A Barden Guide to Zoom Interviews for Hiring Managers

A Barden Guide to Zoom Interviews for Hiring Managers (1)

The way companies are conducting interviews is changing and you can expect video interviews to be a part of the future.

In Barden we are prepared for much more of this over the coming weeks. As a hiring manager you should be too.

It goes without saying that the usual interview prep tips still apply (see below for more on these), but there are a few other things you need to keep in mind when preparing for a video interview.

Choosing Your Technology

There are lots of tools available for video interviewing including:

The best advice here is to pick a tool you’re familiar with and that is tried and tested. All work pretty well, however Zoom is probably the one leading the pack.


Simply put Zoom is video conferencing software that lets you connect remotely for video or voice-call meetings (let’s call them interviews from now on).

You can host an interview with one or more people and have the option to turn on or off the video and audio during the interview.

The software can be downloaded to your computer, or phone, and you can host the interview from either.

There are lots of different packages available. You can sign up for free but keep in mind there are some limitations to the ‘free’ package. For example the max time allowed on a ‘meeting’ is 40 mins. That’s ok if your interview is short and sweet but if it runs over you’ll simply get disconnected…not the ideal situation!

For the interviewee they don’t have to download Zoom, they can simply join using the weblink, and access code, you’ll send them in the interview invite.

Some Top Tips When Using Zoom

Most of these are not exclusive to Zoom, and cover off regular phone and video interviews. However there’s a few extra pieces to keep in mind when using Zoom:

  • Download the app in advance.
  • Do a test run checking the software is working, your connection is good and you know how the video and audio work….maybe enlist the help of a family member to be your ‘test interviewee’.
  • Make sure you send the interview link, and access code, in advance to the person you’re interviewing.
  • Set up your phone or laptop…may sure it’s set at the correct height so the interviewee can see you properly (and not the top of your head, or the lovely painting hanging in your living room!)
  • Dress as if you were heading to the interview in person. Why? It helps to get you in the right mindset and brings an air of professionalism.
  • Prepare your interview space…avoid slouching on the couch! Set up a quiet, comfortable space where there will be no interruptions. And have a glass of water at hand.
  • Background noise might be an issue…especially if others are at home too. Make sure to try and eliminate any background noise…pick a quiet room, close the door (sounds obvious but something that could be easily forgotten) and wear earphones or ear pods.
  • Switch off all notifications on your phone, and laptop (if you’re using one).
  • Have a pen and paper handy if you wish to make notes.
  • Another obvious one but…make sure you’re not eating or chewing gum during the interview…remember the sound will travel!
  • SMILE…smiles can be heard so make sure to smile as you talk.
  • Speak slowly and clearly and watch your body language (we all have little idiosyncrasies that we’re not even aware of…it might be an idea to keep an eye for these in your practice run and rule them out in the actual call).
  • Make sure to look at the camera and not the screen, as much as possible, so the candidate does not think you’re looking down.
  • Log on a few mins before the interview is due to start to make sure everything is working and you’re ready to go.
  • If you experience a connection issue make sure to use the chat functionality to let the other person know.
  • Make sure to PREPARE…using our usual interview prep tips below…


Usual Interview Prep Tips

  • Develop an interview framework that will really help you find out what you need to know. It’s about digging deeper – way beyond skills, academics and job titles to really establish how, in simple terms, this person will perform in conducting the work you need them to do.
  • Employer brand and an interesting role/culture are all great, but ultimately it’s your personal brand that will make the difference. People work with people, not companies.
  • Remember that interviews are not “normal” situations. It’s your responsibly to make the person you’re interviewing feel at ease and get the most out of your time talking. Try using a person’s hobbies or interests as an ice-breaker.
  • Explain the format of the interview and while you sometimes need to ask the hard questions, do so in a way that avoids confrontation and allows for the best, most honest response. This will allow you to see the candidate’s full potential.
  • Try to understand the person and not just the experience. Attitude can’t be taught; technical skills can.
  • Manage expectations about feedback and if you set an expectation (such as “we’ll be back to you tomorrow”), stick to it. Nothing damages a personal and employer brand more in the interview process than mismatched expectations. If in doubt, it’s better to pleasantly surprise than to marginally disappoint when it comes to setting expectations on turnaround time for feedback or a decision.
  • Don’t leave people behind. After a first interview, it can be very easy to move on with your shortlist and forget about giving feedback to the people that have been unsuccessful. You never know who they know, so protect your personal and employer brand by running a tight process.
  • Remember to include some ‘eye-opener’ questions, which will require the person you’re interviewing to dig deep and give you something less scripted than your standard questions…
    • What would your boss say about you if I met with them for a coffee?
    • What element of your job do you dislike the most?
    • What would you do in [blank] situation?
  • Above all, keep it focused. This is even more important when you are doing the interview over the phone or via video. Don’t be tempted to use stock standard interview questions that you’ve googled at the last minute. Taking ownership for your interviewing strategy will reap rewards in future years, not to mention time in the short run.


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