Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

How Do I Video Interview… Candidates with a Work Portfolio?

Every candidate comes with their own set of unique interviewing challenges. That’s why we’re tackling how to video interview different types of candidates with this how-to series. Today we’ll be talking about how to use video interviews to connect with candidates that have an online work portfolio. Just because the candidate is on the other side of the webcam in a video interview and not the other side of a desk doesn’t mean it should be hard to discuss their relevant work samples.

A candidate with a great work portfolio can be a huge help during the hiring process. Now, instead of asking endless questions about their former work experience, you can see this work up close and personal. A work portfolio is especially good for quantifying the work of candidates in creative fields like illustration and graphic design. Instead of just taking the job seeker’s word when it comes to their design ability or creative flair, you can now see it in finished form.

The question now becomes: how can you marry the work portfolio of your candidate into a video interview? Here are some simple tips for incorporating work samples into the interview, even if your candidate isn’t there to hand over a physical manifestation of their work:

View the work portfolio before the video interview begins
This is important: don’t wait until the interview to start browsing your candidate’s online work portfolio. First of all, it’s extremely rude. Just like asking obvious questions about a candidate’s resume in an in-person interview, it sends the message that you haven’t done your homework. This is likely to leave the candidate with a bad impression of your professionalism and maybe even your company’s culture.

Since the candidate’s work portfolio is online make sure to take the time to go through it and look at the samples provided. Think about what these samples tell you about the candidate. Keep in mind these are likely samples of the candidate’s best work. So if the samples are not very impressive, perhaps you shouldn’t be conducting a video interview with this job seeker at all.

It might mean a little extra work to go through a job seeker’s portfolio, especially if the work samples are interactive or need to be read. But it can truly save you a lot of time and aggravation in the hiring process. And considering the cost of a bad hire can be as much as $50,000, it’s truly worth it to spend the extra time to make sure you’re not hiring a dud.

Print off relevant samples you want to discuss
Since your computer will be busy assisting you to video interview this potential top talent, go old school when it comes to referencing a candidate’s work portfolio. Printing the samples you’d like to discuss in the interview will allow you to refer to the hard copy throughout the conversation.

This will impress the candidate and show you’ve looked at their portfolio and have become conversant in their work. For a top-tier candidate, this might just spell the difference between taking a job at your company and accepting a competitor’s offer.

Get the inside scoop behind the impressive accomplishments
Work portfolios are great at showing you real world examples of a candidate’s skills. But don’t just accept everything in the portfolio at face value. The video interview is the time to get the inside scoop on how the candidate completed these impressive accomplishments.

For example, you can use the interview setting as a jumping off point to discuss whether the candidate completed this work alone or on a team. Now you know more about the candidate’s personality and how they will fit into your company culture.

A great work portfolio can tell you a lot about a top-tier job seeker. Just because this job seeker isn’t sitting across from you in person, however, doesn’t mean you can’t delve into their former work in the video interview. With a little preparation you can use this work portfolio to make sure you nab the talent your company needs!

How can you use a candidate’s online work portfolio in the video interview? Share in the comments!

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Heather Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is the Career & Recruiting Advisor for Spark Hire. She writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets, and is the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010).