Tips for conducting a successful video interview

by Nicola Middlemiss16 Dec 2014
It’s free, it’s flexible and it’s (usually) fast so there’s no surprise that a growing number of employers are turning to Skype and other such platforms to interview potential new employees.

The amount of HR managers conducting video interviews has quadrupled in the last year alone – rising from just 14 per cent in 2013 to 63 per cent in 2014 – but with some employers relatively unexperienced in the world of online interviews, it can be easy to make some mistakes.

Online advice

Employment expert Erin Schreiner says it’s important that employers give applicants added help in preparation for the interview.  “For many, interviewing in this fashion is still a foreign process,” says Schreiner.

Instead of giving clipped directions and assuming the candidate will figure it out for themselves, Schreiner suggests offering some more in-depth advice.

“You may want to advise the interviewee to sign on to Skype several days prior to the interview to check the lighting in her room or position the camera properly,” says Schreiner. “If you plan to use Skype as an interviewing tool with regularity, prepare a tip sheet to give to your over-Skype interviewees with some answers to commonly asked questions and tips for Skype interviewing success.”

Location location location

Choose your location wisely. While online interviews are largely popular because they allow meetings to be held anywhere, they should still maintain a level of formality – regardless of where you are.

If you are at the office, be aware of what’s going on in the background. Find a tidy, quiet area where you’ll be completely free from interruptions.

Technology tips

“Instead of allowing the potentially novel use of Skype to add even more butterflies, put [you interviewee] at ease by explaining prior to the interview that should [they] have difficulty connecting via Skype [they] can contact your help desk.”

This is beneficial for both you and them as if you lose the connection with a particularly promising applicant, they’ll know exactly how to reconnect as smoothly as possible. Remember, you’re selling your company too and while technology glitches are bound to happen, it gives a good impression if you’re not flustered by them.

On the small screen
When preparing for an online interview, no matter if it’s your first or fiftieth, think about how to make the experience more natural.
Ensure there is ample natural light directed onto your face, rather than from behind where it’ll cast a dark shadow. Also, avoid leaning into the webcam or sitting too close as it can cause distortion. These are all things that can make you look like a novice and give a bad impression to prospective employees.
Inevitable delays
Expect a delay, says Schreiner. “While the strength of your Internet connection will determine the degree to which a delay is a problem, there is commonly at least a slight delay when using Skype. Allow for this, allowing a long pause between the interviewee’s answer to a question and the start of your next query to ensure that you don’t speak over [them].”

If your job candidate seems to be having a difficult time accommodating this delay, encourage her to allow this extra pause time, too.


  • by Samuli / 16/12/2014 8:28:06 PM

    Thank you for great tips regarding Skype/video interviews!

    One thing to consider when choosing your video interviewing platform is to choose whether you want to use live video interviews (Skype) or so-called on-demand video interviews. The latter option removes you completely from the need of scheduling interviews, and can help you save much more time & resources than live video interviews. Also, on-demand video interviews don't require that much from your internet connection - no need to worry about Skype lag.

    Here's couple of examples of on-demand video interviews, worth checking out:

    Thank you for a great blog post & have a great week!


  • by Spark Hire 17/12/2014 4:04:56 AM

    Being in the video interviewing space, here at Spark Hire we are definitely seeing the popularity of video interviewing technology growing by the day. It's a very exciting time and we're happy to be a part of it!

    As you said, more and more companies are seeing the value in implementing video interviews into their recruiting and hiring process. Hiring managers are able to improve collaboration among team members so that everyone is able to weigh in on a potential hire. This ensures that smart hiring decisions are being made. The One-Way video interview, our most popular feature, allows employers to shorten their screening process and gain more insight on a candidate than they would when conducting the typical phone interview.

    We recently launched a free e-Course that will be very beneficial to recruiters and will help them become video interviewing experts in just a few days. The “5-Day Crash Course to Video Interviewing” will go over basic information about video interviews, best practices, and strategies for ensuring a great candidate experience:

  • by Keegan Ocepek 18/12/2014 4:08:49 AM

    Nice article, @Nicola. Attention to details regarding lighting, sound, and operable technology are certainly sound advice. And when it comes to recruiting – features like auto-scheduling, recording, and sharing interviews can elevate the hiring process all together. Recruiters and candidates can quickly connect – skipping the back and forth of phone tag and schedule conflicts. RIVS Digital Interviews is a cloud-based interviewing platform that seamlessly wraps into your ATS and empowers you with the tools to help you visually screen, build, and zero in on your optimum candidate pool. Five years ago, video stepped into the hiring process. But we’re taking it much further. RIVS helps companies maximize time, HR budgets, and helps to build competitive advantage by navigating the masses and reaching right-fit candidates, fast. Click here ( for a read about how introducing digital interviewing can transform the hiring process.

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