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Employment Today, HR Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Employment Today, HR Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Employment Today Magazine

Recruitment—Lights, camera, action

Technology is enabling HR professionals to have the flexibility to interview candidates when and where they want, says Eric Wong. He outlines some pointers that every HR person needs to know to conduct a successful video interview.

EVERY BUSINESS IS TRYING to increase the productivity of its people, and HR professionals are no different. Right now we’re seeing a trend emerging that is allowing us to defy distance, using video collaboration to help HR deliver increases in productivity, performance and engagement.

Polycom recently invited 5000 business professionals to participate in an online survey, How the World Defies Distance, to understand their unique collaboration challenges and how to overcome them.

More than 85 percent of respondents believed video conferencing was effective at helping achieve business objectives and goals and HR professionals said they will prefer using video collaboration as their top method of business communication within three years.

The majority of HR respondents (56 percent) indicated video would be their most preferred method of business communication, surpassing email (49 percent) and voice conference calls (32 percent).


HR professionals know better than most that we are seeing dramatic changes in the way we work. Technology is enabling us to have the flexibility to interview candidates when and where we want. For better work/life balance, many HR professionals are now conducting after-hours interviews from the comfort of their own home, alleviating late nights at the office.


Hayley Sullivan, human resources manager at Marsh New Zealand comments: “We use video conferencing for two main purposes. The first is in the area of recruiting where we are interviewing candidates either in other parts of New Zealand or overseas. The second is in reaching out to colleagues overseas.

“As Marsh is a global insurance broker, we are involved in meetings across the world and have found that using video conferencing helps build these relationships. In respect of recruitment, it helps build on our culture of utilising IT to maximise our capabilities.”

She continues: “The benefits of seeing a candidate means you can pick up on body language which you are unable to do over the phone. With us being a small HR team it means that if a manager in a different location wants the team to be involved in the selection process, then we can do this via video conferencing which is a more efficient use of resources.”


If you are new to interviewing over video, why not set some goals in the early days, say one to two interviews per week. The more you use video, the more comfortable you become. Good luck with your video interviews.


Set the agenda. Keeping a tight rein on timing during an interview is essential, particularly when interviewing candidates who are new to video. It is advisable to set the agenda upfront to ensure the interviewer can cover as much as possible in the allocated time. If the candidate needs to install a plug-in prior to first use, please let them know and ask them to log-in five minutes early.
Introductions (self and panel). When you are meeting someone over video for the first time, and having to rely on what you see on screen to judge body language, it is important that you take the effort to make the right first impressions. Treat an introduction over video like you would in a traditional meeting where you are in the same room. Nothing beats a good concise introduction of who you are and what you do in the organisation. If you are the first interviewer, make sure that the candidate has a brief idea of who else they will be meeting, ensuring they can plan and allocate the right questions to the right interviewer.
Presentation content. Using presentations enhances the richness of discussion over video. This is especially useful for candidates to illustrate and show content visually rather than just trying to articulate verbally. It helps you see their presentation style and how they articulate an idea. Most video conference room solutions allow meeting participants to easily share content.
Interview recording. Recording an interview can save time when making a final decision on candidates. Memory can get sketchy after interviewing numerous candidates and if a discussion is particularly engaging, notes can be overlooked. The ability to revisit recorded interviews to validate assessments can save you time and avoid making candidates go through an extra interview. Remember: do tell the interviewee up front that you wish to record the session.
Interviewing from anywhere. Having the flexibility to conduct an interview from home improves efficiency with interview scheduling, speeding up time to hire and contributing to improving company productivity. Make sure that you have a reliable internet connection, remember to check your tablet or laptop power supply and find a professional location to conduct the interview from, eg, home office.
Video etiquette. As much as we are assessing the candidate, we mustn’t forget that we need to create the right professional impression. Always check your background and lighting (especially if you are conducting the interview via video from your home office) to make sure it is appropriate. Although you may be joining the meeting from home, your candidate is most likely all dressed up. It is only polite to be attired as you would be in person.

ERIC WONG is head of Talent Acquisition & Development (APAC) at Polycom.

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