The Virtual Interview: 6 Essential Tips on how to prepare

May 22, 2020 | Recruiting, Talent Acquisition | 0 comments

Companies around the world are prioritizing the health and safety of their employees because of coronavirus. During this time many employers are now fully transitioning from in-person interviews to virtual ones. Some organizations had already started to implement virtual interviews, but there are also many who have had to immediately adapt to this transition. By conducting virtual interviews it ensures your hiring efforts are not inflicted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Here are some tips to help you prepare for a virtual interview:

1.Candidate selection

Before any interview process is initiated there is the selection process of the most fitting candidates for the role. This consists of going through resumes and selecting the candidates that match the requirements of the role usually based on past experience and other relevant qualifications. 

Alternatively, the use of assessment tools can help streamline the process through  scoring and ranking candidates based on fit for the position. This ensures that bias and time to hire are reduced while increasing the chances to discover  hidden talent. Integration with popular Applicant Tracking Systems make these tools very easy to implement into your existing process. 

 2. Setting up the Virtual Interview with the Candidate 

Ensure you provide your candidates time to prepare for the virtual interview. Do not invite the candidate for the interview on the same day. Allow at least one day notification to provide the candidate with opportunity to prepare for the interview. This also builds on the employer branding showing thoughtfulness in terms of the interview process. 

Send each candidate an invitation for the virtual interview to stay organized. The invitation should include the day and time that the interview will be held and all the information needed to access the software you’ll use for the interview. Be very clear about the format of the virtual video interview, so candidates know what is expected of them.  

3. Preparing for the Virtual Interview 

Be on top of your game and be prepared by conducting structured interviews. You already have your top candidates, now it is time to look into each profile and look into the areas you would like to further probe. Assessments like Bryq not only provide you with insight on the candidate but they also offer a pool of interview questions to guide you in conducting a structured interview enabling you to pinpoint each area you would like to look into further. 

In order for both the employer and the candidate to get the most out of an interview, it is essential to carefully consider the type of questions to ask. Despite the importance of preparing questions in advance, the employer should not go into an interview with a list of ideal answers in mind. It is unlikely that any applicant would come close to providing such answers. A better approach is to keep in mind ideal characteristics that a successful candidate would possess.

Open-ended questions encourage candidates to provide longer answers and to expand on their knowledge, strengths, and job experiences. For interviewers, such questions can provide greater insight into a candidate’s personality. They can help you understand the degree of how adaptive, rule-conscious or a perfectionist a candidate may be. 

4. Develop an interview scorecard

The purpose of a scorecard is to question candidates on specific requirements that are essential to the job that they’re being interviewed for and evaluate their responses. Creating an interview scorecard is a valuable exercise for your entire hiring team. Not only will creating a scorecard improve the speed of your hiring, but it will also focus the attention of your hiring team on the skills and traits that separate the good candidates from the great candidates.

We often rely on gut feelings of interviewers to determine their final choice for a hire which is neither fair nor effective. Creating a scorecard for the role you are seeking to hire will ensure that all of your interviewers are looking for the same skills in your applicants and that these applicants are all being evaluated against the same set of standards.

You can use various methods such as a 5 point ranking scale, Likert scale, and one of our favorites, the STAR method. This HBR article points out the value of the scorecard and how it leads to making better hiring decisions.

5. Conducting the Interview

It is normal for an applicant to be nervous, so interviewers should try to put the person at ease from the moment he or she enters the room. By helping the interviewee feel relaxed and comfortable, the interviewer stands a better chance of obtaining a clear idea of the applicant’s abilities and personality.

Before commencing with prepared questions, the interviewer could ease tensions by encouraging the applicant to talk about a particular hobby. At this point the interviewer might also want to recap the position and what it entails. This can help the applicant answer questions more knowledgeably and consider again whether he or she is genuinely interested in the job.

6. Location to conduct your interviews

Conduct your virtual interviews in a place that is quiet and free from distractions so you can give your full attention. If you need to conduct your interviews from home, choose a quiet room. Try to keep the environment as professional as possible to mimic the setting of an in-person interview. If the video conferencing platform you are using has a virtual background apply a neutral setting.  

Virtual interviews will become more commonplace going forward. Having a solid process in place can help in normalizing it and ensuring that the results will be as good as an in-person interview. 

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