It’s easy to see why one wouldn’t want to conduct a video interview, especially for those of us who remember the early days of webcams. Between the garbled audio and distorted display (“Do I really look like that?”), video conferencing was downright traumatic.

Thankfully, video conferencing services have vastly improved, and now, video interviews may well be essential to your organization’s growth.

Benefits of Video Interviews

Video conferencing can give you a leg up on making contact with qualified candidates that may be out of your local reach. Here are a few reasons video conferencing may be the way to go for your business:

Save Costs on Flying Candidates In Whether you’re having trouble finding qualified applicants locally, or just want to expand your recruitment efforts to find the best applicant possible, video conferencing offers a less expensive alternative to flying applicants in. Who wouldn’t choose free over hundreds of dollars?

Additionally, the video offers a better feel for how a person presents themselves than phone interviews, like their ability to exercise basic good judgment. If they are dressed appropriately, join on time, etc., these are all encouraging signs. Even if you do still plan on flying top candidates in, video-conferencing can help narrow down your final candidates.

Build a Remote Workforce:  In the increasingly connected global work world, even smaller companies are expanding their teams with remote workers. With web-based technology and mobile employee time tracking applications, it’s easier than ever to manage all aspects of HR remotely — even self-onboarding for new recruits! Remote teams can offer perspective on other regions of interest to your company, provide representation in other cities, and allow you to work with individuals who may not be able to move to your brick and mortar locations.

Reach Talented Professionals with Disabilities: There are lots of talented professionals out there with disabilities that impact their mobility. Video-conferencing can offer an easier, more convenient alternative to meeting these professionals — and a more considerate one, particularly if you’re based in an area that offers limited transportation options for people with disabilities.

How To Video Interview Effectively

Due to the nature of video interviews, there are certain special considerations that should be taken into account when preparing for one. Here are some tips to make a great impression:

Dress Professionally: This should be obvious, but just in case, remember to dress to impress when preparing to meet with an interviewee. Because video interviews can feel less formal, take special care to dress for the occasion — you don’t want a candidate to get the impression that your company is more casual than it is, or not a “real” company.

Eliminate Distractions: The best microphones today do an admirable job of picking up only the voice closest to them and eliminating ambient noises. If you’re working with a basic audio setup, keep in mind that background noises may be amplified and sound louder to call attendees than they do to you.

If possible, conduct your interview from a secure office with the doors shut. If you’re in an open office, give your team a heads up that you’d appreciate they keep the volume down, and be aware of what they’re doing in the background.

Test, Test, Test: Test your microphone, camera, and service–whether it’s Skype, GoToMeeting, or any other–well in advance of the call.

Make sure the audio is clear, that there’s adequate lighting in the space you’ll be in to avoid the “calling from a cave” effect, and that you understand how to add attendees, mute, unmute, etc. Look your best–and avoid any interview day “is my skin actually blue?” surprises — with these pointers on looking good on web cameras.

Understand Eye Contact: It can be tricky to make eye contact virtually. You’ll naturally want to look at the candidate on the screen when they’re speaking, but you should try to look at the camera when asking questions.

Make sure you understand where the camera lens is. If possible, record yourself to see how you look when you’re looking at the camera versus at the screen, and to practice switching focus appropriately. Whatever you do, don’t watch the image of yourself during the call.

Everyone knows where that window is on the screen–you don’t want to come off as vain or self-absorbed.

Rehearse: You don’t want to sound too stiff, but rehearsing a few quick pitch lines about your company is smart. Again, try recording yourself if possible. Doing so may help you better understand how you can phrase your words and use eye contact most effectively.

Prepare Questions Or An Outline: If this is the first time you’re interviewing for a position, or if it’s your first time conducting a video interview, it’s a good idea to have a written outline and set of questions available.

You want the conversation to flow, but having something prepared helps give the interview structure. Seeing the outline or questions can be distracting to the candidate, especially if you’re taking notes, so be aware of where you’re keeping the paper or document you’re writing on. You may want to use Notepad or a similar program to avoid worrying about this issue.

Prep Your Team: If other people from your organization will be joining the call, check-in with them to make sure they understand how the technology works.

Consider inviting them to a practice session to help make sure you’ll all be able to confidently represent the company and focus on the candidate, not whether you’re “doing this right.”

Have Fun: It’s important to be professional, but take care not to get robotic. The point of a video interview is, after all, to get a more complete, more human perspective than a phone interview offers. Remember to smile, and to keep a sense of levity if something doesn’t go quite as planned.

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