Closing Candidates with Great Video Interviews

TSP • @myTSPnet


You have mission-critical roles to fill across the business. The video interview is a critical tool in evaluating candidates for their fit with your business, and for the candidates to judge if this is the right move for them. Interviews are a major time commitment for your HR team and hiring managers. How can you prepare and run engaging video interviews to get the best results?

Make sure your interviewers learn the mechanics of delivering a professional appearance on video interviews. Lighting is key: a warm light source behind your screen, even a ring light setup, gives a complimentary look. Avoid harsh or overly strong light behind you since you’ll be backlit and hard for the candidate to see.

Sit centered to the screen and make sure you are not cut off for example so that the bottom of your face is hidden. It’s always a good idea to test out your video setup a few minutes before the interview to get the look just right.

The focus needs to be on the content of the Q&A with the candidate. It’s important to avoid distractions. Make sure you will have a quiet environment for the call, which sometimes is easier said than done in the remote and hybrid work environment. If you can be in an office environment, that’s optimum, but even at home or on the road try to minimize the noise. Starbucks always has background music, as anyone who has tried to run calls over a coffee there knows.

The visuals also matter. A neutral background, whether it’s a real or a custom image in Zoom or Teams, keeps the focus on you and the candidate. A custom background with your logo is a nice touch. What you wear falls along the same lines — keep it simple and professional and reflect the culture of your organization. Some teams are more formal, some are more casual.

The same approach to sharing documents during a regular internal call or client meeting can be used effectively in engaging better with candidates during an interview. When explaining the strategy and outlook for the business, sharing some high-level slides can help deliver the most compelling points.

Depending on the role, you can use screen sharing during the interview to show the candidates what they’ll be doing, instead of just talking about it. As always, though, make sure you are not over-sharing. Is the content appropriate for an external audience, nothing confidential included and follows cybersecurity guidelines? A candidate is still an external party, and a screen grab takes just one click.

Some companies take a more structured interview approach, such as behavioral interviewing, to ensure a more consistent evaluation across all candidates and interviewers. Other hiring managers take a more informal approach that places a higher value on the interviewer’s impressions of the specific candidate. Either way, it's important to come prepared to efficiently use both your time and the candidate’s time well.

Have a list of key questions and scenario challenges ready, and a rough flow for how you want the conversation to proceed. It's also important to be prepared to answer the candidates’ questions. Are you up to speed on your overall business’s key metrics and the details around your specific function or team? A good candidate has done their homework and should have focused questions ready.

Multitasking is never good during an interview, and video makes it obvious when someone is not giving their full attention to the task at hand. Eye and body motion when someone is typing or reading something else are easy tells.

Make sure you have set aside this time to give full attention to evaluating this candidate. If you prefer to type notes while speaking with a candidate or look at their resume on a second screen, it’s a good idea to say so at the outset of the call so they know you are fully there for this conversation.

Interviews are a major commitment of time and energy on both sides of the table. Some best practices for the video interview will increase the chance of finding and closing great candidates for your roles.

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