Video interviewing: 6 tangible tips to make candidates comfortable

As a hiring manager that’s got lots of positions to fill by yesterday, wouldn’t it be nice if in every video interview, you saw each candidate at their best instead of nervously stumbling over their sentences?

What if we told you that you have the power to drastically improve the way candidates perform in their video interview?

Video interviews are daunting experiences and part of your role as a hiring manager is knowing how to make candidates feel comfortable. And whilst you may have been a pro at doing this in face-to-face interviews, going virtual is a completely different kettle of fish.

First off, let’s dive into some of the differences between face-to-face and video interviews, and how they can prevent candidates from coming to life.

What are the disadvantages of video interviews?

1. There’s no time for the candidate to acclimatise

In a face-to-face interview, candidates usually have 15 minutes to sit in reception and take in the surroundings. But with video interviews, the candidate’s thrown straight into the mix the second you press that ‘allow access’ button. From that moment, it’s showtime. There’s no pause for the candidate to compose themselves and get used to the setup.

This can lead to a bad bout of interview stage fright - not pretty!

2. The candidate can’t see your body language

Did you know that 55% of your message is communicated via body language? So when it comes to video interviews, much of that communication is lost because you can only see what’s shown on the screen. So if you’re a hiring manager that naturally uses a lot of open body language, there’s a strong chance the interviewee won’t pick up on that in a video interview.

3. The candidate can’t experience the company culture

One of the main drawbacks to video interviews is that the candidate doesn’t get an opportunity to tour the office, meet other team members or feel the company culture. If you’ve got an office culture that’s upbeat with plenty of smiling faces, the candidate’s not going to know anything about that. This can result in the interviewee feeling slightly detached and less able to relate to the company.

How to make candidates more comfortable in a video interview

To overcome these obstacles, The People Pod has put together our top tips for bringing the best out of your candidates in a video interview.

1. Send an interview brief

Interview briefs are particularly important for video interviews and should always be sent a couple of days in advance. Not only does this help candidates know what to expect, but you’ll also be less likely to meet a rabbit in headlights. Win win!

What to include in an interview brief for candidates:

  • The time and approximate length of the interview
  • The dress code
  • The format of the interview
  • The interviewer names and job titles
  • Anything the candidate needs to prepare

2. Be personable

For a candidate, there’s nothing more impersonal than entering into an interview and you, as the hiring manager, have to take a moment to revise the candidate’s CV to work out who they are and what they’ve done.

Now we know you’re busy but this can make candidates feel insignificant and knock their confidence in what’s already a really daunting situation. Just taking 5 minutes before the interview to refresh your memory is a much better move. Look for any common ground from their CV that you can discuss at the start of the interview to warm the candidate up.

3. Start the interview with an overview

Before you start firing questions at your interviewee, start the interview with a bit of an intro into your role and the company. This allows the candidate to settle their nerves and acclimatise before the spotlight inevitably falls on them.

Now, you’re probably thinking: Well shouldn’t the candidate be telling us what they know instead of the other way round?

Of course, you want to see that the candidate’s done their research so make sure you leave certain things for them to talk about, such as values, services etc.

4. Ramp up your body language

So we already know that body language accounts for 55% of any message you’re trying to communicate, remember? And we also know that video interviews naturally reduce the amount of body language on offer, right?

Therefore, all signs point to ramping up your body language in video interviews.

How employers can use body language in a video interview

  • Nod in understanding as the candidate speaks
  • Sit upright
  • Make a conscious effort to smile
  • Talk straight into the camera to create more eye contact
  • Record the session so you’re less dependent on note-taking
  • Don’t fold your arms
  • Speak with your hands

5. Make the candidate laugh

Don’t get us wrong… we don’t expect you to morph into Peter Kay any time soon, but mention a little something that’ll put a smile on their face. Humour’s a powerful tool for creating a connection between people. Once your interviewee is laughing, they’ll feel more at ease and more likely to step into their own. Mission accomplished.

6. Invite questions from the candidate

Although this may seem like an obvious one, often candidates feel more comfortable asking questions if they know they’re welcomed.

Whether you prefer questions throughout the interview or at the end, that’s your call. But just make sure you state this at the beginning of the interview.

Video interviews are undoubtedly a great way to streamline your time to hire, but it’s important that employers are aware of the differences they can pose too. In order to make candidates feel comfortable, hiring managers need to modify their interviewing technique to compensate for anything lost from the face-to-face process.

Still struggling to find outstanding candidates?

Speak to one of our consultants today to find out how we can bring you fantastic talent in plentiful supply. Tel: 01204 589 555 Email:

Share This Post

Get in Touch