Virtual job interviews are more popular than ever. In this article, you’ll find tips and best practices that will help you conduct a productive online job interview as an interviewer.
Virtual Job Interview: Tips for Interviewers
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the way we work and live. This impact has forced many businesses to search for innovative ways to hire new employees. As a result, virtual interviews are now more prevalent than ever. More and more business owners and hiring managers have now incorporated online interviews into their hiring processes.
If you are looking for a way to gain top talents for your team or business, check out these best practices used by interviewers during a virtual interview to get the best candidates.
1. Send Invites to Selected Applicants
Now this may be handled by your HR department, but if you’re handling this yourself, make sure you reach out to the applicants to set up appointments. Suggest possible interview dates so that everyone can make adequate preparation. Send invitations through email to candidates to confirm their availability. Follow up with a phone call if the candidate does not reply to your email.
2. Provide Simple Instructions
One of the biggest challenges of virtual interviews is technical difficulties. To minimize this potential inconvenience, make sure you communicate the technical requirements of interview clearly and early so that the candidate has time to prepare.
Provide all the information needed regarding the platform (e.g. Zoom, Skype, Google Meet) you’ll be using. This will allow the candidate to set things up prior to the interview. This may include installing software, creating accounts, testing their hardware, etc. This will help prevent technical difficulties during the interview.
If this is your first virtual rodeo, try to set up a meeting with someone else to familiarize yourself with the steps.
3. Choose a Quiet Location
If you’re doing this from the office, this is not dissimilar to the conventional in-person interview. Just book a meeting room.
However, if you’re doing this outside the office, for example, in your house, you’ll want to pick your spot more carefully. Choose a location that is quiet, away from people and distractions. Find a space that will allow you to interview the prospects without being interrupted.
While not directly related to picking a location, a good idea is to wearing a headset. This will help block out any unwanted background noise during the video call. Another added advantage of a headset is that it reduces potential feedback on the mic.
Related: Wearing a Watch to a Job Interview
You expect the candidates to show up fully prepared. In return for that expectation, you should be making some preparation as the interviewer too.
Reduce the possibility of technical difficulties by testing your setup before the interview season. Choose your setup wisely. A laptop or desktop computer is definitely a more effective choice than a smartphone to conduct the interviews.
Before the interview, make sure you have all the documents and information you need. For example, the candidate’s resume, job description, interview questions, and other relevant documents should be neatly in place. Go through the candidate’s resume at least once. Jot down anything that catches your attention or requires clarification.
5. Test Your Setup
Your time is extremely valuable. So is the time of the candidate. Wasting 10 minutes trying to figure out how to log on or get the video or audio signal to work is the opposite of professionalism. So, make sure that everything is working on your end by testing it in advance.
You should also know any technical issues your candidate may encounter and be prepared to offer solutions. All of this will help you and the candidate to stay focused on things that really matter.
Alternatively, use any technical difficulties as a way to gauge the candidate’s personality. Of course, this may backfire so do it at your own risk.
6. Show Professionalism
Virtual interviews are just as important as in-person interviews. Even if you are conducting the interviews from home, use the same level of professionalism as if you were interviewing the candidate in person. Your outfit should show your company culture.
Speak courteously, pay attention, and maintain good eye contact–and by eye contact, I mean looking at the camera at least once in a while.
Read also: Job Interview Tips for Fresh Graduates
7. Describe Your Company/Team Culture
In many ways, a job interview is comparable to speed dating. The position and the applicant appear to be a match on paper, but will they work out in the long run? One predicting factor is culture fit. Of course, whether this is important or not is also part of the company culture. Some teams are huge on culture fit, others may find the difference in culture fit an opportunity to enrich their teams.
Anyway, in a physical interview, the candidate should be able to pick up some hints about your team and envision how they might fit in. However, this experience is pretty much stripped from a video call. As such, they might find it difficult to understand your company’s culture and the overall work environment. The only way to overcome this problem is through verbal communication.
Here are a few ideas to help the candidates understand your team better:
- Describe your company’s core values and vision.
- Give examples of how your company’s employees work together for a good cause.
- Share what other employees enjoy most at the company.
- Fun activities or unique perks
- If you prefer, narrow down the scope from company to the particular team you’re managing.
Don’t worry if you are not covering every aspect, you’re not meant to.
8. Use Consistent Rating
Use a rating system just as you would when conducting an in-person interview. This allows for a consistent and unbiased method of assessing potential hires.
9. Watch for Warning Signs
Body language is a big part of communication and it is mostly lost in a video interview. However, here are some potential red flags to watch out for:-
- The applicant is late or fails to show up. Candidates who are serious about the position will show up for the interview on time. Showing up early proves that the applicant values your time and that of the organization. While emergencies do happen, job candidates should contact the hiring manager as soon as possible to inform them of unforeseen circumstances that could prevent them from joining on time.
- The candidate’s behavior is sloppy. A virtual interview isn’t a free pass for candidates to come out in their pajamas and speak in a non-professional manner. It could be a sign that the candidate isn’t serious about the job if they act or dress too casually.
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10. Prepare to Respond to The Candidate’s Questions
As much as you’re trying to figure out if the applicant is a good fit, the applicant is also trying to find out if your team is a good fit for her. Be prepared to answer questions from the candidate, especially if you’re hiring for a more senior position.
It’s only natural that you don’t know the answer to some of the questions. But if you can’t answer most of the questions the candidate has, that might be sending a wrong message to her–in the line of being unprofessional or incapable. You don’t want to do that, do you?
11. Communicate What Happens Next
Before the interview ends, let your candidate know what happens next. This can be as specific as you want or as simple as a “Thanks, we’ll be in touch.”
Virtual Interviews Are Here to Stay
In this article, we’ve discussed several virtual interview best practices for hiring managers who are looking to run a more productive interview. If we were to summarize the tips in one word, that word would be preparation.
Virtual interviews have actually existed for quite a long time. Preliminary phone interviews were common practice used by many businesses. However, it wasn’t until the Covid-19 pandemic that virtual interviews in the form of video calls became widely popular.