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How to Conduct a Video Interview with a Candidate: 3 Keys for Success

There are pros and cons of interviewing someone on video instead of in-person. On the positive, video interviews save time and money since candidates and hiring teams do not need to travel in order to meet. In addition, video interviews make it easy for team members in other cities or countries to attend.

On the negative, it can be more challenging to build rapport with a candidate on video. In addition, there could be tech issues on either side that could make the interview experience less than ideal. In this article, you will learn three keys for success when you conduct a video interview with a candidate.

1. Create a professional setup for the interview.

A professional setup is essential for making a positive impression with the candidate and for providing an optimal experience. Here are three key areas to focus on:

  • Lighting: If possible, set up your laptop/webcam at eye level, and make sure you are facing a large window. The right height for your laptop and the natural light through the window will give you the most flattering appearance. Try to avoid having a large window next to you or behind you, as those setups can cast shadows over your face or make it harder to see your face. Regardless of your setup, the time of day and the amount of sunlight coming in through your window can impact your appearance on video. Check your setup 15-30 minutes beforehand, so you can make any necessary adjustments to the lighting in the room.
  • Background environment: Keep your background environment simple, and make sure there is nothing distracting in the frame of your video. There should be no visible clutter, pets, or other people walking around. A boring but safe option is to have a blank wall a few feet behind you. If you want to be more creative, consider having a plant or a bookshelf behind you. Another option is a virtual background. Whatever you decide, keep it simple, and aim for less, not more. You should be the center of attention, not your background.
  • Sound and internet connection: Beautiful lighting and a professional background environment are irrelevant if you run into problems with your audio or internet connection. Test your tech before the video interview to make sure everything is working. If you are concerned about background noise, you can use a headset or headphones for better sound.

The right setup makes a big difference. Invest some time before the video interview to make sure you are presenting the right image.

2. Invite other people to join.

One of the biggest benefits of a video interview is that you can invite other people to join- even if they are located in another city or country. For example, I once completed an executive search for a company headquartered in New York. One of the company’s investors was based in California, and one of their advisors was based in Sweden. However, thanks to video, all of us were able to join the company’s CEO for the final interviews with each of the finalists. It would have been virtually impossible (and very expensive) if we had all tried to meet in-person.

In addition to having other members of the hiring team join your video interview, you could also invite someone from your staff to join the video for note-taking purposes. That way, the hiring manager can focus on the conversation and not have to worry about taking notes.

3. Pay extra attention to your body language and energy.

When you interview someone on video, it can be easy to forget about your body language. For example, I once joined a hiring manager (let’s call him “Jim”) for a video interview with a candidate. In-person, Jim is very engaging and friendly. However, his body language on video was the complete opposite. He had no energy, and he rarely smiled. As a result, he looked completely uninterested during much of the conversation – even though he really liked the candidate and ended up making him an offer.

Body language is even more important during a video interview. Make sure to sit up straight, maintain good eye contact, and smile throughout the conversation. These simple actions will send a positive message to the candidate and make it clear that you are engaged in the discussion.

P.S. Looking for more help with your company’s executive recruiting efforts?

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About the author: As the Founder of Stronger Talent, Pete Leibman recruits exceptional leaders for innovative sports, fitness, and wellness companies. Throughout his career, Pete has helped clients recruit exceptional leaders at the Board, C-Suite, Senior Vice President, Vice President, General Manager, Managing Director, and Director levels. Pete’s work has been featured on Fox News, CBS Radio, and, and he is the author of two books and over 250 articles on career management, peak performance, and executive recruiting.

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