The coronavirus has brought many changes. We’ve been forced to prioritize health and safety over all else. Companies are quickly adopting new technologies and adjusting traditional ways of doing things. This has resulted in many businesses moving from in-person interviews to virtual ones. Fortunately, many of the approaches and considerations that are used in in-person candidate interviews serve well when conducting virtual job interviews.

What are virtual interviews?

Virtual interviews are a means to evaluate candidates remotely. Instead of in-person or phone meetings, candidates are interviewed using video interview software (SparkHire, Jomba) or communication tools (Zoom, Skype, Hangouts, Microsoft Teams).

Benefits of virtual interviews:

  • Recruiters can read body language and facial cues, unlike phone interviews.
  • No one has to pay travel expenses.
  • Candidates need not take time off work.
  • Remote candidates can be interviewed.
  • Possibility of reaching global talent.
  • Interviewing is possible across different time zones or with hiring team members in different locations.
  • Can be recorded and replayed later.
  • Numerous candidates can be screened within a short time frame.
  • Intangible skills (can’t be described in words or numbers) can be observed.
  • Reduced hiring costs.
  • Reduced time to hire.
  • Elimination of bias.
  • Standardization of the hiring process
  • Improved quality of hire.
  • Builds a better candidate experience.

Drawbacks of virtual interviews:

  • The interviewer and candidate need an adequate internet connection, webcam, and microphone.
  • Unexpected connectivity problems can cause delays making it hard to communicate.
  • Other problems such as bad lighting and background noise.

Tips for conducting virtual interviews:

  • Perform a test run: Interviewers should familiarize themselves with the technology in advance, troubleshooting and solving potential problems before the conversation takes place. Check that your computer’s audio is working, test your computer’s webcam, ensure that your internet connection is stable and that your device is fully charged. Ensure that you know how to share your screen with the candidate. Have a failsafe in place. Be prepared to default to a phone call or switch to FaceTime.
  • Provide the candidate with instructions: Make sure applicants have all relevant information to arrive at the interview without delays. Provide step-by-step instructions for accessing the platform to be used. Provide them with passwords, dial-in information, and links at least three business days ahead of time. Ask the interviewee to show up a few minutes early to ensure everything is working properly.
  • Schedule carefully: It’s wise to allow more time for a virtual interview than an in-person interview.
  • Prepare your space:  Find a spot that is clean, quiet, well lit and free of distractions and/or interruptions. Make sure the environment behind you looks professional. You may have to shift items to create a backdrop that looks appealing. Set up the webcam an arm’s length away from where you’ll be seated and ensure that it is the correct height. Position a lamp in front of you but behind the camera.
  • Prepare your questions: In order to ask all candidates a consistent set of questions, prepare your queries ahead of time. Consider using an interview scorecard to assist in making unbiased evaluations. Have an intro script prepared to help you start the interview. Begin with a few icebreaker questions to help put the candidate at ease.
  • Be professional and personable: Dress as if you were meeting the candidate in person. Sit up straight. Smile and nod. Speak clearly. Make eye contact by looking directly into the webcam. Pause to ensure the candidate has finished his/her response before moving on to the next question. Signal to the candidate that the virtual interview is as important and serious as an in-person interview. Be compassionate and thoughtful. Your candidate may be interviewing with kids and pets in the vicinity. Be open to rescheduling or switching to a pre-recorded interview.
  • Develop a company culture pitch: Since candidates are not able to observe your office space and other employees, give them an idea of your company culture. Tell a compelling story regarding your company’s mission, vision, structure and values. Share visual materials, testimonials and/or social media posts that capture the feel of your business. Highlight your culture throughout the conversation.  Paint a clear picture of what it’s like to work at your company.
  • Follow up: Even if you’ve not yet made a decision regarding who you will hire, email candidates to let them know where you are in the process and help alleviate stress. Tell your candidate about the next steps. Thank him/her for being adaptable and for giving up valuable time to speak with your team. Ask for feedback about the process. Inquire if there is anything that can be done to improve the virtual interview experience.

Virtual interviewing can be an effective way to keep candidates engaged and move them quickly through the hiring pipeline. Conducting interviews virtually opens up opportunities for all types of candidates. Get your interview set up and running efficiently to ensure you get the most out of the process. A well-executed virtual interview allows you to show the agility, flexibility, and empathy that are the hallmarks of a strong company culture.

Looking for help in finding a new position? Need help finding quality employees? Call the Calgary recruiting agency, Equation Staffing Solutions at 1-844-367-9618. We are a reliable, innovative, collaborative agency here to support you in your search for a position and/or personnel. Our experience will assist you! Contact us today.