2020 has been a year of a lot of learning and unlearning. Working remotely used to be a luxury extended to a handful of experienced employees until the advent of COVID-19. Since March 2019, many offices have made the shift to remote offices, and 73% of executives are of the opinion that it was a success. This means, remote workplaces are going to stick around, even after the pandemic is long gone.
This puts recruiters in a unique predicament, as a major chunk of their role involves proactively searching for promising candidates and building relationships. With face-to-face meetings out of the question, the next best thing recruiters can settle for is a video interview.
It’s not like video interviews were never a part of the recruitment process before the pandemic. But adopting a completely remote recruitment strategy is a whole different story. Though the fundamentals of interviewing remain the same in both the processes, there are many nuances recruiters need to familiarize themselves with before conducting video interviews.
This article will guide recruiters to set up an uninterrupted video interview process for the long term. The information has been split into four broad categories for easy navigation:
- The 2 Types of Video Interviews
- Top 5 Video Interview Platforms
- Top 5 Top Technical Tips to Keep in Mind
- Top 8 Etiquette Tips to Keep in Mind
The 2 Types of Video Interviews
Apart from aiding communication and collaboration in the face of social distancing, video conferencing is an inventive way to reach out to passive candidates.
Applicants may be reluctant to attend an interview due to various reasons:
- They are in a different time zone or location.
- The thought of going to a new office or meeting new people unsettles them.
- They are already employed and cannot take a day off to attend the interview.
- They are juggling multiple jobs and their window of availability is small.
Whatever the challenge may be, video interviews enable recruiters to communicate with the candidates and assess them without having to meet in person. When used during the early hiring stages, these digital interviews can help identify whether a candidate is worth spending time and effort on.
Companies and recruiters primarily use two types of video interviews for remote hiring:
1. Two-Way Video Interviews
A video interview is two-way when both the parties log in to the same video call and are in sync with each other in real-time.
2. One-Way Video Interviews
Also known as a recorded video interview, this one is asynchronous in nature. The interviewer records or shares a list of the questions they have for the candidate and the candidate, in turn, records and submits their answers through a video interview platform.
Video applications are also trending these days, where the candidates are asked to record a short self-introduction or showcase their skills.
Top 5 Video Interview Platforms
Next, let’s move on to the best platforms recruiters can use for a seamless video interview experience. Selecting a hassle-free and user-friendly interview platform is necessary as the candidate might be using it for the first time. Here’s a list of the top 5 video platforms that are both feasible and functional.
- Zoom — The Zoom platform hit the top of the charts in 2020 with almost 200 million people using it on a daily basis as opposed to the 10 million users in December 2019. Its top features include messaging, video conferencing, and conducting webinars. Zoom’s operating system is smooth and poses little to no technical difficulties for first-time users.
- Google Meet — This is yet another digital interview platform that recruiters and candidates can use for free. Hangouts Meet also has its iOS and Androids apps, which allow candidates to attend the interview on their phones or tablets (though doing so is not recommended).
- Microsoft Teams — Microsoft Teams allows interviewers to conduct and transcribe interviews anywhere, anytime. Its paid version allows for video conferencing between up to 10,000 participants. As the Teams browser version is available for free, candidates can easily use it during interviews without having to install it.
- Skype — Skype has been in the video conferencing scene for a long time, though it’s seldom used for team meetings nowadays. Its best feature is that it allows users to make calls to any telephone across the world. Apart from this, it has other features like call recording, screen sharing, and messaging, making it an ideal remote video interview tool.
- Cisco Webex Meetings — Cisco Webex is an online conferencing tool that’s known for its HD video quality and user-friendly features like screen sharing, private messaging, and automated transcriptions. In light of the growing demand for remote work tools, Cisco is offering Webex for free currently.
5 Other Niche Video Interview Software
Here’s a list of 5 more core interview tools that are popular on the digital front:
- XOR Review.
Top 5 Technical Tips to Keep in Mind
Here are a few technical tips recruiters should keep in mind when conducting a digital interview.
1. Set Up an Official Interview Process
Before going ahead with video interviews, recruiters should set up a standard online recruitment process for the organization and share it with their colleagues and superiors. If multiple recruiters follow different interview processes, it could lead to chaos and dysfunction.
Here’s an example of how this can be planned:
- Decide on the official communication channel.
- Figure out how many rounds of interviews there will be.
- Make a list of the interviewers from each department/team.
- Prepare job descriptions for each profile.
- Collate specific interview questions for each role.
- Set up an official interview platform.
- Communicate to the candidates that the recruitment process would be 100% remote.
2. Share Written Instructions in Advance
Every communication should happen through the official channels.
Give clear written instructions to the candidates regarding:
- Job descriptions and responsibilities.
- The date and time of the interview.
- The steps to be followed to connect to the interview platform.
- The number of interviewers to be present along with their designations.
- If it’s a one-sided interview, then how to record a video interview.
3. Perform a Test Run
Technology can never be trusted 100%. Ensure that everything is functioning seamlessly. It would reflect poorly upon the organization if the recruiter is unable to connect with the candidate or does not know how to operate the interview tool.
