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Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, video interviews have become an easy way to evaluate a candidate before meeting them in person. And if you’re advertising a remote job, a video interview may be your only way to determine if an individual is the right fit for your organization.
While a video interview can be a fine substitute for an in-person or phone interview, it still needs to be as professional as possible. That means caring about the set-up to ensure the best experience for both parties.
Read below to see best practices for conducting video interviews and how to ensure your company is set up for success.
How to Set Up a Video Interview
No matter how many video conference calls you’ve been on, you should still pay attention to your set-up with the interview. Here are the most important things to keep in mind:
Ensure proper lighting
For the best lighting, you should have a window facing you, not behind you. The window behind you creates a backlight, which results in harsh shadows.
If you’re in a room with no outside lighting or are interviewing when it’s already dark outside, you can also compensate with a ring light behind your computer screen. There are many affordable ring lights available online, and a decent one will run you between $20 and $50. Plus, you’ll be able to use them for any video meeting you have, not just an interview.
Get the Framing Right
Framing is key to making sure you can be properly seen by the job candidate. Ideally, try to be in the center of the camera.
Also, instead of looking at the screen, practice looking at the camera. This will create eye contact between you and the subject, so they’ll feel more comfortable and engaged. It can be hard to remember this, so consider putting a post-it reminder near your webcam.
Whatever you do, it’s always a good idea to turn off self-view so you won’t be distracted by yourself.
Put Your Phone on Silent
If you’re like most people, you keep your phone near you while you’re working. And while those Slack notifications and text messages roll in, the sound can distract you from what the interviewee is saying.
Put your phone on “do not disturb” mode during the interview and turn it face down so you won’t see incoming notifications. This will ensure that you’re less likely to miss an answer during the interview. Some people will even turn their phones off during the interview just to verify that they won’t get distracted.
Also, if you have notifications on your computer, try to mute those during the interview. You can also set your status as “do not disturb” or “away” so people are less likely to message you.
Open the Video Software Beforehand
How many times have you opened any kind of software just to discover that it needs to be updated? A few hours before the interview, open whatever software you’re using and ensure that it’s completely updated.
If you’re not sure whose device you’re using for the interview, ask your colleagues if they will also double-check that everything is updated.
Test Audio and Video Beforehand
If you’re switching up your setup, make sure to test everything before you conduct a video interview.
Remember, the candidate may be hesitant to share if they’re having trouble hearing you so do this internally before the interview. Try this with a couple of people on different computers to ensure that you can be easily heard and seen.
Figure Out How to Deal with Multiple People
If there are multiple people on the hiring panel, you should coordinate how to handle the interview. Everyone should have an idea of who is asking which questions and whether follow-up questions will be asked immediately or at the end of the predetermined questions.
You should also discuss who will be responsible for answering any questions that the candidate has. If there have been recent interviews, you can go over that process and see what could have been improved.
Choose a Quiet Space
One of the most important things to keep in mind when conducting a professional job interview is that sound travels —more than you might think.
In fact, any sound you can hear can usually be heard by the other person. You should try to mitigate noise as much as possible.
For example, if there is construction outside, try to schedule the interview when the crew is on break. If you’re at home doing a job interview, put your dog away so they don’t distract you.
If you’re in a noisy spot, make sure to bring this up before the interview. This way, the candidate can prepare by having headphones or being in a quieter spot than they normally would.
If you have predefined questions, you can type them in the chat as well as asking them aloud to the candidate. This can save you from having to repeat yourself if there is a lot of outside noise.
Also, be sure to use the mute button if you’re in a loud area. This will give the interviewee a break from the noise while they’re trying to formulate their thoughts.
Charge Your Laptop
If you’re using a laptop to conduct a video interview, make sure it’s charged beforehand. You can also keep it plugged in during the interview just to ensure that you don’t run out of power.
Join the Call Early
Even though most of us have been doing video calls for years now, it’s still common to encounter a hiccup. One way to mitigate this is to join the call early and make sure everything is running smoothly. This will give you time in case your computer or webcam aren’t connecting properly to your device.
Plus, you’ll be ready to admit the candidate once they log in. Remember, anything you can to ensure the session runs smoothly will result in the best interview for both parties.