Virtual video interviews are becoming more common with the COVID-19 pandemic limiting travel and in-person office visits. Conducting an interview online is more flexible and accommodates people working from home. Virtual interviews can also save companies money in travel expenses when the candidate is not based in the home city.
Helpful Tips for Virtual Interviews
Though virtual interviews have many advantages, they do present some challenges. If you’re finding yourself needing to interview more candidates virtually these days, here are five helpful tips for properly executing a virtual interview:
1. Prepare and test your technology in advance.
Technological issues are the biggest drawback to holding virtual interviews. The success of the interview relies on cameras, audio, and connections all functioning properly. While there’s no way to completely eliminate the possibility of a technical problem, you can greatly reduce the risk by testing your equipment ahead of time. A best practice for hiring managers is to get the interview system up and running several days before the interview and then test it intermittently during that time period. Do the final test an hour or so before the interview to make sure everything is functioning properly.
2. Eliminate any and all distractions.
Not all virtual interviews are conducted in an office or a boardroom. It’s possible that the interviewer may be at home or in some other uncontrolled environment. So, be sure to hold the interview in a quiet place away from any distractions. If you are home with other people in the house, let them know that you have an important interview and need to be undisturbed.
The video backdrop should also be free from distractions. A professional best practice is to choose a neutral backdrop with good lighting. If there isn’t an area in your home or office with a neutral background, you can now select from a variety of virtual backgrounds to eliminate distractions, depending on the virtual conference tool you’re using.
3. Prepare your candidates.
Job candidates have their own technical and practical considerations for a virtual interview. To ensure they make a good impression, send them the details of the interview beforehand and some information about the company. Let the interviewee know about any software they may need to download ahead of time in order to access the interview, as well as any technical issues that could pop up on your side of the interview. Finally, make sure to include the interview login link with the interview email invite, as well as the correct time so that there is no confusion with time zones.
4. Practice patience.
Even with proper preparation, things can still go wrong in a virtual interview. Don’t judge the candidate if they have technical issues, as those may be beyond their control. Candidates interviewing from home may also have to contend with unplanned household issues like poor internet connectivity, a child running in on the interview, or a barking dog. Don’t judge the candidate in the event of an interruption. These things can happen with a virtual interview. All in all, be patient and understanding if the interviewee struggles with the online format.
5. Maintain professionalism.
Just because the interview is not taking place in an office doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be professional. Dress for the interview as you would in an office and correspond in the same way you would if meeting in person. Above all, treat the virtual interview just as you would any other, and expect the same from your candidates.
Need Assistance Executing Virtual Interviews?
We’re here to help your company get set up for virtual interviews. Contact us today to learn how LBMC Employment Partners can help. From payroll services to HR outsourcing to our PEO services, we are fully equipped to grow and scale with your company along the way!