We all know why lots of people are having or choosing to work remotely, but I’m going to make a conscious effort not to talk about that. Instead, let’s focus on how we can keep the wheels of your recruitment process turning without compromising on candidate experience.
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Working remotely doesn’t have to get in the way of your recruitment objectives. Fully remote businesses interview, offer and onboard people all of the time without ever meeting them face-to-face, sometimes without ever being in the same country or even on the same continent.
For those businesses, telephone and video interviews are the go-to channels for meeting, assessing and evaluating potential hires. Some businesses also add assessment tools to the mix to get a better handle on a person’s skills.
Hosting video interviews might seem daunting if you’re not used to them, but it’s probably a lot easier than you think.
1. Choose the right location
An interview is always a two-way street- remember that what the candidate sees can impact how they view your business as an employer.
Of course, not everyone has a grand library style home office to host video calls from and you don’t need to either. It’s just a case of ensuring that your backdrop is appealing, clutter-free and unlikely to cause any distractions.
You also need to consider lighting to ensure that your face can be seen clearly. Positioning a lamp pointing at you but behind your webcam can help make sure you’re well-lit and visible.
2. Get to grips with your set-up
Have you ever joined a conference call, Discord group or video meeting only to realise that your microphone isn’t working, or your webcam is way too close to your face? Perhaps you didn’t even make it that far because you’d forgotten your password.
Video interviewing is quite easy, but so many things can go wrong if you don’t get to grips with your set-up. It’s much easier to solve the problems when you’re not rushed by the feeling that a candidate is waiting for you.
It’s important to decide what software you’ll be using to facilitate your call. I’d recommend Google Hangouts, Skype or WhatsApp, as candidates generally have existing accounts with one or more and, even if they don’t, it’s quick, simple and, importantly, totally free to sign up.
Once you have your software selected and ready to go, arrange a test call with a friend or colleague to check that they can see you, hear you and respond to your questions.
I’d also recommend using a laptop or computer, but if you’re more at home with a tablet or smartphone, make sure you have a reliable stand/tripod to use (prevents shakes/keeps your hands free) and update your applications to the latest version before arranging a test call to check everything is working as it should.
3. Be animated, but don’t fidget
It’d be useless minimising distractions in your backdrop if you’re going to tap your foot, shift your weight or otherwise move and become a distraction yourself. That said, you should feel free to use hand gestures and facial expressions that help get your point across and bring what you’re saying to life.
Nodding to acknowledge that you’re actively listening is fine, incessantly rocking back and forth or side to side is not.
It can also help to make sure you have all of the information you need within arm’s reach. Wherever possible you should avoid moving out of the frame of the camera whether that’s by standing up or leaving your desk.
4. Look the part
Despite working remotely, you should follow a lot of the same preparation you would for a normal interview, which includes wearing what you would normally.
And no, dressing gown and pyjamas won’t quite cut it.
What the candidate sees is likely to impact the way they view your business as an employer, you included. If in doubt, ask yourself whether you’d be comfortable representing the brand in public dressed as you are.
5. Prepare, prepare and then prepare some more
If you’re new to video interviewing, it can only help to give yourself fewer things to worry about.
Follow your typical process and prepare thoroughly so that you know your questions and what order you’ll ask them in. You know the requirements of the position inside out and have a good handle on the candidate’s experience.
And while you don’t want to spend the whole time looking downwards, one bonus of video interviewing is being able to have information to hand but out of sight. Consider laying documents out on your desk just in case you need to reference them.
6. Have a contingency plan
Sometimes your tech will throw a wobble, seemingly for no reason at all. Whether your Wi-Fi is nowhere to be found or your video call software isn’t playing ball, it’s important you know what to do when it all goes wrong.
Fortunately, it’s often as simple as having the candidate’s phone number to hand and giving them a call to explain. From there you can either hold a telephone interview instead or apologise for the inconvenience and rearrange the interview.
Video interviews are a fantastic option to have in your recruitment arsenal, particularly for times like these or to cater for candidates who are relocating or who have limited availability.
As with most things, practice makes perfect, but follow the above tips and you’ll be well on your way to hosting seamless video interviews.