Here we go again.
Lockdown 2.0 is in full force which means for many, the way we interview is shaken up yet again.
But unlike back in March when we were first confined to our homes, a lot of us are in a much better situation to adapt to the working from home life.
Back in the heyday of Zoom quizzes and foray’s into baking, some of our clients were reluctant to embrace video interviewing, so we sent out a guide with our top tips to getting it right and making the most of the benefits virtual recruitment can bring.
For some, interviewing via video will now be second nature. For others who, preferred to wait it out until they were back in a socially distanced meeting room, it might still be a bit of a learning curve.
If you are embarking on a spree of video interviewing, here is our guide to interviewing from a safe and sanitary distance.
Before you start interviewing
Before you make a call, we recommend taking the following steps.
1. Make sure you have a decent internet connection.
Each of the options use a different amount of bandwidth, and at the moment getting an engineer out to switch broadband providers isn’t really an option. So, if one isn’t working that well with your connection, then try a different one.
Failing that, using your phone as a hotspot if your signal is better than the broadband in your area.
2. Test out the video and audio in plenty of time before the call
Learn from our mistakes here, you don’t want to jump into an interview and spend 15 minutes trying to turn on your microphone or camera. All the various systems allow you to see yourself on camera and test audio before going into the call.
3. Check background and lighting
Do a quick sense check to see what the person on the other end will be able to see in the call. Try and find a relatively neutral background or tidy up a bit beforehand. You don’t want anything embarrassing or sensitive to be on display behind your shoulder.
If you are a hoarder and can’t find a spare foot of neutral space, then Teams and Zoom have options to blur your background out or provide an alternative background.
Equally, check the lighting. You don’t need to get a full Hollywood lighting setup, but don’t sit with your back to a window if that casts you into silhouette or turn on some lights if you look a bit like an anonymous witness in a true crime documentary.
4. Make sure they can see you and have direct eye contact
We have found a lot of candidates, and some clients, who aren’t used to this type of setup don’t notice when they have the camera off at an angle so all you can see is a wonky shot of the top of their head or their chin.
There are only so many times you can politely ask someone to adjust the camera before you just have to accept that you will be interviewing an eyebrow.
Don’t sit and talk to yourself for the entire interview, but definitely have a glance at your own image to make sure the camera is in a sensible position and adjust accordingly so they can see your whole face.
If you are using a phone or tablet do rest it or prop it on a surface in front of you, so you aren’t wobbling in and out of view every minute or so.
If you are using an external webcam and have multiple screens in your home office your camera is likely to be at the side, or above or below the screen you are looking at, which causes a lack of direct eye contact and can be off-putting.
Re-positioning your web cam so it is in front of the screen you are looking at gives you much better direct eye contact with your audience.
5. Make a couple of internal calls first to practice
Not only will this ensure that all of the above is working fine, it also means you have a chance to get comfortable with the setup. To begin with video conferencing can be a bit awkward and it’s distracting to see yourself, so this gives you an opportunity to get used to it before talking with candidates.
While you are interviewing
If the internet connection isn’t that great, then the sound quality might be a bit distorted or you might experience a slight lag. If this is the case, then it is important to be patient with the candidate and allow enough time for them to finish speaking fully or ask follow up questions to what you have just said.
2. Body language
You obviously don’t get to interpret as much body language as you would do in a normal interview as you can only see them from the shoulders up. Therefore, you need to pay attention to what you can see. Are they sitting up or slouched down? Are they connected with the conversation or distracted by other things around them?
Eye contact is another tricky one as some people won’t sit there looking directly into their camera in their It setup, they will be looking at you on the screen so do allow for this and it could be a new experience for them as well.
Lots of our clients ask candidates to make a short presentation at different interview stages; video interviewing does not take this option off the table.
Make use of screen sharing to display PowerPoint presentations or other visual aids. You may even find this is simpler than connecting up technology in a meeting room!
Please note screen sharing does take up more bandwidth and so delivering presentations through screenshare may difficult if one party has a bad connection.
4. Multiple Interviewers
If the interview includes more than one interviewer, it can be tricky to receive the visual clues that someone else is about to speak. It can be helpful to prepare in advance a plan for who will ask what and when.
5. Face to Face interviews
They are still allowed if necessary, as they can be covered under the guidance of work-related meetings if one party view it is as essential to meet in person. Be clear on the covid secure measures that are in place at your office and be considerate of the views of the interviewee; offer them the option of a video interview if they aren’t comfortable travelling to your office.
We expect the most common approach by many will be to conduct initial interviews by video and then meet candidates in person at final interview stage.