Talent Circles

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

5 Tips for Conducting a Video Interview

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

I remember the first time I used my web cam for a meeting via video in 2008.  I was nervous, unsure, and not confident with the technology.  I dressed up from head to toe.  Complete with a pedicure even if my interviewer couldn’t see.  It was hard to stay focused as I spent the entire 30 minutes distracted by my face.  I was uncomfortable looking at the thumbnail of myself on the screen, and I just couldn’t look away.  The interview finished promptly, and honestly, I was relieved.  I didn't get the job, and looking back that was a good thing.  

For companies that are embracing telework or virtual work programs, video has become an efficient way to connect more personally with your audience whether it’s customers, co-workers, or your employees.  Video technology provides companies an opportunity to offer that face-to-face engagement virtually with a substantial travel cost reduction.

Types of Video Interviews: Asynchronous vs. Two Way

For hiring managers and job seekers alike video interviewing is a new frontier.  It’s also a new and sometimes uncomfortable one.  There are two types of interviews: 1) an asynchronous interview and 2) two way interview.  An asynchronous interview is a one-way interview where the job seeker is provided a series of prepared questions.  The answers are video recorded with no two-way engagement with the hiring manager.  The two-way interview involves engagement and conversation between job seeker and the hiring manager.  It is just like a traditional face-to-face interview except it’s happening via video. 

Tips for Hiring Managers When Video Interviewing

For hiring managers who are using two-way video interviewing technology as a candidate selection relationship management tool, it’s important to do the following:

  • ·      Make the Job Seeker Comfortable.  As I mentioned, I was nervous in my interview.  Set their mind at ease by explaining to them the format and interviewing process.  Remind them to smile and act natural, as this may be their first time being interviewed by video. 
  • ·      Shut Off the Technology (except the interview).  Power down your cell phone and silence your email notifications.  Log out of any instant messaging or internal communication tools you may use.  Stay focused on the interviewee free from electronic and in person distractions.  Doing so sends a powerful and polite message to the candidate you are interviewing. 
  • ·      Talk Slowly.  Technology doesn’t always operate at 100%.  If the Internet connection is bad or there is a technical problem, the job seeker might be too polite to tell you.  Speak slowly and smile.  Offer to repeat the video interview question. 
  • ·      Ask Follow up Questions.  It’s important for the interviewer to remain natural during the interview.  Ask follow up and prodding questions just as you would during your in person interview.  Take notes and record your impressions. 
  • ·      Describe the Process and Next Steps.  Sometimes technology can be a barrier to more personal communication.  Over communicate to the job seeker regardless if they are your top candidates or not.  Provide insights and a timeline into the hiring process and next steps.  Doing so reinforces your earlier message and demonstrates to your job seeker that your organization is prepared, polished, and the right choice for them as their next employer.

Video Interviews Are About Engagement Not Solely Employment Metrics

Video interviewing technology is not solely about lowering employment metrics like cost per hire.  It’s about respecting the valuable time of both the recruiter and job seeker who have taken time and effort to be present and prepare for the interview.  Like any technology used in the hiring process, it’s important to walk a mile in everyone’s shoes making the hiring and candidate selection process easier, more efficient, and virtually effortless especially when you factor in virtual video interviewing technology into the equation.    

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media.  She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs


  1. This information will really help improve my craft a lot. As someone who works for an executive recruitment sydney, I make sure that the intended time for the video interview will be concise so that the brief time can be utilized very well.

  2. I really do agree regarding on the video interviews are engagement not only Employment metrics. Thanks for this awesome post.

    Australian Job Search

  3. Good ideas. All given video interviewing tips are very helpful for all the candidates. Must read before going for video interviews.