- Double-check the internet connection and battery level.
- Test the webcam and microphone.
- Install the interview tool, try logging in, take it for a spin.
- If the interview is one-way, replay the recorded interview questions to check for clarity, and audio quality.
4. Record the Interviews
It’s always a wise decision to record the interviews as it gives the recruiter a chance to revisit them and reassess the candidate.
Mannerisms or responses that may get overlooked at first glance can be identified and analyzed with recorded interviews.
5. Have a Plan B
In case things don’t go as planned, the recruiter should always have a backup plan ready. Keep another video interview tool installed. Save the candidate’s contact details in case they need to be informed about a last-minute change of plans.
Hold on to a list of substitute interviewers, if someone from the original panel is unable to make it to the interview. Also, have a few out-of-the-box questions prepared, in case the candidate seems promising and requires to be analyzed at a deeper level.
Top 8 Etiquette Tips to Keep in Mind
1. Choose Interview Space Wisely
Though most of the interview tools provide the option to blur the participants’ background, pick a quiet, well-lit space when conducting the interview.
Constant background noise or movements could distract the candidates or make them feel uncomfortable.
- Keep the phone in silent mode.
- Mute chat/mail notifications.
- Close windows and doors to avoid background noise.
- Stay muted when not speaking.
- Declutter the workspace.
- Set out a bottle of water nearby.
- Close all the unnecessary tabs that are open.
- Make sure nothing is playing or being downloaded in the background.
2. Dress for the Occasion
Just because the interview is happening remotely does not mean it isn’t official.
Recruiters should not forget that they are representing the whole organization when talking to the candidates:
- Dress professionally — a collared T-shirt, blouse, or sweater is perfectly acceptable
- Avoid T-shirts with slogans, sleeveless attire, sweatpants, and hoodies
- Make sure the hair is neat and not falling into the eyes
- Be fully dressed — just because the bottom half is not visible does not mean pajamas are okay.
3. Make Proper Introductions
Don’t forget to introduce the candidate to all the members of the interview panel. Give a short brief of the organization’s history so that the applicant has an idea of what to look forward to.
4. Highlight the Organization Values
The candidate might not get a holistic grasp of the company’s core values and principles by just checking out the website. What the recruiter has to say about the organization makes a huge impact on the candidate’s first impression of the company, so, make sure to prepare notes on the points to be emphasized:
- Stress the core values.
- Discuss the mission and vision.
- Help the aspirant visualize the big picture for the company.
5. Put the Candidates at Ease
Whether face-to-face or online, interviews can be truly unnerving. Recruiters should try their best to put the candidates at ease for a better interview experience. Remember that the candidate is clueless about the preferences of the interviewers or the policies of the organization. Give them a push in the right direction so they can give their best:
- Respond with a positive affirmation.
- Keep the interview questions relatable.
- Share expectations and timelines.
- Talk about team outings and fun activities.
- Share funny anecdotes about the teammates.
- Give tips about how to make an impression on the interviewers.
- Discuss the best practices they can follow during the test round.
6. Be Professional and Personable as If on an Onsite Interview
Though it may sound obvious, this is something recruiters should never forget. The applicant should get a clear signal that every bit of the video interview is as crucial as an in-person meeting:
- Maintain eye contact.
- Remember to smile.
- Listen actively and respond at appropriate intervals.
- Be articulate and keep the sentences short and crisp.
- Never interrupt the candidate while speaking.
- Takedown notes about their strengths, weaknesses, and X factors.
- Ask questions pertinent to the role they have applied for.
- Be mindful that the candidate may be nervous.
- Forgive minor slip-ups.
7. Watch out for Fake Candidates
As more companies are opting for 100% remote recruitment, fake candidates are turning out to be a real threat. A candidate who looks good on paper and performs well during the video interview could easily infiltrate the company, only to be exposed within the first few weeks into their new role.
This could cost the organization a lot of money, time, and effort. Here are some red flags that could warn the recruiters early:
- See if their lips sync with their voice.
- Check if their eyes keep moving above the screen level as if looking at someone in the room who is helping them.
- Keep an eye on their earphones to make sure a proxy interviewer is not feeding them the answers.
- Ask the candidate to share their screen if something seems off.
8. Close the Loop
Whether the candidate has been selected or not, try to follow up. Close the loop so they don’t have to sit around waiting for a call. Give constructive feedback that will help them address their weaknesses and crack the next interview.
Video Interviews: The Future of Recruitment Process
While video interviews may not give recruiters the satisfaction of a traditional candidate selection process, there are many areas in which online interviews are favorable, to both the interviewers and the candidates.
With logistics out of the question, remote recruiting opens up a whole new world of opportunities and possibilities — while the applicants can chase their dream job without being concerned about shifting to a new location or traveling daily, the recruiters have the luxury of picking the best performers from an elite talent pool spread across the world.
Embrace this change, evolve with it, and take full advantage of it.
Because, like it or not, remote recruitment is here to stay.