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Zoom In – The Ultimate Video Interviewer Guide

In a recent article by our colleague Adam Ryan, he gave some valuable advice to candidates on the process of participating in video interviews with prospective employers.

This article is aimed at you, the employer, and what steps you can take to successfully interview online.

Have the right software

We are finding that majority of our clients are happy to conduct most of their interviews online during the current Covid-19 crisis. Some might even be happy to go through the entire recruitment process this way, whereas others use it merely for first level interviews and are now waiting for restrictions to be lifted so that they can hold final interviews face-to-face (whilst adhering to safe social distancing guidelines).

No matter which method is preferred for the initial online video conferencing (VC) these are five of the most commonly used software platforms.

  • Skype
  • Microsoft Teams
  • GoToMeeting
  • Zoom
  • Google Hangouts

They are all easy to use, most are free (up to a certain level) and do not require either parties to download any software to use.

Here are some key pointers to take note of ahead of your next candidate VC interview:

1. The “Dry-run”. Some of our clients have made it common practise to conduct a dry-run VC meeting ahead of the interview. This would involve a team member giving the interviewee a call a couple of days prior to interview to ensure that everything is working properly.

Things to check:

  • The sound is working
  • The image resolution is at its’ best
  • The Wi-Fi/broadband connection works
  • That lighting is good
  • That external sounds are at a minimum
  • No distractions in the interview space

This will eliminate wasting time doing a technical set-up during the actual interview, ensuring that everything is working ahead of time.

2. Suitable location. This is not just something for the interviewee to bear in mind, this goes for the interviewer also.

Location. If you are not conducting the VC interview from the office or office boardroom, consider where in the house you will be located during the VC call.  It is probably not the best look for your business to do the call from your bedroom for example…

Lighting. Good lightning is key. Ensure good lightning from the front, not behind you. Natural light or soft lightning is preferable.

If you are for example in front of a window, the interviewee will see you in silhouette. Pay attention to how well-lit your space is.

Backdrop. Keep it simple and avoid cluttered surroundings. If this means you must re-arrange the backdrop slightly that is ok. Alternatively, use the “blurring” feature on Zoom.

Angle. Best practice, if you don’t have a PC, but use a laptop, is to elevate it so that the camera is at eye level or perhaps a little higher up. It prevents shadows and unflattering angles. If you do not have a proper stand, improvise and use what’s around you to elevate the laptop. Books are very effective!

3. Dress code. It is expected of most interviewees that business wear is to be worn at an interview. A VC interview is no different for both parties. Dress professionally and make sure you advise your interviewee on the dress code you expect.

From a practical point of view, ensure that your outfit matches the background in the room. So for example, if you are wearing all blue and your background is all blue, you may “melt” into the background. Therefore, you will be harder to see.

VC interviews, like face-to-face interviews, are a window into your organisation for the interviewee, so it is important to project yourself and your company in the best possible light.

Avoid the “Will Reeve – No Pants – look” on Good Morning America

4. Interruptions. Always prepare for the unexpected.

  • Turn off your mobile phone or put it on silent
  • Turn off the sound on apps (updates, email and social media messages etc.) which may pop up during interview
  • If you have online communications channels such as Microsoft Teams on your machine, close them down or chose the “do not disturb” option, so that you won’t be interupted
  • Lock or close the door to the room you are in and communicate with your family members that you are on a call and that you are not to be interupted
  • Make sure that any house pets that may be happy to lend their vocals, are out of the house at the time

5. Sharing Wi-Fi

Where you are sharing Wi-Fi and where your signal may be compromised, please kindly ask your fellow Wi-Fi users to refrain from going online.

6. Body Language. Like any interview situation be aware of non-verbal communications and what they can say about you.

  • Look into the web camera, but don’t stare as it could be deemed intimidating.
  • Speak clearly and calmly and allow the interviewee time to speak in between. VC meetings do not generally allow the same freedom in conversation flow as a face-to-face meeting, so be willing to take breaks and pause to ensure that the interviewee has understood what has been said.
  • If possible, avoid excessive hand movements and gestures.

7. The Mute Button. There is lots to be said for avoiding unnecessary sounds during a VC meeting.

If there are two or more interviewers on the call, it is recommended that those not asking questions mute their microphones, until you are being asked to join in the conversation. It will allow for better communication flow and limit sound interference. The lead interviewer can prompt the other interviewer when to join the call and unmute their microphones.

8. Practicalities.

Structure. Plan the structure of your interview in advance.

