Simple Strategies for Conducting Successful Video Interviews

by | Last updated on Mar 1, 2024 | Published on Aug 18, 2017 | Media Transcription

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Best Practices for Conducting Video Interviews

The increasing popularity of video conferencing platforms has revolutionized the way video interviews are conducted, making them more feasible and convenient than ever. Supported by interview transcription services, video interviews have become a crucial component of various aspects such as the hiring process, news reporting, article writing, research papers, and more.

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Despite the inability to meet the interviewee face-to-face, video interviews offer valuable opportunities for both the interviewer and interviewee to form crucial initial impressions. For example, when conducted effectively, a job interview conducted via video can speed up the hiring process and facilitate accurate candidate evaluation. Moreover, the interview itself holds significant influence over a candidate’s decision to proceed with the company. That’s why it is of utmost importance to ensure that video interviews are well-organized and uphold a standard of professionalism. When engaging in virtual interviews, being well prepared and practicing proper etiquette is essential.

Here is some guidance and best practices to conduct successful video interviews:

Top Tips for Conducting Successful Interviews

Prepare well
Spend time preparing on your subject as well as the topic that will be discussed. Know your goals. For example, good journalists would have already gathered basic background information on the person before the interview. This will also save time during the face-to-face and allow you to focus on key issues.

Test the technology
There are numerous video interview applications. Choose the appropriate one for your needs, install the equipment in advance, and test it to familiarize yourself with it. Research whether candidates require specific login credentials, an email address, or a platform download to join the conversation. Provide this information well in advance so that they can test the software. Make sure they know how to set up video and audio, mute themselves, share screens, and use the chat function. Address common issues by researching and practicing solutions based on feedback from other software users.

Use the right techniques
Think about the interview techniques you need to use to encourage your subject to give responses that will result in an interesting video. Ask open-ended questions that begin with ‘where’, ‘what’, ‘how’, ‘when’ and ‘why’ to elicit informative answers and provide solid information. On the other hand, closed-ended questions that can be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ can be useful when you need a definite answer to a question. However, they don’t encourage the interviewee to expand on the subject. Using the right interview techniques can win the trust of your subject and allow you to create a complete story.

Forbes reported on how Larry Ellison was interviewed by a veteran magazine reporter when Oracle was a startup on a rapid rise. Though the subject was corporate strategies related to database software, the reporter began by asking Ellison where he was born and raised. Ellison spoke about his childhood – how he was raised by a single mom and spent much of his youth on the streets of Chicago. This went on to become a key factor of the Ellison persona and the Oracle’s aggressive competitive style.

Be flexible
Best practice is to prepare your questions in advance, but you should be flexible too. Let the conversation flow naturally and you may discover something interesting or new which is of interest to your audience. It’s not advisable to send advance questions as it will look scripted and cover limited ground.

Make small talk
The main objective of small talk is to quickly establish a positive rapport with the person you are conversing with. Having the skill to initiate and maintain light and casual conversations is a great way to break the ice at the beginning of an interview, during meetings, or while interacting with executives and clients.

Ask them how the day went or how they plan to spend the weekend. This will put them at ease before you begin the interview. The goal of engaging in small talk is to convey your genuine interest in the meeting or conversation and to create a relaxed atmosphere. Generally, people prefer to do business with individuals they feel at ease with, making small talk an effective tool for building connections.

Listen and maintain eye contact
Remember that listening skills are critical for understanding and learning. Ask your question and listen attentively. Empathize – this will build trust. Don’t interrupt as your subject talks, but nod and smile to show you are listening. This will yield a lot more information than you expect.

Maintaining effective eye contact remains crucial, though this can be challenging during video interviews. Aim to look directly into your webcam as you speak, resisting the temptation to glance downward at the person displayed on your computer screen. This approach creates the impression of maintaining strong eye contact with them.

Step softly, don’t interrogate
The interview is about the person you are talking to and to reveal them, you need to develop a soft style that coaxes to draw out revealing, useful responses. Leave interrogation to the police! Using a gentle style and establishing a personal rapport with your subject can elicit revealing answers.

Last but not least, meticulous note-taking is crucial during video interviews. Given the screen-centric setting, it becomes somewhat more demanding, necessitating additional diligence in jotting down notes while progressing through the interview. The ideal strategy would be to get the recordings of your interview transcribed by a competent audio transcription company. Evaluating the verbatim transcripts will help you understand where you need to improve and help you polish your interview techniques.

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