Tips for conducting successful video interviews

Posted 04/02/20 Team Vaco

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you know that developing a strong company culture and fostering healthy work relationships are a big deal around here. So, naturally, we’ve been busy connecting — virtually — with Vaconians across the globe to find out how they’ve been supporting their clients and communities.

As a result, we’ve learned a lot about what Vaco and Vaco’s companies have been doing to support their clients during this outbreak. From our Working From Home (WFH) Wellness series to online coffee (and cocktail) hours to delivery dinner parties, one thing is certain: social distancing can’t stop the Vaco Nation’s commitment to our community. 

While we’re 100% behind mindfulness and meditation, in this article, we’re going to share a few of our favorite video conferencing applications and some top tips for conducting a successful video interview.

Back in January — which, let’s be honest, feels like a lifetime ago — we wrote a blog for candidates called “tips to ace your next video job interview.” After chatting with our consultants, however, we realized that it’s just as important for our clients — and anyone who’s hiring right now — to embrace technology and prepare for successful remote video interviews or meetings. Corporate giants, like Microsoft, have already shifted to virtual interviews. We expect more to follow. Are you ready?

Top Video Conferencing Platforms and Applications

Remember when working from home was a luxury? Now that remote work is a near necessity, it’s important to know your way around a few of the most popular video conferencing applications so you can focus on getting the most out of interviewing candidates or meeting with your stakeholders.

In a recent Q&A, Kim Wainwright, managing director of Vaco’s Direct Hire Practice, noted, “We’re all working remotely and we’re getting more and more creative every day. We’re changing how we serve our clients and our candidates. We are working with clients to arrange Teams, Skype, and Zoom interviews on their behalf. Clients are busier than ever with running their business processes and adapting — this is one more item we can take off their plates. And it’s working! We all have a strong ‘You can do it!’ attitude and we’re seeing incredible flexibility.” 

Here are a few video conferencing platforms that we’ve been using a lot over the past few weeks:

  • Microsoft Teams: If Microsoft is your go-to work environment, the integration between Teams and the Office 365 stack is hard to beat. 
  • Skype for Business: Microsoft’s popular online service, Skype, is an enterprise-ready video conferencing tool. It allows up to 250 attendees in a meeting, connection with other Skype users, and virtual whiteboarding capabilities.
  • Zoom: Zoom is booming. The platform has become one of the most popular video conferencing solutions for businesses as we navigate our new normal. The user interface is attractive and it’s super easy to use. Unlike some other platforms, it also allows anyone with a link to the meeting to attend, without having to establish a user account — which can be useful when you’re not sure about the technical capabilities of the people you’re meeting. 
  • Google Meet: Google Hangouts is great for video calling friends and family but Google Meet’s polished interface and rich line-up of features were created with enterprise customers in mind.
  • GoToMeeting: GoToMeeting is also a great web conferencing platform and if you’re conducting an international interview or meeting, GoToMeeting offers over toll-free numbers for dozens of countries. 

How to prepare for conducting a successful video interview

Whether or not your team has video interviewing experience, these tips from our team to yours will help you get the most out of your time in front of the camera! 

Make a plan

In times of change and uncertainty, our go-to response is to over-communicate. Before you hop into the interview, put a plan together with your hiring team. You’ll want to consider questions like these:

  • How has the interview process changed now that it’s being conducted remotely?
  • Who needs to be in on the interview?
  • Do we need to create a presentation to share on-screen?
  • How has the job description changed over the past few weeks?
  • Are there assessments that the candidate should complete before the interview?
  • What’s our backup plan?
  • How are we going to share feedback internally?
  • What can we do to minimize miscommunication?

Get Tech-Savvy

Unless you’re already familiar with a particular virtual meeting platform, we recommend taking a couple of different platforms out for a spin. Holding test “interviews” with your team will help ensure that everyone knows how to use the platform’s features — we’re thinking about muting, chatting, and screen sharing, in particular!

You’ll want to make sure that your candidate has the information and log-in credentials they need before the interview.

Prepare your candidates

We’ve quickly discovered that video interviews can be just as effective as in-person interviews. Plus, they make it even easier to coordinate schedules and loop in team members from all over the country!

Still, you’ll want to prepare your candidate as you would for a traditional interview. Let them know who will be joining the video interview and how they can join the meeting. 

Prepare your space (or your virtual background) 

Prepare your space — and encourage anyone else who will be joining you  to do the same — for the interview. Find a quiet, clutter-free, and well-lit room for the interview. Or, set up your virtual background and ban the kids and pets from the room for the duration of the interview. If possible, run an audio and video test to make sure both are clear.

Be interview-ready

We’re not going to spend a ton of time on this one because these tips are pretty standard!

  • Treat a video interview as seriously as you would if you were interviewing a candidate in-person.
  • Be mindful of your body language; nod, be engaged, and don’t forget to smile!
  • Be compassionate and forgiving. If the candidate’s dog interrupts, give them a free pass. These are crazy times. 
  • Speak to the camera, not the screen.
  • Dress appropriately; even if you’re not in the office, professionalism matters.
  • Talk about your company culture! They can’t see it, so you’ll want to emphasize your mission or core tenets.
  • Ask the same questions you’d ask in an in-person interview.
  • Take notes! But be sure to let the candidate know what you’re doing so they know you’re still paying attention.
  • Have a backup plan. Cloud usage is rocketing and connections may be tenuous. Agree to a phone call or maybe even a pre-recorded interview.

Get feedback

The odds are pretty good that even if this is your first time leading a video interview, it won’t be your last. Send a quick thank you note to your candidate — yes, we’re flipping the script on this one — and ask them to complete a feedback survey. Ask them how the platform worked for them, how they felt the conversation went, and if there’s anything you can do to improve the process.

You’ll gain valuable insights into your process and you’ll have another chance to see how responsive and thoughtful the candidate is! 

Need some help finding the right talent or getting ready for your first video interview? Either way, Vaco can help. Contact Vaco today.