Interviewing well and efficiently has always been a challenge. What questions do you ask to properly screen for the best candidates? What processes can you implement to make the hiring phase as smooth and productive as possible? These questions have long plagued employers in all industries, but they have recently been eclipsed by new ones brought on by the pandemic. The primary challenge now is how will any interview be staged at all? For most companies, one of the few remaining options is virtual interviewing.
Virtual interviewing might seem like a hassle to those who have never tried it, but it’s a common practice that some companies even prefer over standard on-site interviews. It’s often more efficient, reduces the travel time for your interviewee, and can give you a wider pool of candidates to choose from. Taking the time to perfect your virtual interviewing technique now will likely promote your company’s success long after the pandemic passes.
If you’ve never conducted an interview through video conferencing before, here are some tips to consider.
Test Your Technology
We spoke about this in our last blog, and it holds true for virtual interviewing, especially if your candidates are sourced externally and aren’t familiar with your company’s method for video conferencing. Practice and tinker with your technology and write up troubleshooting steps for common mistakes. If your candidates struggle with a glitch on their other end, it will be easier to send them help with those troubleshooting steps already captured. If you need your candidates to access any special features during the interview—such as sharing their screen—make sure you communicate this beforehand, so they have time to practice and ensure the tech works.
Have a Backup Plan
You’re likely to experience at least one failure of tech, whether it’s due to your internet access or computer glitches, so always be prepared with a backup plan. This will most likely come in the form of a phone interview. If you were planning on having the candidate share examples of past work, ask them to email those attachments to you instead.
Avoid Judging Internet Connection
Acknowledge that not all candidates will have access to ultra-fast Wifi services, especially with much of the world confined to certain spaces during the pandemic. If you’re unable to properly continue a video call, switch to a voice-only or phone interview. If nothing goes according to plan and you’re able to be flexible, you can also offer to reschedule the interview—after all, there is no traveling required, making a virtual interview easy to move to another date.
Dressing in office-appropriate clothing is an obvious must for a professional interview, but you can go a step further and tinker with your computer and lighting setup. Setting up your camera so that it aligns with your head puts your face at its best advantage. Placing a lamp behind your computer and a white sheet of paper on your desk (to reflect the light) ensures that you’re properly lit and look as professional as possible in your at-home setup.
Take Advantage of New Opportunities
Current events have put many companies in tough positions, but during times of struggle also comes opportunity. With the world slowing down, now is the time to take a look at projects that have been sitting on the back burner and investigate steps you can take to make your business come out of the pandemic stronger than before. In the case of virtual interviewing, this might mean re-thinking your entire hiring process. Are there elements in place that you’ve wanted to change in the past? The addition of virtual interviewing might help improve any weak spots in your current process. In-the-moment survival is important, but thinking ahead and re-evaluating how you hire now can help you become more successful in the future.
Hiring by virtual interviewing may seem daunting at first, but it has the potential to be just as effective as hiring by your standard in-person interviews. In fact, you may find that virtual interviewing comes with many more benefits than your current hiring practices.
- Insight, Conducting Remote Interviews Successfully
- New York Times, How to Look Good on Camera
- Tech Republic, How to Hire a Top Job Candidate via Video Conference