Virtual Interviews – Hints and Tips for Managers

Conducting remote or virtual interviews may seem like a daunting prospect if you’re never done it before. Even if you have, there are best practices that will help you to lead the remote interview effectively and get the best out of your candidate.

How You Can Prepare for a Video Interview

Technology — If you are using a Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, Skype or other video interviewing link, make sure the candidate and other interviewers have been sent the correct link and have instructions on downloading the program. Remember some free programs have a time limit to 30 or 40 mins, so time your interview accordingly if needed.

Prepare questions – having questions prepared ahead of time will help everything go more smoothly and ensure that you get a good sense of the candidate’s skills, experience and culture fit. Research has proven that structured interviews are much better predictors of future job success. Try to ensure that the majority of key questions relate to the competencies/skills required in the role.

Select an appropriate location at home – Be conscious of what will be in the background (other than you). Some applications allow you to choose a temporary virtual background, so choose a company picture and upload if it is possible.

Prepare the candidate – Give your candidate (or Recruiter) an advanced outline of how the interview will flow. This helps them know what to expect and when to speak. The outline could include the anticipated length of the interview, the name and title of the interviewer(s), and the general order of events.

Online introductions – If more than one interviewer is attending, don’t take it for granted that the recruitment candidate has found your pictures on LinkedIn or your website (or that they will recognize you online even if they have). Make the initial introductions friendly and relaxed.

Listen with Purpose – Demonstrating active listening via a video call can prove challenging, due to the delay and/or connectivity issues. Similarly, you can’t really make eye-contact in the traditional sense, so be mindful of where your camera is and look directly at it as often as you can. Regularly summarize or clarify what you have heard and ask further probing questions. Always pause before speaking to accommodate lag time or delays in the signal.

Take notes – Depending on how many computer screens you have, you may find it easier to handwrite your notes, so that you don’t need to minimize the video screen.

At the end – Invite the candidate to ask questions if they haven’t already, and tell them what the process will be going forward.

Manage connectivity issues proactively – Sometimes connectivity may prove challenging. If you cannot hear your candidate, or if the sound keeps cutting in and out, tell them immediately. Suggest turning off the video and just have a voice interview, which often helps with sound quality. If this fails, then suggest redialing into the session again. As a last resort you could suggest a phone call, or ask your Recruiter to rearrange.

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