As many companies transitioned to remote working in recent months, virtual interviewing has become key during the hiring process for new employees. Virtual interviews replace face-to-face interviews which usually take place in the office and allow the hiring process to continue as normally as possible for both hiring managers and candidates.
Whilst video interviews may seem different, they are very much the same, however good preparation can help to ensure the process runs as smooth and seamless as possible.
As virtual interviewing breaks down travel and location barriers, saves time and with more people working remotely, we expect it to be here to stay for the foreseeable future.
To ensure you are prepared for conducting virtual interviews, take a look at our tips:
Prepare and conduct virtual interviews the same as usual
Although you are conducting the interview virtually, prepare for it just as you would do for a face-to-face meeting. This could include the structure and by having your interview questions, the job description and the candidate’s CV/portfolio printed out in front of you.
However, you may want to adapt your interview questions due to recent circumstances, for example if your workforce is working from home for the foreseeable future, think about tailoring some of your interview questions to see if the interviewee would make a good remote employee to join your company. Try and ask questions to see how they would fit in with your team while working from home. Key soft skills to look out for in an effective remote employee include someone who is organised, self-motivated and has strong communication skills.
Communicate with the candidate beforehand
Make sure you clearly communicate with your candidate before the interview. This could be their first virtual interview so try and put them at ease by providing plenty of information about the process, this should include software or download instructions, timings, who will be conducting the interview (and if anyone else is joining) and any information in case technical difficulties occur.
By setting out clear guidelines about the process, it will help the interview run as smooth as possible for both the candidate and yourself. However, it’s important to remember that you could potentially be a guest in their home and on occasion, its impossible to control all environments.
Dress appropriately and be personable
As you are not face to face in an office, try and focus on portraying your personality and professionalism across on screen. Firstly, do this by dressing the part, even though you are not in the office, try and create a professional setting through your background and dress code. If possible, find a neutral and well-lit background to conduct the interview and somewhere that is quiet to minimise any issues.
When asking questions, try and avoid looking down at your screen and instead look directly at the camera, as this will mimic eye contact with the candidate and keep them engaged. Also, consider your body language and how much the candidate will be able to see on screen whilst you are talking to them. Another thing to keep in mind is that you may find that technology lags while you are carrying out the video interview, so try and leave a few seconds between sentences to avoid you and the candidate talking over each other.
Check your technology
As well as preparing the candidate, it’s also a good idea to check your technology too (even if you have used it before). This should include your camera, microphone and internet connection, as well as limiting any background noise and distractions which may occur while conducting the interview at home. Make sure you are familiar with the video software you are using for the virtual interview if you haven’t used it before.
If technical difficulties occur on either end, make sure you have a backup plan in place. This could be through using another video conferencing software or by having the candidate’s phone number to hand in case you need to revert to a phone call.
Talk about your company culture
Due to interviewing remotely, you may find yourself talking more in-depth about your team, company culture and workplace than usual. This is because the candidate is unable to see this themselves by walking through your office for an interview. If you spend more time pitching your company culture and values, it will help the candidate to build a greater understanding about your company so they can consider if they are the right fit to join your team.
Your candidate may also ask you questions relating to COVID-19 and how your company has navigated through the past few months and supported your employees, including how your team has continued to work together and communicate while working from home. They may also be interested to know how the onboarding process may change to support new hires while working remotely so it is best to prepare this information beforehand.
If you need any more information about conducting virtual interviews, please contact our team on: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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