Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

4 Video Interviewing Etiquette Tips for Hiring Managers

The job market is constantly changing. Just as hiring pros figure out how to manage record-breaking low unemployment rates, there’s a major shift leaving employees laid-off and frantically searching for new employment. Both of these situations make it easy to ignore interview etiquette. 

Hiring managers don’t disregard the advice of Miss Manners on purpose. The problem is, they’re often too stressed and busy to be aware. A packed schedule, however, is no excuse for ignoring proper video interviewing etiquette. 

Every job market scenario leaves the war for talent rages. That’s because not all candidates are created equally. And just like you need to be impressed by your candidate in a video interview, they should be impressed with you, your company, and your hiring process. If they’re not, you’ll miss out on top talent your company needs to succeed in today’s idea-driven economy. 

As a recruitment professional, you represent a candidate’s first insight into your company and its culture. Therefore, you need to positively represent your workplace. 

Here are a few video interviewing etiquette tips to keep talent on the edge of their seats, hoping for a job offer:

Check your connection

The most important preliminary step you need to take before your live video interview is to check your internet connection to make sure it’s not lagging. It’s tough to have a stellar video interview if you’re on a faulty connection. Additionally, it’s challenging to impress the best candidates and convince them to join the company if technology in your screening process isn’t optimal. 

Keep in mind you invited the candidate to this video interviewing experience. There should be no technical kinks from your end. Before conducting the interview, double-check your Internet connection and maybe even perform a test interview with a coworker to make sure everything is working smoothly.

Find the correct webcam placement

Depending on what kind of computer you’re using, you may need to adjust your web camera settings. It’s important for the candidate to be able to see your face so they feel they’re part of a serious face-to-face interview. After all, you want your video interviewing experience to approximate an in-person meeting. 

It’s important both parties can see each other for better communication, both verbal and nonverbal. Since non-verbal accounts for a full 55% of all communication, according to research by Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of Silent Messages, you need to see and be seen. 

Conversely, make sure to position your webcam so your face is visible but not overwhelming the whole screen. You might be ready for your close-up, but candidates would prefer to see you at a professional distance to enhance the video experience.

Stage to impress

A vital piece of video interview advice given to all job seekers is to pay attention and understand the importance of staging. As a hiring manager, if you see a candidate’s pile of dirty laundry in the corner of their otherwise excellent video resume, it will make a negative impression at the beginning of the hiring process. The same, however, is true for you. Candidates are evaluating your company based on their research and the scant information they can glean from their video interview.

Make sure to choose a clean, professional background to conduct your interviews. Your desk may be messy because you’re swamped. However, if it ends up in the frame, it’ll just look like you’re disorganized. Take some time to clean out your interviewing space and focus on making sure you have the right lighting. The image you present to top talent should be poised and professional rather than chaotic.

Be present

The most important tip of all is to be present in your video interview. It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming a candidate won’t notice when your attention has wandered like during a traditional in-person interview because they aren’t sitting in the chair across from you. But candidates know when you aren’t listening. Nothing will leave a worse impression on top talent regarding you and the organization.

Even if you’re busy, the video interview is not the time to check your email or glance at your phone. You might not think a candidate will notice because of the video format. But they’ve made a mental note of your drifting attention span and it may impact their future decisions. 

The best way to combat this is to be 100% present during your video interview. Make plenty of eye contact and ask thoughtful, relevant follow-up questions. This way, when you’ve found a great candidate, you’re already well on your way to building a positive relationship.

Whether talent is rapidly entering the applicant pool or hiring is tough because competitors are holding tight to top employees, you need to meaningfully engage in the interview to avoid losing talent. Remember the interview is the first glimpse of the company most candidates will get. You want this to be a positive experience that will leave them wanting to learn more about their potential future job opportunity and a prospective employer.

Transform Your Hiring Process with Video Interviewing

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).