Monique Taylor

By: Monique Taylor on May 21st, 2020

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Best Practices For Virtual Interviews

Best Practices

As the world adjusts to working remotely, companies are prioritizing the health and safety of their employees and candidates during the interview process. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, questions have been raised about how to interview potential candidates safely. 

Talent acquisition teams and recruiters alike are having to reorganize the entire interview process. Virtual interviews are still common, however, they are most likely the only way to meet with candidates for the time being. 

Whether you are the interviewer or the candidate, there are a few best practices to keep in mind while conducting virtual interviews. 

What Is a Virtual Interview? 

A virtual interview is an interview that takes place remotely, typically over the phone or video conference. Some of the most popular video conferencing platforms are Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Smaller organizations may want to consider using tools such as Facetime or Google Hangouts to keep expenses down. 

The longer this crisis continues, the more companies are starting to initiate remote interviews. Virtual interviews are not new, but most organizations would normally use them in early rounds of interviewing only. Candidates are almost always met face-to-face before receiving a job offer. However, it seems that is changing as companies are forced to embrace remote work requirements.  

For Candidates: Keys to Success

To be successful in a virtual interview, keep these tips in mind.  

Be Prepared

  • Research the company and key people.
  • Review the job posting and become familiar with the job responsibilities. 
  • Have a list of questions (but save questions about PTO for the offer conversation). 

Dress Appropriately

  • Look neat and put together. Dress the same as you would had the interview been in-person.
  • No pajamas.
  • No hats and be sure to comb your hair. 

Choose an Ideal Location

  • Choose a quiet, private spot, such as a home office or dining room table.
  • Be conscious of your background.
  • If possible, sit in front of a wall so there are less distractions in the background.
  • Use the blur feature to disguise a busy or messy background.  
  • Use a professional virtual background (don't project the Deathstar behind you, although it is pretty cool!).

Share Video 

If the interviewer invites you to a video chat, they are not going to appreciate you showing up via phone. 

What If You’re the Interviewer?

As a representative of your company, present yourself and your organization in a memorable way. First impressions of not only you but your company will stick with the candidate. Make it a good one, even if you are not meeting live. 

The interviewer also needs to come prepared for a virtual interview. I recommend having the following items:

  • The candidate's resume
  • Interview questions
  • Persons correct contact information
  • Pen and notebook
  • Dressed business casual (depending on the industry)
  • Professional background

Have everything you prepared and organized for the interview before it starts. Be professional and have an open mind. Be aware of personal behavior during the interview and reassure the candidate to be themselves. 

A Few Tips For a Successful Virtual Interview

Whether you’re the interviewer or the interviewee, there are a few things you should keep in mind during the interview process: 

  1. Make sure you have a quiet place to do the interview (especially when working remotely)
  2. Dress like you typically would if you were going into the office to interview
  3. Make sure your camera angle is correct, in case you decide to go pantless, or you have on your pajama bottoms.
  4. Be aware of your body language and facial expressions.
  5. Test out the technology or make sure to download the application that the company is using 
  6. Log on a few minutes before and be ready.
  7. Practice what you want to say
  8. Make sure to follow up after the virtual interview is complete.

Additional Resources

The Future of Talent Acquisition

Virtual interviews can be an excellent tool for companies to ensure they are keeping the pipeline open for great candidates, even after things go back to "normal." It will be interesting to see if virtual interviews become the new go-to for companies in early rounds of interviews. 

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