6 Tips for Using Video Interviews to Attract Contractors

Recruiters looking for new ways to attract independent contractors across a global marketplace have to consider a full range of tools and approaches.  Contractors are more selective and savvy than ever, and can easily sort out the best offers simply by how the recruiter interviews and communicates.

The main point to remember is that as a recruiter, you are selling yourself and the company or client you represent.  So, you should take advantage of virtual recruitment strategies to attract and impress candidates anywhere in the world.

One of the more innovative virtual recruitment approaches is the use of video for interviewing or demonstrating position descriptions and company brands. But, as a legal and consulting contractor for a global clientele, I can tell you that the impact of video is more personal than informational. Of all the clients and jobs I have worked on, I always remember those that used video to communicate and cultivate my interest.

There are challenges associated with video interviews to be sure, and I might offer a few practical hints to recruiters that are beginning to use this tool:

1.  Advise the contractor ahead of time that you will be using video

I remember one interview that I had scheduled with a previous client that wanted to expand into a new project.  They gave me the interview time and said they would call in, so I took the time before to do a few home improvement projects thinking it would not matter if I was a bit dishevelled for a phone call.  The time arrived, and to my surprise, the video link opened on my screen…well I had to be honest about my condition, and they were gracious enough to allow me time to clean up so I could participate. Lesson 1: Remember to tell them they will be on camera…

2.  Remember time zone differences

I have lived and worked in five different countries and had to become a master of time zone differences and datelines, from South America to the Asia Pacific with clients scattered across the globe.  I always saw that as part of my choice to be an international contractor.  However, I have learned that too few recruiters think in terms of the recruit’s time zone, and I have had to wake up for more than one interview at 3 am.  That is fine for phone calls, but a whole other issue is if you have to present yourself on a video cam, and look like you are refreshed, professional and energized.

If you want to set yourself apart as a recruiter, offer to be the one who can be on the call at odd hours.  You will be surprised at how this one small gesture can make an impression on an experienced contractor who is usually the one setting an alarm clock for the middle of the night.  They might even buy your coffee…

3.  Be open to ‘one-way’ video calls

If you are using video to ‘sell’ a position or project, it may not be essential to insist that the contractor also be on video.  Some types of contractors are not comfortable communicating in a video call, so be ready to offer a ‘one-way’ video interview. This will score points with the more introverted but highly skilled contractors, who may agree to a mutual video call once you get their interest and trust.

4.  Use video interviews to eliminate travel for prospective candidates

High-level contractors always have open offers and ongoing interest from potential clients. If you offer video interviews, you may be able to engage skilled professionals who might not take the time to show up for an in-person meeting.   In some cases, travel may not be a feasible option due to cost or visa issues. From your perspective as a recruiter, you can engage with more candidates at one time in multiple locations, and ensure filling the position with the top prospect.

5.  Video is more personal and creates a sense of connection

Video creates a personal touch in the interview process, even if a candidate is on the other side of the world. As I mentioned, the video contacts that I had with potential clients always stood out, and if I accepted the position it provided a foundation for better communication.

One of my clients was an ex-military sniper instructor living in the US, while I was located in Asia. He wanted to coach on delivering a speech and impressed me with his forthright desire to learn and willingness to accommodate the time differences, so I took the job after our interview. He was also extremely focused during our video sessions (one of the benefits of sniper training I think), even at 6 am with his kids running around behind him

In the video, there are multiple communication levels, some non-verbal. By watching how my clients reacted (or were distracted) I could gain valuable information on how the job might go.  In this case, the video interview turned into a video-based remote assignment, so it was the perfect method to engage my interest.

6.  Involve members of the work team, especially if they are also remote contractors

One easily overlooked technique is to involve others who a contractor might be working with, and establish some rapport early on. It’s fine to have two or three people in on the call, and this gives the candidate a sense of value and inclusion, which are elusive qualities in the arena of global contract work.  Make your candidate feel like a part of the team from the start, and they will be attracted to the job.

By following a few of these suggestions, you will be able to successfully add video interviews to your recruitment strategy portfolio.  It won’t replace all traditional interview approaches such as face to face or simple phone calls, but for certain candidates, it may make a lasting impression and result in their accepting a position.