Video Interviews: Be Your Best on Both Sides of the Camera
For both candidates and recruiters, using videoconferencing as a recruitment tool can save time and money. Yet while video interviews can offer a high level of convenience, they do require a certain amount of preparation and online etiquette.
More and more recruiters are using video interviews as one of the steps in the selection process (following resume review and initial phone screenings). Video interviews can produce more valuable interviewer-candidate engagement than phone interviews. And they can help to hone in on the top candidates to bring in for in-person meetings, saving travel costs that often include pricey airfare and hotels.
Readily-available technology is making video interviewing cost-effective for even small organizations. If you both have Apple devices, FaceTime is an easy option. Gmail users can opt for Google Chat. Skype can also be used. If you subscribe to a conference software like GoToMeeting, interviewers can even record it for others in the organization to review later.
One note of caution for interviewers: the informality of the technology may lull you into forgetting about EEOC guidelines on pre-employment inquiries. It’s always best to stick to a prepared script of questions so that you don’t ask anything that could be out of compliance.
As for candidates: do your homework prior to the interview. Carefully read through any documents that have been sent to you and review the organization’s website. Preparing a list of questions in advance says a lot about your interest level and your work style.
Here are my top five Video Interviewing tips (for both the interviewer and candidate).
1. Dress the Part
Dress as if this is an in-person interview. Nice shirt or blouse, even a suit coat and a tie if that is appropriate for the culture of the organization. Makeup and non-flashy jewelry help to create a polished image. Straighten your hair. Brush your teeth. Look sharp.
2. Frame Yourself
Find a clean, quiet location for the interview. Look behind you to see what will be visible as your backdrop. Ideally, it should be a bookcase, or a nondescript photo or painting. You don’t want anything to distract from your face. And check the lighting. Add a desk lamp if the space seems a bit dark.
3. Test Your Equipment
It can be awfully stressful to try to join a video interview only to find that the connection doesn’t work. If you’ve set up or been given a conference software login, try it 5-10 minutes in advance to make sure you don’t have to download anything. To be on the safe side, exchange cell phone numbers and email addresses ahead of time so you’ve got an alternate way of connecting if the technology fails. As search consultants, we’ve had our share of experiences where we’ve had to switch to iPhone FaceTime when laptops or iPads have not cooperated with candidates. Simply be flexible. Acknowledge the problem, and if you both have audio but no video, just carry on.
4. Considerations for Your Pets
We all understand that dogs can bark without notice. So if you are at home and have a dog, inform the interviewer (or candidate) upfront at the start of the meeting. If barking erupts, it will provide a little comic relief rather than discomfort. That said, you might consider scooting your pets out of the room during the interview. A cat walking across a keyboard is not as uncommon of an occurrence as you might think!
5. Take Notes, But Don’t Lose Eye Contact
You’ll want to have a pad of paper and pen nearby to take notes as needed. If that’s a bit old-school, then use a tablet with a silent keyboard. It’s hard to talk over the sound of clicking keystrokes. Just make sure you maintain good eye contact with the person on the other side of the screen. That’s why the two of you are on the video interview in the first place.
Kris McFeely is Executive Search Consultant at Campbell & Company. Kris McFeely has decades of experience in executive search and works with the Campbell & Company’s Executive Search team to find talented individuals that can make an impact on an organization’s mission for years to come.