Advertisers advice

How to conduct great remote video interviews

Emma Scott from Tribe recruitment agency talks us through remote interviewing best practices.

As the recent return of Covid-19 community transmission in NZ has shown, businesses should be able to pivot to remote practices at the drop of a hat. 

For talent and HR staff, this includes hiring processes for business critical staff. But how do you ensure a great candidate experience for candidates you can't meet face to face? Here are the thoughts of Emma Scott, chief at Tribe recruitment agency. 

How to conduct a video interview

1. Nail your processes and tech

Clear processes and reliable, easy-to-use tech form the bedrock of a smooth remote interviewing experience, Emma says.

In particular, businesses should focus on:

  • Outlining the processes: to ensure candidates understand what’s happening at each stage.
  • Giving clear guidance for connecting: make sure candidates know how to connect to their interviewing platform, and have the necessary usernames and passwords. A tip sheet about your platform is a great asset here.
  • Being prepared: make sure you have access to any additional tools or downloads you might need to share with the candidate during the interview, to avoid awkward silences if you can’t find them.

Not only will getting this stuff right make life easier for your candidates, but well conducted remote interviews can actually increase your speed-to-hire: “the ease of scheduling and lack of commute saves time for everyone involved, which is great for recruiting efficiency”, Emma points out.

2. Be prepared for small mishaps

When internet connections are involved, there’s always room for things to go wrong. Emma encourages interviewers to be flexible and patient, and acknowledge that connectivity issues will arise from time to time.

To mitigate these problems, include advice for trouble-shooting in the platform tip sheet you give to candidates in preparation for their interview.

It's important you build trust with the candidate early on in the interview.

3. Build trust from the get-go

There’s always a degree of candidate stress during job interviews, and this may be heightened by the unfamiliarity of video interviews.

You should, therefore, focus on building trust quickly and putting the candidate at ease. This will make for a more constructive interview, as the interviewee will feel more confident to answer your questions. However, without normal social cues like body language, interviewers should think about different approaches to breaking the ice.

Emma suggests kicking off with “a friendly introduction to relax candidates before launching into the formal interview”. From there, provide an overview of the company and role as you normally would, before very clearly outlining what you want to get out of the interview. For example, are you simply hoping to get an overview of the candidates’ background and suitability, or should they expect more behavioural based questioning.

All of this groundwork provides the interviewee of a road-map of what to expect from the interview, and helps them relax into the situation.

4. Treat it like a face-to-face interview

Remember – you’re trying to impress too – and Emma urges hiring managers to approach remote interviews with the same professionalism as they would an in person meeting.

Arrive on time, make sure you’re somewhere you won’t be interrupted by family or flatmates, and don’t forget that you’re on camera. Failing to do will instantly create a negative impression in your interviewee’s mind and make them feel that you’re not serious about their application.

5. Stick to your plan

As you ease yourself into the new normal of remote interviewing, it can be easy to deviate from your process – don’t.

Emma’s golden rule for conducting great remote interviews is to “have a clear, concise and structured plan to create consistency and fairness for each candidate, and stick to it!”.