Video Interview

How can I get the full picture when conducting a video interview?

Posted on 25 August 2020 by Jacob Stafford-Wright

Video Interview

How can I get the full picture when conducting a video interview?

Posted on 25 August 2020 by Jacob Stafford-Wright


At the dawn of the pandemic, growth strategies were thrown off-kilter and hiring activity ceased for many life science organisations around the world. For those that are resuming hiring activity, video interviewing is still the norm. The use of video in the recruitment process is not a new thing, but it certainly has been brought to the fore in recent weeks. Now, restrictions are easing and employers are onboarding new team members again, but video interviewing remains preference for many employers and candidates. So how do you get the most from a remote interview, and ensure you get a well-rounded picture of the candidate?

Many clients and candidates we’re partnered with at SEC have experienced video interviews for the first time this year, and we have brought together what we have discovered makes the best video interviewing experience for both the employer and the interviewee.

​Communicate, communicate, communicate

Before we even start talking about the platforms you can use for video interviewing, you need to set expectations. The circumstances that we are working under at the moment are putting stress on everyone, people are being asked to do new things with limited knowledge and exposure.

So overcommunicate.

Approach the video interview as if it was in person, share expectations, run through the details of who will be attending and ensure it is in diaries. In addition:

  • Share exactly how to use the video software. Does it need to be downloaded or can you use it in-browser? Can you use it on your phone if you don’t have a webcam?

  • Will you be asking a candidate to present? What will the structure of the interview be? Will you ask for a presentation in advance or will they be asked to talk through anything on screen?

  • Assume something will go wrong. Provide a backup telephone number and share it with the interviewee in advance.

Get the tech right

This may be limited to how your business is set up. If you currently use something like Microsoft Teams, Skype or Google Meet then hunt out guides that may assist the candidate. If you have flexibility in what you can use, then it is worth asking the candidate what they would prefer to put them at ease. If you’re using a recruiter then they may be able to give you use of a platform they have tried and tested with several businesses and can facilitate this.

And then test.

As the interviewer, you will need to make sure that you make as much of a good impression as the candidate. This means good WiFi connections, a well-lit room and a camera positioned in such a way that it’s not looking up your nose! If you haven’t used the technology in a while, then ask a colleague to go through a dress rehearsal with you – including sharing screens and any other features you may want to run through. It is worth sharing these tips with candidates as well.

Articulate what your business is like

It’s hard now. People don’t get the chance to visit offices, understand the “buzz” of where they’ll be working and interact with others. Whether the world of work changes dramatically or not, you still need to convey your company culture to those who you are interviewing via video. What can you share visually (beyond the standard collateral) that will give potential employees an insight into your business? Work with your marketing team or recruitment partner to create a picture of what it’s like to with you and in the business. Maybe even share what you’ve done as a team during lockdown – that’s going to be increasingly important for candidates.

Remember, it’s still an interview

We give the same advice to candidates as we do to employers. Make sure that you make eye contact and smile – give those physical signs that show you are listening and engaged. Be aware of the background. Be aware of what you’re wearing.

You may be able to get a recording of the interview depending on your software, but it is still important to make notes “in-the-moment”. Allowances will of course need to be made from both the interviewer and the candidate at the moment, but a standard of professionalism is expected from both sides regardless.

End the interview well

Don’t just click the red “Leave Meeting” button. Inform the candidate of the next steps, offer them and you the chance to follow up via email, phone or another video catch up.

The fundamentals of interviewing have not changed, but we all need to increase our levels of awareness around video interviewing as it becomes more commonplace both now and in the future.

At SEC, we have sat in on, prepared people for and advised on video interviewing processes for many businesses and individuals over the years. We hope this short summary helps you think more about your video interviewing process.

If you’d like to discuss more or how SEC can facilitate your video interviewing process then please drop us a note.​