We’re still in unprecedented times and, although some of us are slowly returning to normality, the webcam still seems to be our best friend. Going inside a co-worker’s spare bedroom probably never crossed any of our minds before, yet here we are – we’re seeing inside homes, albeit digitally.
For many of us, we’ve now adapted to this new way of life. What started out as makeshift offices are now expertly decorated with bookshelves and quirky artwork in view of the camera. We’ve created working environments and, months into lockdown, we’re now in the new normal.
So, how does this work for interviewing people?
We can’t invite them into the office and make sure everyone is on their best behaviour anymore, we’re conducting interviews from our home offices! To make things even more nerve-wracking for the candidate, we’re (digitally) inside their home as well. With things likely to stay this way for a while, we thought it might be a good time to give some top tips for interviewing candidates over webcam.
Before we even get to the visual and technical preparation – let’s get prepared for the interview. Write a brief ‘elevator pitch’ about the company that you can share with the candidate to begin the call – who, what, where, why etc. Script your questions – try to stick to these. Grab a pen and paper and have a copy of the candidate’s CV. If you can print it out, that’s even better.
Make sure you are all set up
It goes without saying, really, to ensure that your surroundings are presentable. Don’t have the laptop on your knee, ensure the lighting is ok and position yourself so that you are sitting professionally and you are clearly visible on camera. One way to check this is by using your laptop’s camera beforehand. Search for camera settings and make sure it looks ok. Check the audio and video beforehand with a colleague or friend. Make sure everything is working and the framing of the shot is ok. If you use two screens, make sure that the camera and the interview screen are on the same device – otherwise you’ll look like you’re looking away from the candidate!
Close down anything on your device that you don’t need for the interview, this will stabilise your internet connection (you need around 1mbps speed to conduct a video call). Make sure others in your household know that you cannot be disturbed. This includes family members walking behind you – it will distract the candidate and you may not get their best answers.
Turn off your phone!
Turn your phone onto silent and turn it over. If you can, turn it off, but if not – silent will do. This will stop you glancing down at messages. You wouldn’t do that in a real interview! The same goes for the TV; turn it off. You are not interviewing the Loose Women panel; your candidate deserves your full attention!
Once you are ready, it’s time to speak to your candidate. Make sure you take the time to introduce yourself, your role in the company and use your elevator pitch that you prepared earlier. Give them a brief idea of how long you expect the interview to last and an outline of how it will be conducted so they know what to expect. If there are other colleagues on the call, introduce them by name and job title and perhaps how long they have been with the business.
Body language is everything!
When you ask questions, look into the camera and not the screen. This subtle eye level difference will make the candidate feel like you are talking directly to them. Make sure you smile, nod and use gestures when talking – as you would in a real interview!
Once the interview is over, and the candidate has had chance to ask their questions too, say goodbye. If they are successful in the interview, try to engage with them straight after with a video about the company or a presentation. Ensure you show why you think they and the company would be a good fit. Share your company social media channels and visuals that will show the culture and people in the business.
Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list, but we think it’s a good start. If you need more advice we’re happy to help, and you can get in touch with us on 0114 321 1873 or firstname.lastname@example.org