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The recent pandemic has made remote work and remote capabilities useful and required than ever before. At this time we must implement social distancing tactics when making key recruiting and hiring decisions, such as not being able to make a decision on a handshake, holding all interviews by phone and video-conference, and even trying to find a candidate that is in a current role or has no employment gaps.

The fundamentals of interviewing over video are not that different from in-person meetings, but there are a few things to keep in mind. The following are some principle best practices for conducting seamless, engaging and successful video interviews.

1. Test your Technology Prior

Technology is a great tool…until the moments that it decides to not function as we expect it. Prior to the interview or meeting, test all technology that you intend on using to ensure that it is working properly.

Establishing a strong internet connectivity is crucial. Allow yourself 10-15 minutes prior to the start of the interview to check that your camera and microphone are working optimally so that the interview will be seamless without tech issues.

2. Set the Scene to be Professional and Appealing

In a business office setting, you may stop by the interview location prior to the start of the interview to turn on the lights, make sure the temperature is fair, and to ensure that the area is free from clutter, company documents, and other people – setting the scene for a video interview is no different. Ensure that the light in the area you are working are on, the area is free from clutter and noise and that the area is quiet and appropriate.

Refrain from using digital backdrops that some video conference providers offer, as they can be distracting, cause connectivity issues, and at times just look tacky.

Check your attire. Are you wearing apparel that adequately indicates the professionalism and setting of the company? Web interviews still set the same first impression as an in-person interview would. Make sure that you are well groomed and ready to go.

3. Have an Agenda….and Stick with it

Being respectful of every party’s time shows respect and organization. It is the employer’s responsibility to make sure interviews are structured and engaging. Just as an in person interview has an agenda and questions, the video interview should as well. Have an agenda for the meeting or interview created ahead of time and inform the applicant of what that looks like. You may start with having the applicant tell you a little about themselves and why they applied for the position, follow up with information about the position in more detail and interview questions, and end the meeting with company culture information and questions that may have arisen during the interview.

4. Engage the Applicant

One of the worst things interviewers can do is appear distracted or unfocused. At times, working from home may feel more relaxed and you may become more easily distracted by things to do around the house, a spouse, kids, or even the pets. It is important to remain engaged with the applicant and to keep all distractions at a minimum.

If video interviewing is a new concept, try practicing ahead of time by talking to the camera and having the next interview questions positioned close to the side of the camera. Inform the applicant when you are taking a moment to type or write notes so that they do not become disengaged.

5. Showcase the Company and its Culture.

Both employers and candidates lose a major part of the interview experience when it’s conducted completely virtually because they are not able to see and feel the company atmosphere. It is important for the employee to be able to gauge whether that culture is an appropriate fit for them and the position. Portraying the company culture, with videos from the workplace showing what life is like at the company, may be the competitive edge you need to find the talent you’re seeking. Elements of the company should be interwoven into the description and conversation about the company during the interview process and on company resources.

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