Video Interviews – Tips For Employers

Jennifer Dembowski, PhD
May 18, 2020

Hey employers – with the recent upsurge in use of video interviews as part of the selection process, we’ve seen a lot of tips for job seekers surface from well-intended parties advising candidates to “beware” of common video interview blunders such as: small interruptions, background noise, technology glitches, poor lighting, patterned clothing and even wall color! One recruiting expert mentions that not being carefully prepared with a good video interview setting and setup can easily keep you out of the running.


While interviewing candidates via video is most certainly a necessity these days, at pymetrics we strongly encourage getting past the minor nuisances of a poorly lit room or how a patterned sweater looks on screen. Remember, many candidates are new to the video interviewing process, and some candidates have never been through a video interview before. Even experienced interviewees can choke as they try to get past the technological barriers of slow internet speed and unfamiliar software. At the same time, many interviewees are trying to assimilate to the human factor side of not speaking with you in-person. Furthermore, by prioritizing the above factors that are not relevant to a candidate’s likelihood to actually perform well in a role, interviewers may end up making decisions biased towards certain genders or socio-economic backgrounds. 


Looking for tips on how to pay attention to and score what’s relevant? See the list below.


1. Don’t place too much weight on poor audio/video quality. Most candidates will not have access to professional audio/video equipment, and a recent survey of millennials and young adults has indicated that at least 66% use their phone as their only means of internet connection.Try not to evaluate candidates based on poor audio/video quality. Instead, listen for what they describe are their prior accomplishments as they relate to the role. 

2. Don’t place too much emphasis on lighting or background. For the first time, many candidates have to use make-shift locations within their homes as an “office.” Many times, they are forced to use locations that are set away from family traffic, but are not the best in terms of lighting or background choices. The video background setting should not play a factor in one’s suitability for a job. Evaluate applicants based on their knowledge, skills, and abilities. 

3. Don’t worry about darting-eye contact. Most video interviewees have not been professionally trained on how to look at the camera and give eye contact during the video interview. Knowing where to look, even with picture-in-picture assistance, can be confusing. Typically, only people who’ve had training and practice will be able to focus “properly” on the camera at all times. Please don’t score candidates based on their eye contact, but on their competencies for the job and how they answer your questions.

4. Interruptions happen; move on! You may have been on a video call recently and the doorbell rings, the dog barks, your kid says “hey mom”, or countless other “life” interruptions occur. Our advice for the small interruptions is to ignore them like they didn’t happen. For the bigger interruptions, like an alarm blaring or sprinkler system going off, etc., simply reschedule the video interview for a better time, if possible. Then both parties can reset and refocus on the conversation at hand.    


In conclusion, in most typical cases where the candidate is doing their best to portray a professional image, pay more attention to what the candidate said, how they answered the questions, and their suitability for the job during the video interview session than on other irrelevant, contextual circumstances that may lead to partial hiring decisions that disadvantage certain groups of candidates. One-way, video interviews offer a way to fairly evaluate candidates consistently on job-related aspects. Candidates tend to prefer one-way interviews for their convenience, comfort, and scheduling factors. 

To learn more about our fair and efficient digital interview tool, head over to our Assessments page and continue to explore!