviewee, set yourself up in a quiet location, turn off your email notifications and put your cell phone on silent. You should give your interviewee your undivided attention and demonstrate to them that they have it.
- Take great efforts to be concise yet informative. Given the format, and the absence of being able to read each other’s body language, long run-on questions or answers are an absolute “no no.” Keep the conversation moving, and we’d advise being even more concise on video than you would be in person.
- Do not alter your interview script just because the format has changed. You should still run through your key questions, such as those gauging the candidate’s interest in the company and assessing personality and cultural fit. Also, ask the questions you normally would about their career and job moves, about their substantive experience and match for the role, their business judgment and demeanor, and how they advise on and resolve certain legal matters within the ambit of this role.
- Look at how the candidate presents him or herself on camera. While these are unprecedented times for everyone (and challenges abound), the interviewee should come to the video call prepared to be interviewed as they would in person. For instance, see how they are dressed. Every company is different, and suits and ties are not common these days. However, at the least, a professional look is recommended for everyone. Also, pay attention to lighting and how well the candidate is centered and sized on the screen. Take note of how distracted they are and try to gauge whether it’s because of the at-home environment or may be a sign of a larger issue.
- Do not feel like you need to “grade a candidate on a curve,” but there is a certain impersonal nature to a video interview and it may be harder to build a rapport than in a traditional, in-person interview. Keep this in mind when coming up with final assessments.
- As always, close the interview with a brief discussion of process (how many more interview rounds are there, if any) and next steps and when the candidate should expect to hear back.
As the interviewer, you set the tone. Treating a video interview as you would an in-person one, but with a few tweaks, will help you better assess the candidates and make all parties feel more comfortable with the process.