You are invited to a video interview

Be it via Skype, Google Hangout or the like, video interviews are a great alternative for a first contact to interesting candidates. Compared to telephone interviews, video offers a more personal way to get to know each other. In addition, you don’t have to invite all candidates to personal interviews, which is more resources-efficient. But it’s important to keep in mind that a lot of applicants are still new to video interviews. Even though it’s a widely used tool for private conversations, job hunting via camera needs a different way of preparation.

Me leading a panel discussion with Google Hangouts as an assignment for the course Human Resource Management in the Digital Age – What would you do if a candidate appeared like this?

Here are some ideas on how to support video interview preparation in the recruiting process.

  • As you do for telephone interviews, send out detailed information on what the candidate can expect from both, a content and a technical perspective. Mention joining instructions, equipment and system requirements as well as how to test all settings before the interview starts. Include an “emergency number”, which the candidate can dial in case everything goes wrong. You can also ask the applicant to make sure s/he is set and ready some time in advance. That can be a gentle reminder that a video interview takes more than picking up the phone.
  • Providers often have support sites, FAQs or manuals (see here for Skype, or here for Hangouts). If you provide these links, you skip being asked the questions yourself.
  • You can also provide tips and tricks on how to create a proper light and sound environment for video interviews. What about using a vivid format like a video for this? You don’t even have to create it yourself, there are plenty of off-the-shelf videos available, like this one. Those instructions do not depend on the tool provider, which makes it easier to find high-quality material.
  • Check your own expectations. Besides preparing the candidate, it can be worth to create some training material for your HR colleagues. Is everybody experienced in leading video interviews? Do you know how you appear on a candidate’s screen? What are the options available if technical problems occur? If you switch to a telephone conversation instead, will the candidate get another chance to do a video interview, to treat all applicants fairly? How do you support applicants who struggle during the video interview? How do you react to candidates who sit in a crowded coffee shop or whose glasses are reflecting?
  • Prepare alternatives. Some candidates prefer a simple phone call prior to personal interviews and you should be prepared to react in these situations.

Package everything neatly. The video interview is an important part of the recruiting process. If you embedded it in a coherent communication process, it can result in a positive candidate experience. Be sure to explain the entire process and to argue for the different steps along the way.

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