No wonder that during the COVID-19 pandemic, when a lot of companies have sent their entire workforce remote, a lot of employers have to align their hiring process too. And that includes conducting interviews online via video calls instead of interviewing in-person. As we have heard the question about the best ways to lead the interview via video call several times, we’ve decided to share 5 tips from our video interview experience that spans several years. To find general tips on conduction a tech interview, click here.
Preparation is the key
It goes without saying that you should be prepared for the interview. When conducting a remote interview, there are some technical issues that come into play.
Make sure that you are familiar with the technology in advance. Additionally, be sure to check that your computer’s audio is working, test your webcam, and ensure that your internet connection is stable and that the device is fully charged.
Even though tech professionals are usually quite familiar with different conferencing platforms, be it Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, or any other, you still need to make sure the candidate knows how to use the platform before the interview. In case it’s something new for him/her, provide step-by-step instructions for accessing the platform, so the candidate can seamlessly connect to the interview. If one needs to share his screen (as it often happens with technical tasks), you should send clear instructions for that too. This information should be sent at least 3 days before the interview.
It’s always a good idea to give the candidate a backup phone number in case anything goes wrong and one of you experience any problems connecting to the video call.
Set up space to conduct a video interview
We understand that during these times you might not be in a traditional office setting, but the appropriate scene is still important. Your space should be well-lit, environment behind you - professional. Don’t put the window behind your back, because in this way you’ll show up quite dark on the screen. A good idea might be to actually take a picture of what the other person would see when they are looking through your computer’s camera. Remember - you’re representing your company.
Try to control background noise
This is another important aspect. Try to avoid all the background noises, as they might disturb communication in a big way. It could be done easier at the office, but when you’re at home there’re just some cases where it’s impossible. For example, your neighbor might decide to mow the lawn, or your dog might feel like it is the right time for some good barking. Our advice for such situations - acknowledge this write from the start of the interview and inform your discussion partner. In that way, it will look like you are in control of the process and the candidate won’t feel awkward.
Conduct yourself as you would in person
The important thing to understand - there shouldn’t be much difference in how you would conduct a video interview versus one that’s face-to-face. Dress appropriately (even if it’s just the top half). Do show that you are engaged - smile, nod, and so on. One of the important details is eye contact. If you want to make it, look directly into the web camera, instead ay the candidate on your screen.
Pauses and confirmation sounds are important
We have noticed that the communication process differs a bit when using video calls. For example, not all subtle gestures do translate to the camera. We recommend pausing to make sure that the candidate has finished his response before moving on. Also, it’s a good practice to make some confirmation sounds (like “yes”, “aha”, “right” etc) now and then, so the person at the other end would know that you can hear what he or she is telling.