How to conduct a video interview online: tips for beginners

In recent years, online interviewing has become increasingly popular. Many recruiters and HR-managers appreciated this way of communicating with candidates – especially in a pandemic. And in some ways it is easier for applicants, because they can be interviewed in a comfortable environment.
“However, such interviews have their own specifics, and this should be taken into account in preparation”, says Alina Shevchenko, Lead IT Recruiter, INDIGO, based on personal experience.
Recruitment work often includes an online interview. The main goals of such an interview are the same as those of an in-person interview – to get the most detailed information about the future employee and to find out whether this specialist is suitable for your company or not.
Virtual interviewing has several obvious advantages, as it does not require inviting the interviewee to the office, the interview is conducted in a non-contact manner, both the recruiter and the applicant spend considerably less time, etc.
It is much easier for the recruiter to arrange video call interview at the appointed time, and it will be easier for the candidate to communicate in a home environment, where they will feel more comfortable and relaxed.
But this format also has its own peculiarities. For example, it is more difficult to understand the emotions of the interviewee, there are trivial technical difficulties (unstable Internet connection, for example), etc.
The most popular program for conducting video interviews is Skype. This tool is used by 75.5% of HR managers and recruiters. The remaining 24.5% is divided among Zoom, Hangouts, Telegram, Facetime and Viber.
interview online

How to conduct a successful online job interview?

In order for the video interview to be successful, it is necessary to prepare for it in good faith. Namely:

  • To coordinate everything. As in the case of an in-person interview, the webcam interview should take place at an agreed time. If a candidate fails to get in touch on time without a valid reason – this is the first unpleasant marker. Also, give advance notice that the camera should to be turned on (if it is not a preliminary interview by phone).
  • To work with the information. Prepare a list of questions in advance. Re-analyze the resume and, if possible, “monitor” on the candidate on LinkedIn, Facebook or other social networks. If you see inconsistencies, be sure to include them in your list of questions.
  • To check the technical part. Make sure in advance that the camera, microphone and software on your device work as they should.
  • To observe the candidate during the online meeting. Clothing, appearance in general can show how seriously the candidate took the interview. It is a good sign if he’s not sitting in his pajamas, but tries to look more formal, even at home.
  • To analyze reactions. In the course of the interview, watch the candidate’s emotions and reactions to certain questions or remarks.

According to Alina Shevchenko of INDIGO, it is extremely important to take notes during the web interview. “This will significantly simplify the further formation of the result of the interview and allow you to “streamline” your feedback”, emphasizes the expert.
fruits on the table

What software shall be used for video interviewing?

Software plays an important role in the recruitment process via online interviews. Among the most popular programs are Skype, Zoom, Hangouts, Telegram, Viber. They provide the minimum necessary set of tools – video transmission, sound, the ability to communicate even with a poor connection, etc.
But there are more advanced services that provide additional options. These include:

  • VCV. The service allows not only to communicate, but also to conduct tests for candidates. You can also connect chatbots to help with application gathering and pre-testing.
  • LinkedIn. The social network announced a feature whereby the recruiter can prepare a specific list of questions and the candidate needs to answer them beforehand. This helps with the initial screening process.
  • Equio. A program that allows candidates to be tested and provides communication to the company’s staff.

“In any case, it’s better for the recruiter to be flexible and adjust to the applicant. For example, not to make him work with a program he has not encountered, – says Alina. – Firstly, it will help to avoid unnecessary stress (because for candidates the interview is stressful to some extent), and secondly, it will help to connect to the call on time.”
how to do a video interview

Significant trivial matters

Clothing and “meeting background”. Despite the fact that the interview, which is held online, allows some democracy, in the eyes of applicants is better to look neat, businesslike, emphasizing that you represent a really solid employer.
As for the venue, as in the case of an in-person interview, it should be a self-contained area. Important are silence, good lighting, quality of the Internet connection, etc. The best thing is to try calling a colleague before the interview to make sure that you are “heard and seen”.
Humane communication. During an online interview, it is especially important to show that you are friendly to the applicant and that you are listening carefully. Smile, speak calmly, and clarify any points that piqued your interest. Pay considerable attention to the applicant’s motivation. If the candidate cannot explain it, or resorts to too generalized phrases – look closer.
Never interrupt in a course of a conversation without a good reason. It is preferable to make a note and ask a clarifying question after the complete answer. After the interview, be sure to tell the applicant what the deadline for a response on the candidate is; be sure to notify the applicant even if he or she is rejected.
Information recording. Regardless of what type of communication program you use, it’s better to turn the recording on when conducting video interviews. This will allow you to listen to the recordings again after several interviews and pay attention to any nuances that remained out of sight during the job interview. But! Virtual interview etiquette requires the candidate to be warned about the entry and obtain his consent. Yes – fine, no – means no.
Remote excursion. “If in the future a person will work in an office, then you can record a short video and send it after the interview,” recommends Alina Shevchenko. – After all, it will be interesting for the candidate to look at the “live” office, and not pictures. Or, if the recruiter himself works from the office, then you can conduct the so-called express tour right during the interview, after specifying whether it will be of interest to the applicant. If yes, then walk around with a laptop – a person will immediately see “living people”, the atmosphere. And this brings them together”, smiles the expert.
smiling people at the screen


As part of the search and selection of personnel in modern realities, video job interviews are one of the most effective and efficient tools. However, it has its own specifics and requires careful preparation. The recruiter may not notice any peculiarities in the candidate’s behavior due to the fact that the applicant is “at a distance”, during the online dialogue it is impossible to fully estimate gestures, body language, etc. Therefore, it is important to look for methods that will help you get to know the candidate better. Treat an online interview the same way you would treat an in-person one – study the resume and systematize all the information about the candidate, show your interest in it as much as possible, be organized and friendly.
In addition, a high-quality PABX will greatly facilitate the work of a recruiter and make it more efficient. With the help of such systems, you can collect a database of resumes, compare candidates with each other, schedule interviews and much more.


What is the best software to use for interviews?
It is better to meet the candidate halfway and clarify in advance what services are available to him, adjust to his capabilities. Thus, the degree of stress at the interview will decrease and there is less risk of disrupting the online meeting.
Can the interview be recorded if the candidate has not given his consent?
In no case. Be sure to notify the candidate about the recording, and if he disagrees (although this is not very common), do not record the interview, limit yourself to your notes.
Is it necessary to conduct an interview with a camera?
It is desirable, because, given the specifics of the interview, you need to see at least the face of the interlocutor in order to somehow try to “read” his emotions and reactions to certain questions. We are grateful to our expert – Alina Shevchenko, Lead IT Recruiter, INDIGO, for help in preparing the material