Conducting Video Interviews 


For support with setting up Video Interviews please contact John Adams on 07881 623119 or 01227 656 888.


Video Interviews are becoming increasingly popular with employers and candidates alike as a result of Coronavirus and companies concerns around health and safety for employees and candidates. The benefits, drawbacks and employer Top Tips outlined below are designed to support a successful interview for both employer and candidate. 


Benefits of Video Interviews


Increased talent pool – video interviews enable employers to achieve a more clearly defined, consistent, and fair recruitment approach, with the added practicalities and efficiencies enabling them to interview a greater number of candidates from further afield. This has the benefit of enabling the employer to consider candidates more objectively, rather allowing themselves and the candidates to be restricted by practical limitations, including time management and travel. 


Ability to record the interview – most video conferencing platforms have the facility to record the meeting. This provides you with the option to review the interview later or share it with the wider team for feedback. This can benefit the employer by reducing the need to take detailed notes, enabling them to focus more fully on the candidate and interview process. It also overcomes difficulties in diary management for key personnel required to participate in the interview, by providing the option for a subsequent review of the interview.  


More convenience and comfort – The removal of any travel requirement will often prove to be a positive benefit for candidates, who save on associated costs and time. This makes interview preparation easier to accommodate for candidates who are currently in employment, as they do not have to book time off. It also reduces the potential for candidates beginning an interview in a stressed frame of mind, as they are likely to feel more comfortable in their own environment, and to have avoided any potential difficulties in travelling to an interview location. 


Drawbacks of Video Interviews


Potential technical challenges – to conduct the interview both parties require a webcam, microphone and an internet connection. The connection also needs to be sufficiently stable to minimise any connectivity issues. This may put some candidates at a disadvantage, and as such should be explored as part of the interview preparation, to ensure employers are aware of any issues which might arise. 


Environmental challenges – both parties need to have access to an environment that is conducive to holding a video interview. I.e. is free from distracting background noise or interruptions, and has an appropriate professional setting with sufficient lighting. Again, this may prove a challenge for some candidates, in particular if they do not have a home working set up in place. Allowances should be made by the employer, who should be careful to avoid any subconscious bias based on perceptions of the candidate’s environment, in particular if working from home is not relevant to the role.  


Difficult for candidates to get a feel for the company culture – most candidates are keen to get a feel for the office environment and culture which is hard to experience over a video call. It is important to remember that, in addition to asking themselves whether they wish to take on the role, candidates are considering whether or not the location, set up and people will be a good fit for them. A suggested tactic to address this might be to make a video recording of the environment, to which different team members contribute, in order to provide the desired introduction to the business either in advance or as a follow up to the interview. 


Potential risk of poor first impression – employers should be aware that with video interviews it will be a key input to the candidate’s first impression of the company. As such, it is important that it comes across as prepared and professional, and not simply an activity squeezed into a busy day. Employers should prepare and adhere to a pre interview plan, to ensure the complete process takes place as intended for each candidate. 


Top Tips


Consider a pre-recorded interview – Employers conducting a large recruitment campaign may consider a pre-recorded video interview as a first step before a more formal live video interview or of face to face interview. This is usually where you provide a small number of questions that you get the candidate to answer whilst recording it on a chosen platform. You can either give them the common interview questions in advance, so they have time to prepare or have it that they log in to a system that manages their preparation time. 


Agree recruitment process & fully brief the candidate – in order to optimise the chances for a successful interview experience, it is important to be clear in advance of the planned process, structure, interviewer roles and questions, expectations, duration, dress code and follow up timescales. It is also advisable to make sure you forward a copy of the job description and any other information that will be relevant. A recommended additional measure for video interviews is to brief the candidate in advance that they will be required to display photographic proof of identification at the start of the interview, and to remain visible on screen throughout the process. It is also advised to brief the candidate to have a drink available during the interview, as part of planning to put them at ease. 


Choose & confirm the video conference platform there are many platform options on the market. However, if you choose one that is popular there will be a greater chance of the candidate being familiar with it and having an existing account. Make sure that you share the details with the candidate well in advance so they can ensure they are registered if required and get themselves familiar with the platform. Popular video conferencing platforms include Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Cisco Webex, Goto Meeting,, Cisco Jabber, BlueJeans and Uber Conference. 


Prepare as if it was a face to face interview – make sure to take the time to prepare as you would for a normal face to face interview. This includes being fully familiar with the candidate’s CV, job description, and having to hand the list of common interview questions and any other material that will be required during the call. This will prevent the employer from moving around during the interview, or appearing to be required to read information in detail during the interview, which can be very off putting for candidates.


Choose and prepare the interview environment – The employer should make sure the location is clean, quiet, free from external noise or distractions and with sufficient lighting. In terms of potential noise issues, it is good practice to make work colleagues or family members aware that you are on an important call, to avoid unnecessary interruptions. 


Webcam positioning – ensure that the camera is well positioned so you are visible and not too close or too far away as this may also impact the sound quality if you are using a built-in microphone. Equally, the candidate should be made aware as early as possible if any difficulties are experienced in seeing or hearing them, in order to address them at the outset. 


Lighting – use a lamp to make sure your face is visible ideally behind the screen or camera. Take care that you do not have strong lighting behind you that may interfere with the image from the candidate’s perspective.  Also, if you wear glasses be aware of the potential reflection from a light, your monitor or laptop screen. 


Set up technology & test – make sure you have the technology at hand i.e. laptop or computer with a camera, microphone plus a sufficient network connection. When you have everything set up it is advisable to test it out in advance to make sure that it works and that the sound, lighting and backdrop is good.


Dress appropriately – you should make sure that your appearance gives the right first impression. A good guide is to dress as you would if you were meeting the candidate in person.


Be aware of Candidate nerves & consider an ice breaker – for some, being subjected to a video interview may be unfamiliar territory and result in them letting their nerves get the better of them. Also, it is potentially much more difficult to build rapport over video, so it is important to take steps to put the candidate at ease.  Having an ice breaker before launching into the interview process will certainly help. This could take the form of providing some background regarding the role or requirements. Given the potential for sound quality issues it is also important to speak clearly and ideally more slowly than you might in a face to face situation.


Ask if they can hear & see you clearly – at the start of the call it is good to check that they can see and hear you well. It is generally preferable to use a headset as it should cut down on background sounds, and candidates should be advised to do the same if needed.  


Explain the company culture – as the candidate will not have had a chance to visit the office and get a feel for the environment and culture, it is important to take the time to run through this with them. As it is often an important factor in a candidate’s decision-making process it is good to prepare what you will say to make it compelling yet honest. 


Maintain good eye contact – keeping eye contact is as important as in a face to face interview so make sure you strike a health balance, especially if you are also taking notes.


Log on in advance – Don’t leave it to the last minute to sign into the video conferencing platform. As we know from experience, we can be faced with technical issues so this will help to minimise this risk. 


Silence your gadgetsIt is always good practice to switch off any computer app notifications, including emails, and put your phone on silent to minimise interruptions during the call.  


Have a plan B at hand – technology is great however it can let us down now and again so it is good to have the candidates phone number available should you have to resort to a good old-fashioned phone call for any reason.  


Video Interviews seem set to play a greater role in the interview process as we move forward. As more companies embrace the benefits and technology, we need to take steps to ensure that they run smoothy, effectively and show you and your company in the best light.


If you have any further questions regarding conducting a Video Interview then please contact John Adams on 0781 623119 or 01227 656 888 or or contact us

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