8 Must-Follow Business Etiquette Rules For Phone And Video Interviews

Recruiters have long been using the “World Wide Web” tools to conduct interviews with job candidates.

However, COVID-19 has forced the entire world to work from home, which means that video conferencing tools such as Zoom (and other platforms) are becoming integral parts of the recruitment process. As such, today, we’ll discuss eight business etiquette rules to following during phone and video interviews.

Referring to rules during a pandemic may seem a little ridiculous. Besides, “rules are meant to be broken,” right?

That is until you see one too many Facebook videos or memes that poke fun at the clueless coworker who goes to the bathroom or forgets to wear pants during a video chat. We get it.

You’re working from home, and it’s natural to relax your usual level of professionalism. However, even with “stay at home” orders in place, you still have positions to fill and interviews to conduct.

Let’s not forget that basic business etiquette rules still apply.

1. Pay attention to candidate names during video interviews

It’s sometimes tricky to track candidate names, especially when you first set out to fill a position. Honestly, no one expects you to remember a candidate’s name after looking at their resume for two seconds.

However, once you’ve narrowed down your search to the point that you’re interested in conducting a face-to-face meeting (even if it’s conducted over the internet), it’s crucial to remember their name.

Start by using the candidate’s full name on all interview-related notes, including the meeting request. Then, repeat the candidate’s name several times before you start the call.

If you don’t know how to pronounce the name, ask – then make sure to make a sincere effort to pronounce their name correctly. Do not carelessly butcher their name or create a nickname for them. Call the candidate by the name they want to be called.

2. Make Eye Contact during video interviews

During a regular interview, you’d greet a candidate with a firm handshake. You obviously can’t shake a candidate’s hand when you’re interviewing them over the web. However, you can greet them with a smile and eye contact.

Averting your eyes at the beginning of the call (or at any point during the interview) may be seen as a lack of interest. On the other hand, pay attention to the candidate’s response. Those who avoid making eye contact are often viewed as lacking honesty and confidence.

3. Show that You’re Paying Attention during video interviews

When conducting a phone or video interview, it’s essential to demonstrate that you’re engaged and actively listening to what the candidate has to say.

If you’re doing a phone interview, you might show that you’re paying attention by asking a follow-up question based on their response to a question or restating what they said to show that you were listening.

If you’re conducting a video interview, you can show that you’re actively engaged and listening by sending nonverbal signals such as nodding; but, be careful not to interrupt. If you wish to speak, slightly open your mouth, but be sure to wait for them to finish first.

4. Be Professional in Every Interaction

Whether you’re meeting face-to-face, sending an email, or conducting a video interview, each interaction you have with a candidate needs to be professional.

Specifically, when you’re using text only (email), you don’t have the benefit of communicating tone of voice or applying facial expressions, or using nonverbal cues to deliver the message. Therefore, keep your messages short and don’t say anything that you wouldn’t know in person.

5. Always Be On Time – even for Video Interviews

Punctuality and professionalism go hand-in-hand. Therefore, whether you’re conducting an interview face-to-face or over the video, it’s mission-critical to be on time.

You need to be on time if you’re conducting a video interview because you’re likely the one hosting the meeting. Therefore, be sure that you and the interview team fully understand how to use the technology.

You may even want to conduct a training session with your team to ensure everyone knows how to use the tool before using it with candidates.

If you are running behind schedule for any reason, be sure to contact candidates as soon as possible to let them know.

6. Dress Appropriately, especially for video interviews

While we recognize that company dress codes have become increasingly more relaxed, we firmly believe that you should dress appropriately if you plan to participate in a job interview. That includes the interviewer and the interviewee and includes any type of interview setting – including video interviews.

Furthermore, while this business etiquette rule applies anytime, considering the circumstances of the coronavirus that have forced everyone to work from home, we felt like a simple reminder to “wear pants” might be in order.

It is not necessary to put on a three-piece suit. Still, we do recommend that you put a little bit of effort into your appearance (including combing your hair, trimming your beard, etc.), especially for video interviews.

Treat the appointment as if you were meeting in person. “Dressing smart” tells candidates that your time with them is essential and that you are excited about the prospect of them joining your team in the future.

7. Tidy Up Your Workspace for Video Interviews

If you don’t regularly work from home, you’ll want to find a space in your home that will work for the next few weeks. Your workspace is a reflection of your professional image as well as your company, even if you’re not physically working from the office, so clean it up!

It’s not necessary to have a “desk,” however, you may want to have a tabletop at least to sit comfortably. While working from your lap is acceptable for most tasks, being seated at a table is more appropriate for video interviews.

Before the interview, be sure to clean up your workspace. Put your morning coffee mug in the sink, clean up any piles of paper you may have lying around, and remove any other distractions from your desk. Turn off the TV and put away your smartphone.

If you are working from home with kids in the house, give them a task or have your partner occupy them so that you can focus. It’s impossible to give someone your full attention during a video interview when you are distracted.

While some of the rules around video conferencing have bent quite a bit these past few weeks, (in most cases) kids still don’t belong in an interview. They can be present during plenty of other meetings, but we strongly suggest not being present for job interviews.

Pro Tip: Face the light.

If your “office” has a window, make sure anytime you have a video meeting or interview that the light is in front of you rather than behind you. When the light is behind you, your face will not be visible (dark and shadowy) to whoever you’re speaking to. However, when the light is in front of you, others will be able to see you on the screen clearly.

8. Always Follow-Up!

Whether you’re conducting a video interview or just keeping track of candidates to fill an opening in your company, it’s essential to let your applicant pool know where they are in the process. It’s even more important to thank those applicants for their time if you’ve asked them for an interview.

Recruiteze’s free applicant tracking system can help you keep track of it all by helping you communicate with candidates regarding the next steps in the overall hiring process, listing job ads on important job boards, and streamlining your entire operation with just one software.

Recruiteze helps you build a candidate database, keep notes, and communicate with active and inactive applicants.

You can eliminate endless spreadsheets full of notes and information by adding your feedback and applicant information into the free applicant tracking system. Everything you need for your recruitment efforts is under one roof.

In addition, you’ll be able to send out personalized emails to each candidate to help save time and effort with our staffing agency applicant tracking system. Communication with applicants won’t fall by the wayside, and you’ll be gaining a great way to keep the applicant engaged and informed.

There are tons of benefits you can gain from trusting our recruitment software!

Recruiteze will help your small business save time and money, become more organized and streamlined, and help you track applicants without worrying about top talent falling through the cracks. Be sure to try it for free if you haven’t used an ATS for small business recruiting and hiring!

Click here to try Recruiteze out for free.

Additional reads:

  1. What are the pros and cons of group interviews
  2. Competency-based interview questions
  3. Exit interview questions
  4. Unique interview questions
  5. Best recruiter interview questions
  6. Help candidates prepare for an interview
  7. Interview questions for program managers
  8. Often overlooked interview questions
  9. 26 must ask executive interview questions


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