More and more employers are using virtual interviews as part of their recruitment process.

Driven originally by the need to continue resourcing safely during the height of COVID-19, it’s now clear that virtual interviews will continue to be seen as a useful method well into the future.

Why virtual interviewing may be here to stay

Interviews of this nature arguably require less preparation time on both the interviewee and interviewer’s part. Candidates can be more comfortable and at ease in their own setting, which will enable them to act more naturally and allow the recruiter to experience as much of the real candidate as possible.

Virtual interviews can be conducted over any time-zone – so candidates working full time could use personal time during their working day, or if you are interviewing across the world you can schedule into any time zone.

One could argue that virtual interviews are more beneficial for the environment, avoiding several applicants travelling to a particular venue. If ‘carbon neutral’ is written into your business plan, then this could be another reason to utilise virtual interviews.

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Now for the top tips:

Preparation is a priority for all

Although virtual interviews are more convenient in many ways, the candidate should always be given plenty of notice and preparation time as in normal interview situations.

The candidate may be anxious about the technology used and giving them plenty of time will allow them the opportunity to download and test software as well as set up their best location.

Sending clear instructions via email is essential; often access codes are required, so make this stand out in the email message.

Providing an outline of the interview and detailing any information such as ‘Right to Work’ documentation you will need or expect to see or for them to reference, is also useful.

Make sure the email or invitation states clearly the duration of the meeting.

Prepare interview questions as you normally would, yet be mindful it may be tricky at times to illustrate some answers over cyberspace.

If you anticipate either you sharing a document or asking a candidate to share, again, give them advance notice and practice your own skills!

Conducting the interview from home may mean you are in your comfortable zone, however make sure you appear professional and set the standards you expect of your workplace, either real or virtual.

Avoid tech tantrums

Before the interview, check your connection (a few times) and that your camera and your microphone are working, and choose an appropriate background from your software options, considering the professional tone you wish to set.

Turn off all other apps to ensure your complete attention is on the candidate and make sure you will experience no interruptions.

A great tip is to wear headphones which allow for greater audible clarity and help focus on the candidate.

During the deed

Building rapport in virtual interviews is a bit more challenging yet can still be done effectively.

Try to ensure that your candidate can see the top part of your body (not just your head) and look straight at them – think a newsreader behind a desk type posture.

You may also want to lean in slightly to indicate interest and of course nod, smile and incline your head to indicate listening.

Technology is amazing but there can still be delays or ‘drop outs’.

For delays, reassure the candidate and give them time to answer questions.

For ‘drop outs’, advise the candidate what action you will take, e.g. turn off and then back on again, reverting to telephone (provide number) or rescheduling the meeting.

Structure the interview as you normally would, ensuring the candidate is aware when and how their questions can be offered.

If you are feeling anxious about conducting the virtual interview, you may prefer for the candidate to keep their questions until the end, allowing you to get into your flow.

Outline the structure of the interview and how long you expect it to last. Remember, at some point during the interview, to use the opportunity of meeting a new person to discuss how great your organisation is and the benefits.

And Finally

Round off the interview, advising how and when you will let the candidate know the outcome of the interview, what will happen next e.g. a COVID-19 safe interview on site, another virtual interview but with team members also participating, online assessments, etc.

Ensure the candidate has everything they need and make a clear end to the meeting – think virtual stand up and handshake. Ensure you ‘leave’ the meeting.

Review your candidate and score and record their efforts. Take time also to assess your own technical efforts, and be ready to start over again!

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