You’ve most likely heard some of the video interview ‘horror stories’ doing the rounds at the moment. Like the time a candidate was unable to answer a question and they cut short the interview citing ‘internet issues’.

Then there’s the time they revealed their not-so-formal interview outfit when the doorbell rang – pajama bottoms, really? And let’s not forget the person who signed in, forgetting they were still sporting the same Zoom background they had set for a hen party at the weekend. Oops.

Here are our top tips for hiring managers on how to conduct a successful two-way video interview:

  1. What is a video interview?
  2. Additional anxiety for candidates
  3. ‘What to expect’ and ‘what happens next’
  4. Act as you would in a traditional setting

As we recruiters navigate new technologies, designed to help us automate and provide a seamless candidate experience, there’s always going to be a few cases where it doesn’t quite go to plan. It’s a people business after all.

I’m going to share with you some of the tips we’ve seen work really well. As one of the leading call centre recruitment agencies in south Wales we’re so lucky to partner with growing software and fintech contact centres. These tips are all based on real experiences and will impact your candidates, we promise.

1. What is a video interview?

Two-way video interviews are the most common interview types where you (the interviewer) and the candidate will both log-in and conduct the interview as you would in a face to face setting. There’s no recording and it is synchronous.

Video interviews are great. I truly believe that they’ve played a crucial role in keeping recruitment going, especially through the pandemic. But it’s all too easy to forget that with running an interview this way, comes a new level of pressure we are putting on both ourselves and candidates.

I’m not going to promote the benefits of video interviews, you get it. You get that they’re great when looking to interview for a volume-based recruitment drive. You understand that they’re an effective way to meet potential candidates at scale.

But all this aside, let’s not forget that as soon as you introduce technology to any part of the recruitment process, there are some things that get missed. Aspects that may impact your candidate experience.

2. Additional anxiety for candidates

It’s easy to forget, but by adding in a video element to the interview process, you’re adding another level, or another ‘thing’ for your candidates to deal with. Whilst many may take video interviews in their stride, for others, they can provide an additional source of anxiety.

“What happens if my internet goes down?”

“What happens if the data on my phone runs out?”

“What happens if my housemate comes barging in?”

Understanding the context your candidates are operating in should help you guide how and what you communicate to candidates when conducting video interviews.

3. ‘What to expect’ and ‘what happens next’

Let them know the process, but go even further and plan for all eventualities. When inviting a candidate for a video interview, ensure you set their expectations.

On the most basic level this typically looks like an email with an outline of when the interview is, and a link to the platform that they’ll be required to use. But those employers who get that a video interview requires a different mindset go one step further in their conduct.

Here are some nice touches we’ve seen:

– In the invitation email, include everyone who will be on the call and their LinkedIn details.

– Include your telephone number / contact details should the internet drop.

– Sending a test link so that the candidate can try out the platform and its settings beforehand.

– Putting their mind at ease and being realistic if an unexpected distraction occurs.

4. Act as you would in a traditional setting

You’re not going to get the chance to meet them in reception and engage in small talk before showing them to the room. So you’re going to need to find new ways to put them at ease.

Body language in video interviews is a tricky one. You’re relying on the actions of just someone’s head and shoulders. Just nodding and guiding the conversation doesn’t cut it.

Try over-exaggerating some of your actions to communicate what you’re thinking. More pronounced nodding, bigger smiles, eye contact are all on the table. I’m not suggesting you go all out and scare the interviewee – not at all – but take note that a lot of what makes a face-to-face interview gets lost in an online interview.

These are just a few ways to get you thinking about the mindset your candidate may have when going into a video interview, and what you can do as an interviewer to conduct yourself and the interview to ensure the right experience that supports your employer brand. It all feeds into the bigger picture when you think about it.

If you’re keen to learn more about different interview styles, check out my latest article on values-based interviews or get in touch.