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Although video interviewing isn’t new, it has become far more prevalent this year than ever before. This has meant an adjustment period for many hiring managers, as well as candidates who are unfamiliar with the process. However, there are many benefits to be gained from video interviewing, but there are certainly some potential pitfalls to be aware of.
With preparation, practice, confidence – and our tips - video interviewing can be an effective part of your recruitment strategy, not just in the year of the pandemic but long afterwards, too.
Set the tone from the outset
With the majority of accounting and finance professionals working from home, it can be easy to slip into more informal territory. This might be okay in meetings with colleagues but for an interview situation, it can be inappropriate. This means you should consider (and plan):
What you wear - not just to reflect your business but to reflect the level of formality that would be appropriate for your business in an in-person interview
Your setting and environment – lighting, background, noise – pick the quietest spot away from noise and with as clear and/or neutral a background as possible
While the line between work and home has been understandably blurred this year, it’s crucial you maintain your ‘work’ self when conducting video interviews. This extends beyond mere formality but is also about showing (and selling) your company culture and brand as positively and as accurately as possible. It’s so much harder for the candidate to get a feel for it without visiting physical offices, try to demonstrate this to them as much as you can.
Prepare in advance
We all prepare for an interview, but video interviewing requires even more preparation, not least because organic, flowing conversation is harder to achieve in a digital setting, but because it also throws up the additional challenge of relying on tech.
Plan your structure prior to the interview rather than relying on gut instinct to direct the conversation, no matter the number of interviews you’ve conducted face to face. Section and allow approximate timings for each part of the interview, e.g.:
Discussion of experience and CV
Personality/company-fit based questions
Questions from the candidate
As well as mapping out when you will ask questions, jot them down too, even if you don’t in face to face situations – you’d be surprised at how much being offline can affect the flow of natural conversation.
Example video interview questions:
Tell me about a recent project you succeeded in
How did you deal with a big mistake, and what did you learn?
How do you evaluate your success?
Describe your ideal work environment
What experience do you have working remotely, what do you find positive and negative?
Plan, test and practice using the technology with a colleague
Make sure you set up the tech you’ll be using in advance and test it – not just from your end but include the candidate’s perspective, if sharing screens at any stage, make sure you already have the documents open and prepared, for example.
Give candidates space to answer
As you find it different answering questions in this format, so too does the candidate. Allow them room and space to answer your questions. You’ll also find it harder to pick up on non-verbal cues as to when a candidate has finished or is simply thinking about what to say next.
Remember to define the next steps
It’s a lot easier to finish a video call than shake someone’s hand, exchange further small pleasantries and walk someone to the door of your office. This can make the final moments rushed and less formal, so be clear on your next steps with the candidate. This allows them – and also you – to remember exactly what will happen next.
Edward Mann is committed to offering the best finance and accountancy recruitment with access to the best candidates on the market. As part of our commitment to making your recruitment run as smoothly as possible our consultants are happy to help advise on your video interviewing skills and techniques, to allow you and prospective candidates to shine.