Best virtual interview practices for Recruiters 

In a recent survey, it was reported that 45 percent of job seekers like the flexibility of being able to interview from any corner of the world. The same survey further revealed that 37 percent feel less intimidated to interview remotely. 

With the concept of ‘virtual interview’ gaining traction, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, job seekers are no longer worried about the time it would take to commute to reach the interview. So, virtual interviews are gradually becoming the ‘new normal’, reducing the need for in-person meetings. 

Being a recruiter, you must have heard about the ‘80/20’ rule, while interviewing potential candidates for a specific role. This rule broadly demarcates the time spent during an interview. Accordingly, 80 percent of the time must be spent listening to the candidate. The remaining 20 percent should be spent talking. 

Similarly, various rules exist in the recruitment universe which can help you hire the best candidate for your organization. Being entirely remote, it may be difficult to get a proper grasp of a candidate. However, by incorporating certain tips and practices, you can easily overcome these difficulties. 

4 best virtual interview practices to follow 

The COVID-19 pandemic compelled organizations across the world to make a switch from in-person interviews to virtual ones. While most have managed to make the switch, there is still some room for improvement. To help recruiters get the best out of virtual interviews, given below are some best practices to follow – 

#1 Standardizing the virtual interviewing process 

While searching for the right candidate, you may encounter one of two issues – either too many applicants or a never-ending checklist to cover. In the former, you may want to skim through all applications and pick the ones which best fit the role. In the case of the latter, while the applicant may be good, he/she barely fits into the job profile. 

While both issues are different, they are equally capable of creating havoc in your recruitment process. To avoid this, you need to standardize your virtual interviewing process. To create a standard process – 

  • Choose a selection structure by chalking the number of rounds each candidate must qualify to make the cut. For instance, while hiring a content writer, you may want three stages of selection – a writing test, interaction with the editorial head, and the final round of discussion. Thus, a structure is necessary. 
  • Select a common virtual meeting platform like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet for all candidates. You can also send a common link to all candidates and allot interview time slots. 
  • Create a unified scoring system. Marking a candidate’s performance in each step can help you make the best choice. 

#2 Providing instructions for video conferencing platform 

As mentioned before, virtual interviews have become the new normal. Hence, you may take it for granted that all candidates are familiar with a particular video conferencing platform. While it may be true, there is no harm in giving out proper instructions for using the platform. 

The instructions can cover points such as – 

  • Software or application that a candidate needs to download 
  • Steps to create username and password (if not done so already)
  • Whether or not the platform is accessible on smartphone 
  • The requirement to keep the video camera ON
  • Providing the meeting link, number, or password to access the platform
  • Attaching a YouTube link that shows how to use the platform 
  • A backup phone number in case the meeting link is not working 

The above-mentioned points are just an outline of how your instructions need to look. Feel free to add more or fewer points, depending on your recruitment needs. 

#3 Preparing interview questions beforehand 

In addition to standardizing the interview process, you can also create a list of questions to judge each candidate’s caliber and expectations. If you prepare these questions beforehand, you can control the direction of the interview. 

For instance, if you are hiring for the role of graphic designer, the initial interview must act like an ice breaker, covering surface-level information about the candidate like years of experience, applications they know, relevant experience, their domains of interest, salary expectations, etc. All these can be evaluated by preparing a standard list of questions. 

Some potential questions to ask include – 

  • Basic questions like “introduce yourself” or “give an overview of your career”. These are basic prompts that act like an icebreaker to make a candidate comfortable. 
  • Target-based questions which start with “what would do if…” or “how much would you rate yourself in…”. These will tell you about a candidate’s traits and whether they match the job profile. 
  • Performance-based questions like providing a small task during the virtual interview round. It can include ‘finding the right keywords for a topic’ or ‘writing a crisp headline for a particular news piece’, etc. 

#4 Communicating expectations for the role 

Prior to the virtual interview, a recruiter must communicate two sets of expectations. The first set is entirely dependent on the profile and what the job entails. These will help a candidate decipher whether or not they are fit for the position. 

The second set pertains to the interview session itself. For instance, if your organization is new, you may want the candidate to read up about the company or visit its website. So that they are not entirely clueless while attending the interview round. 

Other basic expectations may include being in the meeting 5 minutes before the allotted time, switching on the video camera at all times, etc. You may also provide an overview of the kind of questions to expect during the interview. So that a candidate gets enough time to prepare if the need arises. 

Conclusion

Virtual interviews tend to provide flexibility, both to the recruiter and the job seeker. Overcoming the location barrier, companies can hire talent from across the world, instead of limiting to their area. However, being entirely remote and virtual, such interactions come with their own set of challenges. You may face a connectivity issue or the candidate may not be tech-savvy, etc. However, by incorporating certain best virtual interview practices, you can hire the best talent, within the comfort of your home or office cubicle. 

FAQs on virtual interviews 

What can you do to make a lasting impression on recruiters? 

To have a lasting impression on recruiters during a virtual interview, you can – 

– Preparing answers to some commonly-asked interview questions
– Join the meeting link on time or 5 minutes prior
– Wearing a formal shirt or coat, even though the interview is virtual 
– Being honest; not flamboyant or pretentious 
– Maintaining constant communication even after the interview round 

How should you conduct a virtual interview successfully? 

To successfully conduct a virtual interview, try to provide the meeting link as soon as possible, to the shortlisted candidates. You can also give them a call before the meeting to check their preparedness. During the interview session, it is better to keep your phone on silent and disable laptop notifications. So that you can dedicate your 100 percent attention to the candidate’s responses. 

How to align your expectations from a virtual interview?

Simply put, a virtual interview comprises a two-way interaction between the candidate and the recruiter, via a video conferencing software or application. Irrespective of the profile, questions asked during virtual and in-person interviews remain the same. However, you will be required to have a stable internet connection and a smartphone/laptop handy to attend the interview. The recruiter will provide you a meeting link or code to join, according to the allotted time. 

Prior to the virtual meeting, you may be given certain instructions regarding the video conferencing application, questions to expect, webcam off/on requirements, etc. 

Does the position of a webcam matter during the virtual interview?

If you are using a webcam for a virtual interview, it should be positioned properly beforehand, without the need to make last-minute adjustments. Ideally, the camera must be placed in a way so that you are looking slightly up and center on the screen. The key is to make your upper half (till the shoulders) clearly visible to the recruiter. 

Should you log in early for the virtual interview? 

To make a good impression, you need to show up for a virtual interview at least 5-10 minutes before the allotted time. If permitted, you must join the meeting link before the recruiter to rectify any last-minute glitches. 

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