Video Interviewing – Tips and techniques


In the US more than six out of 10 HR managers now use video to interview job applicants, according to a survey and according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) a growing number of UK firms are adopting a similar approach.

As a remote and fairly non-personable way of assessing competence you’d be right to ask WHY. Well, the main reason is obvious. It’s much cheaper to do it this way. As hiring becomes more global for candidates and employers, video interviews can be much more cost-effective.

In 2012 a survey of employers in the UK spent an average of 10 working days interviewing, 16% of the working week travelling to meet candidates and £3,286 reimbursing candidates’ travel expenses. For large firms with international graduate schemes, the savings can be significant. Sellafield’s graduate scheme cited cost savings of £14,000 using video technology to screen interview candidates.

On both sides of the screen it can be a nervous process but made easier if you follow the following tips and strategies.

What are the differences?

When interviewing via video employers may not be able to pick up on certain things that are apparent during face-to-face meetings. For example, there isn’t a way to shake the applicant’s hand or get a full sense of his or her body language.

Dress the part

Dress for success: Interviewers may think they’re only visible from the waist up during video interviews, but you should always dress appropriately from head to toe. And be mindful of the background that’s within view. Lighting and windows can cast shadows. You also want to make sure there isn’t anything distracting or inappropriate in the background.

Alternatively, interviewers may also draw some conclusions about a interviewee based on how that person is dressed or what is visible in his or her background. Red flags may be raised if someone isn’t dressed professionally or has questionable items in their recording space.

Manage your visual and vocal image

Check your eye contact: It’s tempting to check yourself out on the screen during video interviews, but remember to look at the camera instead so it appears you’re talking directly to the individual. And don’t forget to speak confidently and clearly into the microphone.

Pre-interview checks

Test your voice/microphone prior to the call if you can. If you can record a practice call try to view your body language too, and tone of your voice to see how you present yourself. This is the impression the interviewee will get.

Because there is so much concern on technology preparation prior to a video interview one thing that is often overlooked in preparation for a video interview is how to conduct the actual interview – asking the questions and focusing on getting to know the interviewee, which is different when done via video technology.

Always be professional

Don’t allow a remote interview to cause you to relax in the way you conduct the interview. Conduct this interview with the same level of professionalism and importance as you would a face-to-face interview. The interviewee may already have concerns of being at a disadvantage due to conducting a remote interview as opposed to a face-to-face interview.

Attempt to put those concerns to rest by showing the interviewee that you are taking this interview seriously.

  • Dress professionally
  • Explain the structure of the interview
  • Outline what will happen after the interview has ended.
  • Be approachable in your facial expressions. It’s this area of body language the interviewee will focus on most.
  • Listen actively to the interviewee and respond positively to their answers and comments
  • Remove yourself from any distractions – most face-to-face interviews are conducted in a conference room, consider doing the same for your remote interview.
  • Remember to smile: Put the interviewee at ease by smiling early and often. The smile is the international symbol of welcome and confidence.
  • Remember, the interview process is a two way street. You’re interviewing the interviewee with the intent of making a hiring decision. The interviewee is also interviewing you with the intent of making an employment decision.
  • Have the interviewee leave with a positive experience.
  • At the close of the interview, let the interviewee know the next steps – this should be part of your goodbye.

Leaving a interviewee hanging is just another notch in the interviewee experience coffin. Always remember good interviewees can pick and choose employers as well…