Video interviews – Getting it right

Charlotte Nicol
Last updated on 16th January 2020
2 min read

Harnessing the flexibility of video for interviews, meetings, training and other functions in the office can help save employees valuable time, reduce costs and be part of a strategy for creating great workforce experiences.

Video interviews allow managers to connect with candidates at the touch of a button – widening talent pools from applicants who can travel to the office and those who live further afield or even overseas. For applicants, it can provide greater flexibility, be more convenient, reduce stress associated with travel and provide a richer candidate experience,

But for video interviews to be a valuable part of the recruitment, selection and onboarding process there are a few things to consider.


The worst thing that can happen in a video interview is a loss of connection. The screen freezes, the audio is lost and the interview grinds to a halt while you frantically check your Wi-Fi and speaker connections. This creates additional stress and irritation for the different parties involved.

Before conducting a video interview, make sure the video conferencing tool you choose is reliable and easy to restart should something go wrong. It is also a good idea to have an additional means of communicating such as email or text, so that everyone can be kept informed of the actions being taken to get the video interview back online.

Consider your equipment – would a larger monitor be beneficial?  Do you have sufficient network bandwidth to support video streaming?

Does your webcam provide high quality, clear images?  Are your microphone and headset (or speakers) working correctly?  Test everything before arranging video interviews so you have time to make changes or upgrade your equipment if necessary.

The setting

Choose wisely when it comes to where you will log on to conduct the video interview. Manager should find a location with a neutral background, with no distracting features to help the candidate focus – and for your own comfort, avoid parts of the office where people frequently walk by or where there’s a risk of glare from a nearby window.

Check nearby phones are muted or off the hook, and if you can, close nearby doors. Holding the interview somewhere quiet, away from the buzz of the office floor, will mean you can concentrate fully on the task at hand without distractions or interruptions.

Interview format

When planning your video interview, consider the questions you would ask in a face-to-face meeting, but also take a moment to consider how the technology can enhance the interview process. Video chat software often allows for files to be shared in real time, meaning candidates could potentially send over examples of their work or proof of their qualifications during your meeting.

It can also be helpful to engage in a few minutes of small talk at the start of the video call, to ensure the cameras, microphones and speakers are fully functional for both the interviewer and interviewee. Technical issues may need be resolved before the questions can be asked – don’t dive in until you feel confident the platform is working correctly.

Candidate experience

When planning the video interview, remember to adapt your interviewing style to the video call. Speak clearly and accept you may need to repeat questions more frequently, depending on the clarity of the call – and don’t be afraid to ask applicants to repeat themselves, either. Try to put the candidate at ease – maintain eye contact as much as possible, don’t look away from the screen or appear distracted.

If possible, record the video interview so you can review it at a later date or double-check your notes – and remember to send feedback to the candidate as soon as possible. Offering notes on their interview style can help reassure them that their video-call etiquette is fine – or perhaps highlight areas that need improvement.

Of course, you may feel it is necessary to follow up a video interview with a face-to-face meeting in the office before formally offering the role. But video interviews are a great way to connect with candidates without the restrictions of travel or even time zones. Preparation is key, especially when it comes to the technology of video interviews – but video calls could help your HR team streamline the recruitment process and save valuable time.

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