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5 Red Flags to Watch for During Video Interviews

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interviewing is slowly taking over as one of the go-tos for organizations interested in lowering costs and finding the best talent on the market.


According to Aberdeen's 2013 The Curious Case of Video Interviewing: Reducing Costs and Improving Efficiency report, 32 percent of organizations are investing in video-interview software for external hiring (33 percent), sourcing (33 percent), internal hiring (16 percent) and talent pooling (6 percent).

When combined with results from Software Advice's survey of nearly 400 professionals that suggest once an applicant participates in a video interview they're 47 percent more likely to prefer them over other methods, it's easy to see why video interviewing is becoming more commonplace.

Related: Make Interviewing Job Candidates Less Scary and More Effective With These 10 Tips

The key for organizations and the HR professionals conducting or reviewing these video interviews is knowing what to look for to separate the best job candidates from the rest of the field. Here are five things every interviewer should look out for during a video interview:

1. Environment

When interviews are conducted in an office, it's hard to gain insight into the candidate's personal life. Video interviews are a different story. Often, video interviews take place with the candidate at home, in front of his computer.

Take in the environment. Is it well-prepared? Has the candidate removed pictures or posters from the wall so you don't see them? Has he organized the area around him?

Candidates who choose not to tidy up their environments or who choose a busy environment with multiple distractions (roommates, television noise, phone ringing, etc.) are showing low levels of organization and an inability to conceptualize how small things such as these may play into the bigger picture of hireability.

2. Rehearsed answers

It's good to watch out for canned responses during any type of interview. While they do show a (somewhat) admirable level of preparation, they keep interviewers from obtaining insight into how candidates think on their feet.

Since video interviewees can manipulate what's seen on camera before starting the interview, it's important to look out for cue cards, notebooks or other aids that might give candidates a leg up during the interview.

Good candidates will be polished. They will have done their research and prepared themselves for different topics. They won't seem like they're afraid to elaborate on a follow-up question, and when they're asked a question they aren't ready for, they'll take a moment to gather their thoughts instead of getting agitated or flustered.

Related: 5 Questions That Reveal Whether a Job Candidate Is Startup Material

3. Body language

In a survey of 2,100 hiring and HR managers released in January, CareerBuilder found the failure to make (65 percent) and failing to smile (36 percent) to be the top two body language mistakes a candidate can make.

In an in-person interview, both of these can be easy to spot, but video interviews are a little more nuanced. Keep an eye out for shifting eyes that never really rest on the camera. If a candidate continuously looks to the same spot in the room, take note. He or she could have someone assisting them.

4. Tech issues

When Software Advice polled respondents about the most significant drawbacks of video interviewing, its researchers found 27 percent of respondents were worried about potential connectivity issues when video interviewing. As an interviewer, poor connection or technological issues can be a strong indicator of how conscientious a candidate is.

If your candidate is in a public space with a poor connection or at home having connection problems, it shows the candidate didn't take the time to check their connection before the interview started -- a sign of not being prepared. Sometimes connectivity issues arise that can't be foreseen, so the key is to take these issues in stride and not disqualify a candidate without considering all the factors.

5. Dress

Every hiring manager has come into contact with a candidate that just didn't get how important their attire was to making a good impression. Either their clothes were wrinkled, they weren't dressed appropriately or what they had on just didn't instill confidence. Either way, it was easy to tell they weren't the right fit.

When it comes to video interviewing, the signs aren't so obvious. Make a point of focusing on the little things during a video interview. Look for wrinkles, stains or other telltale sartorial signs the candidate isn't taking the interview seriously.

Keeping an eye out for these five red flags can help companies separate the wheat from the chaff during the hiring process. Not only will they help weed out candidates who aren't taking the process seriously, but these red flags will also help ensure organizations make the most out of every video interview.

Related: 15 Tips for Improving Your Skills Interviewing Job Candidates

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