Best Practices for Virtual Interviewing

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Trish Young

October 27, 2021

    Winning the best talent in a tight labor market takes skill and innovation. One way that employers have chosen to compete in this landscape is by conducting virtual interviews. Unlike traditional interviews, virtual interviews use video technology and can be conducted from any location, at any time. Video interviewing wasn’t mainstream until the 2020 pandemic forced employers to take different approaches in hiring. Now, according to a new poll, 86% of companies are incorporating virtual technology to interview candidates.

    Benefits of remote interviewing

    There are several benefits to conducting virtual interviews versus traditional face-to-face ones. The flexibility that virtual interviewing provides is one of the largest benefits. For both the interviewer and interviewee, holding virtual interviews means schedules can be coordinated more easily. There is no travel time, no booking meeting rooms, and the entire process can go more quickly.

    Another benefit of virtually interviewing candidates is reduced recruiting costs. Conducting remote interviews means you can screen more candidates and save your on-site interviews for your top choices. Video interviewing is more efficient than traditional interviews, reducing time-to-fill and productivity costs. A better screening process also improves your interview-to-hire ratio.

    Using technology and conducting virtual interviews also reduces inherent bias in the hiring process. This is important as many companies are focusing on diversity initiatives and inclusiveness within their workplace. In fact, 56% of companies polled say they are putting an emphasis on diversity hiring. First impressions are often clouded with unintentional biases and recruiters and interviewers tend to prefer candidates who mirror their own backgrounds. This is called the ‘Looking Glass Merit’, and conducting virtual interviews reduces this event and puts all candidates on equal footing.

    Preparing for video interview

    It should come as no surprise that you must prepare for a virtual interview just as you should for a face-to-face one. There are some additional considerations when preparing for a virtual interview, however.

    Give candidates time to prepare

    You wouldn’t schedule a face-to-face interview on the same day as reaching out to a candidate. Virtual interviewing requires the same courtesy. Give your candidates, and yourself, time to prepare for the interview.

    Test your technology

    Testing your technology when scheduling virtual interviews is crucial. You don’t want to start an interview only to fiddle with connections, downtimes, bandwidth issues and other tech problems that can arise. Testing your technology before the interview means you can take any additional steps to mitigate issues before they arise.

    Get rid of distractions.

    Meeting with others virtually when you’re working remotely brings a unique set of challenges to address. Make sure before the interview starts that you rid yourself of distractions. Turn off the television, mute cell phones, find a quiet place, and remove any visual background distractions. This will help you and your interviewee focus on the interview and minimize interruptions.

    Tips for successful interviews

    With proper preparation, video interviews can and should run smoothly. However, even with a distraction-free zone and top-tier technology, virtual interviewing can still have hiccups. Consider these tips when using video interviewing:

    Share information with candidates

    Unlike face-to-face interviewing, candidates interviewing by video need to know more information.

    • Does your candidate need to download special software for the interview?
    • Will the candidate need to prepare their work samples, or will they be given a problem to solve?
    • Does the interview process require meeting with several people?

    All of this is important information when video interviewing. Unlike traditional interviews, the candidate cannot stop and ask someone when they are lost. Giving clear, concise instruction is key to a smooth interview process.

    Market your company

    Interviewing candidates would seem like a one-way street, but it is far from it. Not only are you assessing their skill and talent level, but you are also marketing your company to them. Why do they want to work for you versus your competitor? Do your company’s values align with theirs and vice versa?

    On-site interviews can come with grand tours of new facilities, smiling faces of potential new colleagues, and possibly even lunch at the food truck outside. Virtual interviews prevent those connections so selling your company brand is more important when interviewing via video.

    Moving into the future, virtual interviewing will be just as prevalent as traditional face-to-face interviewing. Mastering the skills and techniques to good interviewing will take time and adjustment for both employers and candidates.

    At YM Careers Network, we can help you tap into deep pools of quality niche talent to fill your open positions. From there, it’s up to you to conduct traditional or virtual interviews with your candidates.