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Interviewing candidates via video instead of going the strictly traditional route of in-person interviews can be a different ballgame for hiring teams who are not used to the process. If you are preparing interview questions for video interviews, know that video interviews and in-person interviews have only a few major differences and otherwise are performed using largely the same principles. Researching some video interview tips and tailoring your interview process accordingly can be a helpful way of ensuring that your video interviews are meeting the standards of video interviews, capturing candidates in the right way, and providing a comfortable experience for all involved.
Some popular video interview tips that are appropriate for both interviewers and interviewees include:
1. Prepare. This seems like a no-brainer, but preparation is important for both hiring teams and candidates. Like in-person interviews, your preparation or lack of it will be obvious from your role in the video interview. Candidates appreciate preparation and clarity, and hiring managers appreciate polished results and informed answers.
2. Dress right. A video interview may seem like the opportunity to slack off, but dressing properly and looking professional signals to the other person that you are taking this seriously.
3. Watch the background. Make sure that your background is either professional or lacking in distractions.
4. Test your technology. Make sure that there aren’t too many background sounds and that your microphone and speakers are working properly before you get started.
5. Arrive early. It looks more professional if you show up early for the interview if it is live, than if you’re rolling in late with excuses about technology. This is a matter of preparedness.
6. Use facial expressions. In video chat situations, it can be difficult to recognize body language because you are not present in person, so it’s important to use your facial expressions to show your reactions and feelings.
7. Be aware of taking turns speaking and pausing. It may seem strange to have to explain pauses or mention when you’re finished speaking, but it’s important to remember that certain physical cues are limited in video interview situations. It makes everyone more comfortable if participants mention that they are taking notes when they are pausing their speech, or clarify that they are finished speaking so that the next person can take their turn. This is a common video chat courtesy and will reflect positively on you if you use it in a video interview.
8. Make a special point to be conversational. Video interviews can sometimes feel like you’re speaking over walky-talky because of the clunkiness of having to clarify when you’re finished speaking, but you can use certain wording or body language to engage in a more conversational way. This behavior can put everyone at ease.
9. End the interview well. Whether you are a candidate or a hiring manager, you should wrap up the interview with appreciative language. After all, you have both devoted your time and effort to this engagement and should be courteous to each other.
These are some of the most common video interview tips available. As the interviewer or interviewee, it is important to be courteous and friendly as you follow these guidelines. It can also provide an easier scale to determine if the other person has prepared properly when you consider whether or not they are using these video interview tips. If you use interview intelligence software like Pillar’s, you can include cues for yourself and your team to remind you to stick with the structure that you’ve already determined to work best.
What is a pre-recorded video interview? A pre-recorded video interview is a bit different from a live interview as it is performed asynchronously. There are pros and cons to this format. Pre-recorded video interviews can be complicated because the participants are unable to engage directly, making them less personal and more performative. But they can also be helpful because they allow for more preparation and potentially better answers for the candidate. Even if a company asks you to complete a pre-recorded interview, if you do it well, they will likely still ask you to complete a live interview as well later. In short, a pre-recorded interview can eliminate some of the stress of synchronous conversation and give you the opportunity to showcase your knowledge for the hiring team.
If the hiring manager provides the candidate with the questions in advance, it can be helpful to develop a pre-recorded video interview script to ensure that the points are being addressed and the most important information is being shared. If you are a candidate being asked to complete a pre-recorded video interview, you may also want to search for video interview examples to discover how other people are presenting the same kinds of information. This will help to show you the standard for a video interview and potentially raise your own standards for the way you present your answers. You may want to assume that other candidates will be reviewing the same interview tips as you and providing similar high-quality responses. At the very least, you’ll provide the most complete video interview responses and stand out from the rest.
One of the most important aspects of creating a solid pre-recorded video interview script is preparation. Even if you don’t have the exact questions that will be asked, the internet provides a wealth of research for job seekers and can provide you with a wide variety of potential questions that could be asked. Once you find these questions, formulate your answers, and practice answering them verbally, you will find yourself better prepared to do so live (or asynchronously, depending on the format.) A major difference between candidates often boils down to who is prepared and who is not, so if you want to succeed, being prepared is the first step.
If you are the hiring manager preparing for a pre-recorded video interview, you will want to select questions that are best suited for asynchronous responses, or in other words do not need any kind of clarifying remarks to encourage the candidate to answer the questions more thoroughly. Your pre-recorded video interview questions should be direct and ask for a detailed response with examples, as needed so that the candidate is clear from the start about what kinds of information they need to provide. If you are unsure what kinds of questions to ask, or the best format for questions to ask, there are many resources available to help you identify the best pre-recorded video interview questions and answers.
If you’re looking for a list of questions to consider, beyond the specific ones required for your industry and the specific role you’re hiring for, here are some pre-recorded video interview questions and answers examples for you to consider:
- Tell me about yourself. This question can be a great icebreaker or it can be a little nervewracking for the interviewee because it’s so open-ended. Consider rephrasing the question to gain the specific information you’re looking for, such as “tell me about your history in this field” or “tell me about yourself and your interest in this job title.”
- Why are you interested in working for us / taking on this role? This question gives your candidate the opportunity to express their specific desire for the role and showcase just how much research they’ve done about the position and your brand.
- What would you consider to be your greatest accomplishment? This question is a great opportunity for your candidate to share something that is important to them and makes them excited. You will be able to witness their enthusiasm and passion, whether or not their answer is specifically career-related. (In this instance, you may hope or expect it not to be, and perhaps it would be helpful to note your expectations in the wording of the question.)
- Where do you see yourself five years from now? Many employers ask these questions to vet their candidates and determine the longevity of their employees. This can give you the chance to hear exactly what your candidate envisions in their future and determine whether your goals align.
One of the most important aspects of completing successful video interviews is utilizing the video interview platforms that are most suited to your business needs. Finding the right ones will likely require a bit of footwork to ensure that you’re using the one that’s best suited to your industry, needs, and goals. Researching the best video interview platforms will help you prepare for this shift into using video interviews and give you some insight into which platforms perform well or poorly, which platforms have the highest customer satisfaction rating, what features are available and which ones are essential, and more. You may also choose to contact and ask to interview some other hiring teams or HR professionals that you’re acquainted with about the online interview platforms they find the most success with. It can also be valuable to hear about which platforms have given them trouble, and why.
With the prevalence of AI, you may also find value using AI interview software, even if it is in its early stages. Some programs are utilizing AI into their programs, taking some of the extra load off of the human factor. AI may provide different helpful options such as sorting candidates, suggesting questions, calculating the data that you have entered manually, and more. But do your research about AI interview software too because the process is still new enough that there are a lot of copycat programs out there that charge a lot of money but don’t necessarily have the features to sustain the cost. Over time, subpar programs have a way of weeding themselves out and better programs differentiate from the competition.
No matter which program you choose to use for your video interviews, learning the best structure and questions will be the key to improving the quality of your interview process. This may take time and practice initially, but if you utilize Pillar’s interview intelligence software or a similar program, you will be able to add notes about what works and doesn’t work, structure interviews according to best practices and greatest success, and provide cohesive and comprehensive interviews to every candidate.