Video interviewing: why bother?


With coronavirus and an increasingly global corporate footprint, we're seeing higher demand than ever for video or remote interviews. Here are our top tips.


As coronavirus remains in the headlines and firms become increasingly global in footprint, we’re seeing higher demand than ever for video or remote interviews with firms such as Amazon taking the lead in making the switch from traditional face to face interviews. By removing most of the logistical hurdles, video interviews offer more flexibility and can be a hugely efficient alternative to in-person interviews, whilst adding greater insight into a candidate than a telephone interview.

Often approached with trepidation by both sides, they can be either very effective or a cause of undue stress. Here are some useful strategies to help get the most out of VC, Skype and other remote interview media:

It’s more faff than it’s worth

One of the most common reasons that remote interviews fail is due to tech issues, and there can be several negative implications including the interview not taking place.

  • Get the tech set up and tested in advance and make sure any log in details have been shared for a prompt start
  • Choose a reliable platform that usually works well at your end (whether that’s Skype, Bluejeans, Facetime etc) and ensure there’s a backup plan (even if that’s a phone call) when arranging the interview
  • Treat the remote interview with the same level of importance of a face-to-face; book a separate room with minimal background noise, ensure you’ve read the CV thoroughly first and turn off your emails and notifications
I can’t get a sense of what they’re like

It’s just harder to create rapport via a remote platform than it is in person. 

  • Setting an agenda verbally will put the candidate at ease and provide a framework for you to work through; this will make the conversation feel more natural and interactive.  It’s useful to be clear about your expectations of the interview, and sometimes to clarify your question, as intonation doesn’t translate as well on screen.  If the interviewee has a different first language to you, try to use plain language rather than local idioms
  • “I can’t get a sense of what they’re like” is a common reason we hear clients insisting on face-to-face interviews.  Construct competency interview questions in advance that screen against your firm’s values and expectations to ensure that your candidate has the opportunity to showcase clear examples of how they have delivered in the past and how they behave at work
  • Conclude with an honest timeframe around when the individual can expect feedback. Having time to reflect offline will allow you to make an unbiased decision and provide constructive feedback
I’ll do it if I really have to…

It’s very easy to approach VC / Skype interviews as a means to an end, but it is possible to achieve some of the indirect benefits of a face-to-face meeting, depending on your approach.

  • Taking time to provide a summary of your firm’s activities, culture and successes will help leave a good impression with the candidate regardless of whether you decide to take them forward in the process. They’ll talk to their peers, and if those conversations are good it will help any effort to enhance your brand amongst that population
  • Being clear about the organisation’s wider hiring objectives may provide you with referrals for other roles you’re hiring for
  • Questioning them about their team structure and probing on their market knowledge will help you build up a picture that enables you to understand how your candidate(s) benchmark versus the overall population, as well as understanding how much of that market you’ve talked to directly

For further discussions on how to optimise your recruitment process, regardless of obstacles you might be facing, get in touch with Lizzie Louis via on our Graduate team or Kathryn Pride via for experienced hires – we’d love to help. 

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