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Effective Video Interviewing KPMG SPARK

As an employer, you may need to continue hiring…even in the current environment. Follow these three simple steps to help you conduct effective and successful remote interviews over video.

By: Chrissy Gunther, Recruiting Manager, KPMG

Many companies have been utilizing video interviewing for several years.  Shhhh…we won’t tell them that you haven’t (!) but now you can take advantage and leverage this method.  In the current times, we may not have the luxury of meeting our prospective colleagues in person so interviewing over video is an excellent alternative and, frankly, if done with a little preparation, it can be as effective as traditional in-person interviewing. Remember, the end goal remains the same - in person or over video, you want to: 

  • convey a positive image of your organization, 
  • establish a good rapport, 
  • ask questions that determine the candidates’ qualifications against your open role description, and 
  • answer the candidate’s questions about the position and your company.

So what are the three easy steps for remote video interviewing?

  1. Lights, 
  2. Camera, 
  3. No DISTRACTIONS

Now go interview!

1. Lights

You will want to cast your company in the right light to ensure you’re making the best impression on your interviewees.  You certainly don’t want to lurk in the shadows so be sure to place a lighting source directly behind your laptop camera. Any lamp will do although if you must get fancy, a ring light used by many savvy YouTubers and professional anchors works wonders! Facing a window can also create ideal interview lighting as long as you are not in direct sunlight. Also avoid any light behind you as it will create a white out effect that can be distracting. The key to looking great in any light is to put it to the test – before you conduct the interview! 

2. Camera

Most laptops these days have high quality cameras built right into the hardware that can be utilized for video interviewing.  Depending on your organization’s policies, there are several video platforms that can be used such as Skype, Microsoft Teams, or Google Hangout, just to name a few.  Getting the camera at the best angle is critical to making a good impression and looking professional on camera.  Your face should be even with the camera on your laptop so it will require you to dust off a few old books or repurpose a cardboard box to place under your laptop so that the camera is slightly higher than eye level.  It may sound strange but trust us, it works! Candidates will appreciate that you are not looking down on them, literally.  

Always look directly into the camera as it will create a connection between you and the candidate on the other end. This is going to take practice but next to sound quality, it is one of the most important components of conducting a high quality video interview.  Similar to conducting in person interviews, be aware of your body language and the message it conveys.  Sit up straight, avoid rocking in your chair or tapping your foot while talking. You likely wouldn’t do any of those things in an in person interview so avoid them over video as well. 

3. No DISTRACTIONS

Select a quiet space that eliminates all potential distractions and interruptions from family members, kids, pets or door bells. An office with a door and a lock is the ideal location. In that space be certain that all clutter is cleared from behind you. There shouldn’t be any visual distractions competing with you.  

With many family members working from home these days, the quietest place may be a bedroom. If that is the case, don’t despair, however do everything humanly possible to select a background that is free of any personal items - especially your bed.  Positioning yourself 2-3 feet away from a wall with a simple piece of art or a plant in the background will do the trick but be sure to also secure a sturdy spot for your laptop and lighting. 

Since you prepared a quiet place to interview, you won’t likely encounter a disruption, but if you do, it doesn’t have to derail your video interview. Here’s some great advice: Simply apologize, enjoy a quick laugh and use it as a way to connect with the candidate on a personal level!  Just be cognizant of time and do your best to transition back to the interview so you can ensure you’ve accomplished the goal of the interview.  You may recall that clip from the BBC interview that went viral showcasing a toddler and baby crashing their fathers TV interview! An epic blunder worth checking out.

If you’ve completed the list above, take the last most critical step: check AND test your audio settings on your computer to ensure you have excellent audio quality for your video interview.  Earbuds or headphones are acceptable, however they can be distracting, so spending some extra time to confirm you have properly functioning audio will pay off. After all, if your candidate cannot hear you, what good are the other steps you took in preparation?

If you remember nothing else, LOOK INTO THE CAMERA as this will create a connection between you and the candidate.  Happy interviewing and stay well!

KPMG Spark is here to help with questions and concerns with your bookkeeping or tax accounting needs. Reach out to your KPMG Spark Bookkeeper with questions. Or you can contact us at 1-855-777-7696 or email us at help@kpmgspark.com

This blog article is not intended to address or provide advice concerning the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity and does not constitute an endorsement of any entity or its products or services.

Some or all of the services described herein may not be permissible for KPMG audit clients and their affiliates or related entities.

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