If the interview requires more than one interviewer, make sure that you all know what specific topics you are individually covering, the running order and assign one interviewer as the lead person.

The lead interviewer’s role is to welcome the candidate, introduce themselves and the other interviewer(s) and to manage the running order. They will also close the interview and ask the interviewee if they have any questions, thank them for their time etc.

Sharing. If for any reason you need to share your screen with the interviewee, ensure that you only have the relevant document open and all other windows or folders closed.

Back-up plan. In case you run into any difficulties or the interviewee does, ensure that you have a back-up number you can quickly reach them on.

Test sound on the day. Check with the candidate that they can hear you properly as soon as your meeting starts.

Charge. Easily forgotten but, ensure that the device you are conducting the meeting from is fully charged or plugged in before the meeting commences.

Water. To prevent a dry mouth, ensure that you have water beside you and that you advise the interviewee does the same.

Expectations. It is important to manage the interviewees expectations from the beginning of the call. Ensure that they know what to expect and that they are ok with it. Also remember, this is all very new to the candidate, so it’s important you allow for that.

Usernames. Ensure that the username you used for your family quiz night or your Zoom calls with friends, doesn’t remain on the interface. If you have other family members using the same computer, please ensure that any inappropriate users names are also switched off.

Logging off. Get to know the platform you are using, in particular we recommend you know where the off button is so that you can exit the call in a prompt and polite manner.

Learning as we go…

The Corona Virus has thrown standard interviewing practices out the door. Whether VC interviews are something you and your company have conducted for a long time or if this is all new, do not stress! We are all learning as we go…

If you or any of your colleagues would like some more guidance, feel free to get in touch.

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How your office will look post Covid-19

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What your recruitment consultant can do for you

The process of searching for a new role can be a daunting process for some people. Compiling your cv, reviewing job boards and deciding on which recruitment consultant to use can be time consuming, especially if you are working full time. Securing the right position is crucial and not just from a job satisfaction or remuneration perspective, it will also impact your next move. Therefore, choosing which recruitment consultant(s) to partner with is an important part of the process. Ideally you want to work with a recruitment consultant who is experienced and a specialist in your area. These recruitment consultants will have extensive in-depth market knowledge and will be best placed to assist you when searching for your next role.  

Here are some of the services that a well networked recruitment consultant and recruitment firm such as The Panel can offer you. 

Advice 

  • A good recruitment consultant will be able to assist your job search in a variety of ways. They will be able to advise you on cv preparation, your LinkedIn profile, how to prepare for different interview formats and how to sell your experience and critical skills to distinguish yourself from other applicants. 

Feedback 

  • They will provide honest and detailed constructive feedback on your interviews, highlighting any areas that you need to improve on. 

Market Insights 

  • Recruitment consultants can advise you on current salary levels and what you are worth in the market. This is especially useful when you are due a salary review or negotiating an offer. 

  • They can also offer specialist advice on market trends, what sectors are busy and what skills are in demand. 

Guidance 

  • A good recruitment consultant will offer career guidance and assist with planning your career and what steps you will need to make to achieve your long-term career goals. 

Network  

  • An experienced recruitment consultant will also have built up a large network during their career. When you partner with a recruiter not only will you have access to their network, it can also open additional opportunities you didn’t know about.  

Exclusivity  

In addition, some recruitment consultants will have exclusive agreements with some companies and these roles may not be advertised. 

Recruitment consultants like to work with candidates on an exclusive basis particularly if they feel they have lots of roles to run by them. Exclusivity means you develop a strong working relationship with your consultant and know they are always considering you for roles as they come in. 

Confidentiality 

A recruitment consultant will work on your application in a confidential manner. They will request GDPR consent from you to hold your details on file and to send your CV to their client firms. Your recruitment consultant should always ask for permission to send your details to a client. In The Panel we have always focused on providing the highest level of service to candidates and have always asked for permission from candidates to send their details to client firms.  

With Covid-19 the traditional face to face interview is now being replaced by video calls. The majority of our clients are conducting video calls for their interviews, using various apps including Microsoft Teams, Zoom, GoToMeetings and Skype.  

For a job seeker there are many variables to consider when conducting a video call. Our colleagues Adam Ryan has prepared an article on how best to approach a video call interview and how you should prepare, and Sarah Kelly recorded a very useful video on what to consider when updating your CV

At the end of the day recruitment consultants are here to help you and to take the stress out of finding your dream job. They will save you time that you can instead spend with your family, friends or hobbies. Remember, a well networked recruitment consultant will open many doors for you!