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How to Conduct a Video Interview

Video interviewing is a live, two-way electronic communication that allows two or more people in a different geographic location to engage in face to face and audio exchange.

Seeing as we now live in a webcam dominated world, the interviewer and interviewee only need a computer, webcam, microphone and internet access to conduct an interview. Or a more ambitious sophisticated job interview could take place using a television camera projected onto a television screen (rather than through a computer monitor).

Companies hiring at all levels, from entry-level to experienced professionals, are becoming increasingly comfortable using technology. This is demonstrated by the growth in internet recruiting. Video interviewing is becoming the next step in the recruitment process (Alison Doyle, the author of Guide to job searching: Tools and Tactics To Help You Get The Job You Want). It initially started with high tech companies using it, but greater diverse employers are increasingly aware of the benefits of using web-based video interviewing.

Alison Doyle further explained that interviews are “hard and stressful enough face to face for interviewees, let alone in front of a camera and microphone. It can seem like a scary proposition, even for those of us who are familiar with technology and use it on a regular basis”.

Bearing that in mind, I shall explore both the advantages and disadvantages of using web-based video interviewing.

Advantages of Video Interviewing:

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

You may be able to employ a candidate quicker due to video interviewing technology. You can conduct first-round interviews more quickly online using video interviewing rather than arranging in-person interviews. Video interviewing saves a lot of time, particularly when you or the potential employee can’t easily break away from your working life to travel to an interview. Video interviewing allows several locations to connect at once.

Fly Far Away... Or Not!

Video Interviewing provides enormous benefits to prospective interns and contract workers looking for jobs far away. Companies who fly temporary (or permanent) sales employees to work overseas may not see a face to face interview initially worthwhile budgetary wise (especially when the employee may only work abroad for a few months). Therefore a video interview can be more cost and time-effective.

Replay It Over And Over Again

Video interviewing allows consistency where all candidates can be asked the same questions. It provides you as a hiring manager the opportunity to replay, review and rate the interviews conducted. This will allow you to compare sales candidates without having to remember who said what or continuously review your notes that you scribbled down when interviewing face to face.


If you can show that your company uses technology in their stride, the potential employee is likely to be highly impressed, and you will portray an image of a forward-looking company.

Disadvantages of Video Interviewing:

Lag Time

A lag time can occur when compressed data is sent from one location to another. You will have to allow for a delay and try to not step on each other’s lines. Additionally, you may find that the interviewee and yourself unintentionally cut each other off mid-sentence.


Often the connections are not strong, resulting in both parties struggling to hear one another, which causes frustration and miscommunication. This could inevitably lead to a poor interview due to reduced quality, not due to the content of the interview.


If the lighting is too dim or, in fact, too bright, there is a chance that you may look too green or pale like a corpse – you don’t want to scare away potential employees before they are even employed!

Can You Perform Under Pressure?

When it’s your turn to speak, you have little time to look away, down, up, or sideways to process your thoughts or review the candidate’s application/CV – therefore, the pressure is on. When the green light goes on, the spotlight is on you, and unfortunately, it can sometimes seem like a quiz show with the employee playing the contestant and you, the host.

Learning Curve

Unless you have experience using video interviewing technology previously or have experience being on camera, it is often very daunting the first few times. Often you can look unnatural and uptight; however - practice will make perfect. Being on camera can seem a nerve-wracking experience for beginners where it is an entirely different interviewing experience rather than sitting in front of a candidate for a live interview.

Dress, Posture, Comfort

Many things do not come across on camera where some factors are accentuated, e.g. “Posture, dress and comfort” can get highlighted and bolded during a video interview.

Small Talk

During video interviews, you cannot use formal and friendly gestures such as handshakes and integrating talk to greet and depart from candidates. These gestures are vital and can help imprint pleasant memories for the candidate, and they essentially help you and your firm come across as friendly, polite and positive.


Technical Mishaps

Whilst dress and surroundings are largely within a candidate’s control – technical issues are not. Be patient if a candidate is having trouble with their equipment, and be prepared to provide them with a second shot at the video interview if there are a few teething problems the first time round.

Be Pro-Active

Send materials (if necessary) in advance so the interview can run smoothly with no halts. There is nothing worse than an ill-prepared interview.

Look Into My... Lens

Look directly at the camera as often as possible during conversation. It is only natural to look around occasionally but try to avoid rolling your eyes, looking at your watch or allowing your eyes to roam around the room as though you are looking for your chance to get away. Some people often also look down at the desk. Don’t! Especially if you have a shiny bald spot at the dome of your head.

Try also to not bend over the microphone. Imagine that the interviewee is sitting across the table from you.

Smile, Smile and yes, SMILE

Smiling is crucial and helps a candidate to relax. If you think about it, news reporters even smile when reporting disasters of nationwide proportions. Why? Because it looks better if you smile on camera!

Virtual Handshake

Unless the room is on fire, deliver a sign-off statement indicating that the interview is over. Saying something as simple as “Thank you for your time, I will be in touch shortly” can pleasantly end a video interview.

Mute It

Before leaving the room, remember to press the mute button – you wouldn’t want the candidate to hear any of your comments or feedback (especially if you were not impressed by them).


More and more employers are using video-based job interviews to screen candidates for employment. They can be as effective as an in-person interview; however, it is extremely important to understand how the process works so that you can interview professionally, effectively and successfully.

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About the author

Rob Scott

Rob is the Managing Director of Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, a national recruitment agency specialising in sourcing sales and marketing staff for businesses across a broad range of commercial sectors. Before setting up Aaron Wallis, Rob spent ten years at a specialist Sales and Marketing recruitment division of a £0.5BN recruitment group, leaving in 2007 as Marketing & Sales Director to establish Aaron Wallis.
With over 24 years of experience in sales recruitment, Rob is a History graduate with an MBA (Merit) and a PgCert in Management Practice.  In 2007, 2009 and 2013 Rob conducted the most extensive surveys of sales professionals in the UK and is a trusted authority in the sales industry. From guiding employers through the recruitment process to helping candidates find their dream job, Rob's advice has been quoted in leading publications such as Business Insider and The Independent, as well as OnRec, which host The Online Recruitment Awards every year.

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