Video Interview Preparation Before Interview As A Recruiter (Guide)

Written by
Georgina Swain
Last updated:
Created on:
May 2, 2022

Key Takeaways: Interview Preparation Tips for Recruiters

  1. Prepare for the application stage: Send agendas, reminders, instructions, and expectations via email.
  2. Set up pre-recorded video interviews: Use open-ended direct questions, set time limits, and provide submission deadlines.
  3. Prepare for video recordings: Ensure proper lighting, tidy background, and optimal camera positioning for both recruiters and candidates.
  4. Equip yourself for live interviews: Bring agenda notes, question lists, note-taking methods, and pre-answered FAQs.
  5. Implement post-interview next steps: Use rubrics for job and company culture alignment, involve stakeholders, document scores, and make decisions.
  6. Follow up with candidates: Inform them of the next steps or decisions made in the hiring process.

Alrighty, recruiters. It’s time to get on the phone with some candidates. 

Or is it? 

With video interviews, candidates could be recording their responses while you’re asleep. This has great benefits in terms of time savings and efficiency for high-volume hiring, but it also means you need to prepare differently for the process from start to finish. 

We know this pain all too well at Willo, so we put together a checklist you can use to make sure you’re ready for anything that comes along. 

PS - You can make your own copy of this checklist HERE to keep for your records or share with colleagues. 

Candidate experience prep

It’s critical that candidates have a good experience with your recruiting process. If you hire them, they will be happier on day one. If you don’t hire them, you’ve removed the ability for them to complain or criticize you publicly. 

Application-stage preparation

  • Send the candidate the agenda for the call via email (you can automate this in most video interview tools)
  • Send the candidate a 24 hour and morning-of reminder (either of a scheduled live interview or a deadline to submit pre-recorded videos) 
  • Provide instructions on how candidates can request accommodations if they need any
  • If you need them to bring anything to the interview or demonstrate something in a pre-recorded, say so explicitly in the reminder email
  • Remind the candidate of any tips or expectations you’ll have of them on video (for instance, light on their face)

Pre-recorded video interview setup 

  • Make questions clear
  • Set time limits on answers (usually 1-3 minutes per question for short questions, 3-5 minutes for more open-ended questions)
  • Make sure candidates know they have unlimited attempts to record (it’s not a test!)
  • Set deadlines to submit videos so that candidates can plan around their own schedule
  • Give a way for candidates to ask questions if concerned or confused

Video prep

Whether live or pre-recorded, the candidate will still be on a video. You may even choose to record videos of yourself asking the questions. That requires some prep.

Getting ready to be on camera (For both recruiters and candidates)

  • Have a light shining on your face (a ring light is best, but you can also use a lamp without a shade on it)
  • Clean up the background behind you or use a background image if you can’t tidy up for any reason
  • Position your camera to show as much of your torso as possible (if you zoom in on head only, you lose out on showcasing body language)
  • Set up in a quiet room or space (if you can’t, use a tool like Krisp to eliminate background noise)

Note: You can share this portion of the checklist with candidates as well, since the tips apply whether they are doing live or pre-recorded videos.

What to bring to a live interview (For recruiters)

You can skip this section if you’re doing asynchronous video interviews.

  • High level agenda notes to keep yourself and the candidate on track
  • The list of questions you want to ask (Inclusion tip: Ask all candidates the same questions in the same order so everyone’s on a level playing field)
  • Have a way to take notes (but try to limit note taking so you can truly engage with the candidate)
  • Pre-answered FAQs that a candidate may ask so you can easily share on the call or in an email after the fact

Post-interview next steps

Here’s what to have in place so you can seamlessly identify the next steps for all candidates. 

  • Rubric aligning to the job posting to grade candidates
  • Rubric aligning to company culture and vision statements you can use to grade candidates
  • Share relevant answers with stakeholders for their perspective and notes or feedback
  • Document candidate grade or score within your interview software for easy recollection (and to avoid duplication)
  • Make a go-forward or no-go decision for each candidate
  • Follow up with the candidate to let them know what’s next (including if they are turned down)

You may have more industry or job-specific tasks, and that’s alright. You’re welcome to copy the checklist from HERE and customize it to your needs. And if you found this checklist valuable, chances are your colleagues will too - forward this article to them.

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