July 11, 2014
Things to keep in mind when you are considering how to conduct a video interview:
Think about some of the great interviews you’ve watched, whether it’s a pro or from a lesser known interviewer. What makes it compelling to watch? Usually you’re learning something new or hearing someone share a unique perspective about a topic you’re passionate about.
There are other smaller details that that we might take for granted. Where is the interview taking place? Does the conversation flow easily or is there any awkwardness to the exchange?
A lot of it has to do with pulling all of these aspects together and evaluating what you need to work on to pull off interviews that nail your objective.
Here are a few tips to get you thinking about how to conduct a video interview.
Run a few test rounds on your own or with the help of a friend
Sound and lighting are two of the biggest concerns when you’re conducting a video interview. Poor sound quality that forces listeners to strain to follow the conversation will have them tuning away, and they definitely won’t be in a rush to share it with anyone else.
Similarly, lighting can cause more trouble than the more obvious problems. Obviously you want viewers to be able to see the environment where the interview’s happening, but more than that, they want to see your faces. If your face or the face of your subject is in the shadows or obstructed by a glare, the trust of the viewer is going to plummet. There’s a connection happening, trust building, when you can see the faces and suss out the emotions playing out.
Creating the right kind of environment
No one wants to see an interview happening in a cluttered space. Tidy up any stray papers or other unnecessary items. Leaving any junk around will distract viewers and make your brand come across as unprofessional.
Also, if you’re inviting the interviewee into your space, you want them to feel comfortable and at ease. They should be walking in to a clean room or office, with minimal distractions. Otherwise you’re not going to make such a great impression, which can also tank the interview.
Know your stuff
Once you’re comfortable with the technical stuff on the lighting and sound end, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to know as much as possible about the person you’re interviewing. Their basic background info and details about the subject matter of whatever topics you’re taking on in the interview are important. But it’s also good to check out any other recent or past interviews to see which questions and topics come up the most. You want your subject matter to be fresh and interesting. If there’s a specific question they receive repeatedly, avoid it, or find a different angle to explore and go for it.
No one likes answering the same handful of questions repeatedly. Chances are, there’s other, better, stuff you can be asking about and exploring during your time with them. Which leads me to my next point.
Ask the missed questions
A lot of times, there’s something newsworthy that’s happened that you’re looking to ask about. If your interviewee has done any other recent interviews, there’s a good chance that they’ve already been asked about it. If you go on to ask the same question that they’ve already received, you’re likely going to get the same soundbite, which isn’t as valuable as a fresh tidbit that can be passed on to viewers.
Instead of going for the same question from the same angle, try to look at what they haven’t spoken about. This means planning your questions thoughtfully and approaching the interview so you can learn something, instead of having them give you tidy snippets that sound like they’re coming from the company website.
The goal of the interview should be for you to create an interesting dialogue, no matter what the subject matter is, which will allow your audience to learn something valuable.
While it’s important to go into an interview having done your homework, it’s also vital for you to allow yourself to do some of the learning along with your viewers. Don’t be afraid to explore new topics or subject matter that you haven’t mastered. Your viewership will most likely be right there with you, wanting to know more and glad that you chose to dig in and tackle the topic so they come away with a new understanding of what you discussed.
You’ll pick up more tips and tricks as you go
The biggest tip about conducting a video interview is that you’re going to learn as you go. You can look in to the tech end of things and play with what’s in your budget and what you want to work with, but the details that make interviews great are going to come with time and experience.