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How to host a professional job interview via video from home

By March 19, 2020September 14th, 2020No Comments
How to conduct a video job interview during corona outbreak

Recruitment is pretty tricky right now, what with everyone working from home and social distancing being so important. Many employers have put a stop on hiring, but some understand Corona will pass and they need to recruit now to seize opportunities when things get back to normal. But as a recruiter, HR representative or line manager, how do you hire successfully – and professionally – when you’re interviewing a candidate via a Skype, Zoom or video call from your home?

Here’s seven tips to conduct a thorough job interview via video call from your home:

1. Create a professional space

At the office, this isn’t a problem, you’ll have rooms dedicated to focusing on work. But at home, it can be hard to find a professional space. Start by creating a neutral area for your video call. Find a well-lit place to sit with a blank wall behind you, remove any visual distractions for the interviewee and minimise background noise. Skype and Microsoft Teams have a ‘blur background’ option, consider using that.

Turn off the TV and radio, distract the kids with something and keep pets safely shut in another room. Consider using headphones, close other pieces of software and turn off notifications on your computer, including email. 

2. Test equipment and be early

You know how tech plays up, even in the office, so expect the same to happen at home. Be twenty minutes early to your professional space, ensure you’re logged-in, the video call invite has been sent and your camera and microphone work. Run a test call to a colleague five minutes before the interview. This process will also relax you as the interviewer, particularly useful as you’ll be in an unfamiliar environment conducting the interview.

3. Make notes with a pen

Typing can sound very loud on a video call and may distract the interviewee, leading to an inefficient interview and frustration on both sides. Use a pen and paper instead. It’s quiet, allows the candidate to get into their flow and still ensures you capture all of the relevant information.

4. Help your candidates prepare for the interview

Although video interviews are nothing new for candidates, completing a whole interview process online definitely will be. You should help them feel at ease and be their best by sharing advice before each stage. This could include the interview process, guidance on preparing a professional space and your hiring timeline during the outbreak.

5. Get your angles right

Once you have your professional space in your home, make sure you position your camera or laptop level with your eyes, so you’re not looking down at it. Ensure your upper torso is visible, including your hands for full expression. And remember to look at the camera when you speak, not at the screen – there’s not much difference on a laptop, but as in a face-to-face interview: strong eye contact is important.

If you’re interviewing via Zoom, here’s some call tips. Some for Skype. And Microsoft Teams.

6. Have their phone number ready

The quality of a video call can be less than perfect, and sketchy audio or video is not what you want when conducting an interview. It’s best to have 100% audio than struggle through a poor connection, so have your candidate’s phone number ready to pick up the interview if the video call fails.

7. Record the interview

Recording the interview has two key benefits:

1. You can play back the interview when you’re not in ‘interviewer mode’ (focused on the next question), allowing you to relax and absorb all of the candidate’s answers fully.

2. If there are a number of busy decision-makers involved, you can send them the interview to watch at their convenience.

Just remember to get the interviewee’s permission ahead of the call and remind them at the start that the interview is being recorded. You’ll also need to ensure the file is kept secure, adhering to all relevant data laws.

Bonus tip: Factor in longer decisions

As key stakeholders will be at home rather than together in the office, bear in mind that it may be more difficult to get sign-off after each stage of the interview process, as well as the final go-ahead to hire. Factor this in to the timeline before sharing it with the candidate and ensure line-managers are aware of the potential delay, so they can plan projects accordingly. 

You can still hire with confidence

It’s not impossible to conduct thorough video interviews and find great candidates during the Corona outbreak. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to interview candidates in a professional way. You’ll ensure that the right person is hired, even if you can’t actually meet them face-to-face. Whatever your recruitment strategy its during this time, good luck with it and we’re here if you need any support or advice.

Bert Veerman

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