Conducting an Effective Virtual Interview
Tips you can use when interviewing candidates remotely.
As today’s workforce moves from traditional offices to remote work, many businesses are adopting a new way of conducting interviews, and in some cases, even onboarding. While this trend is due in large part to the COVID-19 crisis, there are many positives to moving more of your interview process into a virtual format. Virtual interviews are a great way to work around scheduling conflicts or limit face to face interaction due to social distancing.
Did you also know:
- Five minutes of live video interviewing is considered equal to a 200-question written assessment.
- Data is suggesting that video interviewing is six times faster and more productive than a phone interview.
- 93% of communication is non-verbal.
- 57% of candidates prefer live video interviews. (SOURCE: LinkedIn)
We have compiled a few useful tips to help you navigate the process of conducting a virtual interview.
1. Test Your Tech
Get familiar with the software you will be utilizing. Test your speaker, microphone, and video. Make sure to close out of other applications to enhance the speed of your operating systems. Conduct a run through with a peer to learn the program capabilities and gain feedback.
If you do encounter issues where a glitch occurs and you can’t hear the response, be direct and honest. There could be a connection issue, so wait for the audio to resume and ask them to repeat what they said. It is essential to be upfront and obtain the answers necessary to make a thoughtful employment decision.
2. Create a Neutral Space
For a professional atmosphere during the interview, it is vital to find a quiet place, free from distractions. Make sure you choose somewhere that people will not be wandering around in the background. Turn off or mute your phone and silence all notifications to give your full attention.
An appropriate background should be neutral but not dull. You can still show some personality outside of a plain white wall by showcasing plants, bookshelves, or diplomas and awards behind you. Depending on the software, you can also choose or create a virtual background that is not distracting.
3. Lighting and Angles
For a clear video, it is best to utilize natural lighting— facing you as much as possible. If the natural lighting is not possible, considering adding a lamp to your desk or a ring light to the top of your laptop. A well-lit subject exudes trust and friendliness. Have your computer placed above eye level and tilted slightly down. A quick fix is to use books to elevate your surface. This placement prevents the camera from being directed at your neck and nose and appears more natural like it would in a face to face conversation. As in a regular interview, sit up straight and make eye contact with the camera. Body language still matters to emanate a professional demeanor.
4. Keep Your Candidate Informed
Notify your candidate ahead of time that the interview will be virtual. Send a calendar invite with a link to the software you will be using and instructions so they can practice ahead of time and test their tech. In the email, be sure to include who will be involved with the interview, their title, and the role they play so they can research ahead of time to prepare. This will allow candidates to become comfortable with the platform and ensure a smooth interview for both parties.
5. Showcase Your Culture
During a virtual interview, candidates are not always able to view the office space and coworkers that they could be working with in the future. Consequently, it may be more difficult for a candidate to get a feel for the company culture.
To showcase this, spend more time preparing a presentation to express the company’s mission and vision. You can also send the candidate employee testimonials and links to social media posts that capture the essence and spirit of your company.
There are software and video options available for you to provide virtual tours of office and production facilities. This investment usually offers a healthy ROI and help you complete a hiring initiative from start to finish in a virtual format.
6. Remain Positive
Virtual interviewing can be a first-time experience for you as well as the candidate, and there may be a few fumbles with the transition from in-person interviews to virtual. You are both working through this together and making the best out of the situation. Remain positive and express appreciation to the candidate.
After this experience, you may find you enjoy virtual interviews more than other forms. Whether you utilize Zoom, FaceTime, BlueJeans, Teams, Skype, WhatsApp, or one of a variety of video platforms, find the one that works best for your company and allows you to assess body language and professionalism. Virtual interviews also allow for more flexibility in scheduling across locations and time zones, which can help attract more qualified candidates from a broader region. Along with making the right employment decision in this new era of social distancing and stay in place, virtual meetings also have the benefit of lowering travel and venue costs, all of which are beneficial for your bottom line.
Miranda Lockwood, SHRM-CP, is a Human Capital Advisor at BEST Human Capital Advisory Group. A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in Human Resource Management, Miranda is looking forward to utilizing her human resources education, previous internships, and HR experience in the field of talent acquisition. She also serves part-time in the Air National Guard as a Munition’s Specialist.
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