Recruitment advice, job seeker support and company news

Improve Your Video Interview Style

17th July 2020

One thing for sure is that COVID-19 forced us to get more comfortable with video communication and it is now a crucial element in the remote recruiting experience, building rapport and enabling deeper information gathering.

We may be acquainted with forming connections online, but it comes much more intuitively to Gen Z than any demographic before them. From Milkround research, online communications have increased by just 11% during the COVID-19 pandemic for Gen Z, whereas it increased by 78% for Baby Boomers.

Depending where you're at on the digital dexterity scale your candidates may be more comfortable and adept at communicating on a video channel than you are.


From social apps, Facetime and Whatsapp, to business collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams or bespoke candidate interview software like Odro or Hinterview, there's a plethora of tools. When the video is recorded, it's important that the candidate understands and agrees to how their personal data is processed and retained.

Whichever tool you adopt, give every user in your business time to get accustomed to it, they shouldn't be taking interviews with no idea of how the tool works.


Whether you are recruiting from home, or you have returned to work, there are some basic steps to ensure your set-up is good to go:

  • Good internet connection.
  • Keep the background as simple as possible so as not to be distracting. The virtual background in Zoom may be a fun feature but it can often make the speaker's head look separated from their body!
  • Choose a quiet room where you won't be disturbed, or use a good headset that minimises noise transmission.
  • Don't sit in the dark! Light on your face is most flattering, so sitting in front of a window is ideal.
  • Follow the dress code that reflects your company culture, it's back to our point about making a good impression. You need to look like you've bothered to get ready too.
  • Look directly at the camera and ensure it is positioned so that the applicant can see all of your face clearly, not just up your nose!
  • We haven't tried it but if you are using Zoom you might enjoy the touchup function (Settings – Meetings –Touchup).
  • Get yourself comfortable, practice makes perfect and, record yourself. The play-back will show you what needs to be fixed.
  • Switch off all other devices so you are not distracted by pinging notifications or calls.
  • Don't be on time, be early.

Do Your Homework

One of our biggest bug-bears is the lack of interview diligence shown by some interviewers. You shouldn't just "wing it". Now is a great opportunity to review your approach to interview preparation. Carefully review the job description against the candidate profiles. Refresh your memory by re-watching the application videos (if you used this type of application screening) and examine the psychometric assessment reports. Follow an outline that includes your introduction, prepared questions and close, but don't let it restrict you from relevant tangents in the conversation.

Refresh your memory by re-watching the one-way videos and psychometric assessment reports.

Take an interest in the candidate's video background. They're probably in their home too and there may be points of interest or cues that are useful icebreakers or conversation starters.

There's no reason to change the format of your usual interview protocol if it focuses on finding out about the person behind the CV profile. But if you would like some help crafting the best behaviour fit interview questions check out our blog post on the STAR Interview Process.

Reiterate your company's vision, values and culture, set expectations around workload, performance management and accountability. Focus your questions on determining culture and behaviour fit, investigating performance statements made in the CV, as well as other important criteria for our current times such as adaptability, resilience and emotional intelligence.


Throughout the recruitment process, it's not just the employer trying to work out if the candidate is suitable – it works both ways. In this environment, you are the company ambassador and it is important that you make eye contact, smile, show personality and talk clearly. Be welcoming and encouraging.

You may interview applicants who are very concerned about job security. Demonstrate the longevity of the position, discuss team qualities and focus on what makes your business resilient.

Find the balance between speaking and listening and be really aware of your facial expressions. Oh, and remember, the mute button only turns audio off, it doesn't prevent a candidate from reading your lips.

Encourage the candidate to ask questions on points of interest and clarifications.

The mute button only turns audio off, it doesn't prevent a candidate from reading your lips!

Finally, a word of caution, while you have a great set-up facilitated by employer sourced tech, it may not be the case for your candidate and this may impair their ability to shine during the video interview.

This post is part of our Guide To Remote Recruiting, the complete guide is available for you to download: TMM Recruitment Guide To Remote Recruiting.

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