Best practices for hosting virtual interviews
Hosting the virtual interview
Interviews are perhaps the most critical part of the hiring process. They allow your company to get to know applicants and assess both their role-specific knowledge and soft skills, as well as their interpersonal abilities and overall fit. Similarly, they help potential hires better understand the role they are applying for and overall company culture in a way that goes beyond a job posting or “About Us” section of your organization’s website.
Luckily, digital tools for video conferencing and connecting with others have made it easier for businesses to find the right applicant. Let’s look at the value of virtual interviews and three best practices for hosting them.
Interviewing in a virtual world
Since the beginning of the year, 86% of organizations have shifted to virtual interviews.* Though, Lauren Smith, vice president in the Gartner HR practice, said that “many recruiting functions were already conducting virtual interviews, including using video interviewing technology for remotely located candidates; however, this now is the norm for all candidates given the current environment.” It’s showing organizations what can be done—in expanding reach, saving time and money.*
The right video conferencing solution puts people face-to-face, authentically simulating the in-person interview experience without requiring the interviewers and interviewees to be in the same place, at the same time.
Virtual interviews enable businesses to search far and wide for the most qualified new hires, regardless of where they’re located. Applicants, meanwhile, don’t have to try to coordinate complicated travel plans if they don’t live near your company’s offices or drastically re-arrange their schedules if they do.
Best practices drive productive virtual interviews
A dependable video conferencing platform is the foundation of consistently positive remote interviews. The following best practices can help your organization make the most of these opportunities.
- The right tools, time, and preparation
As the organization hosting the interview, your team should be prepared and extend the same courtesy to interviewees. That means making the date, time, and expected duration clear as soon as possible, so candidates and internal stakeholders alike can block off time on their calendars.
Having the right video conferencing platform is also crucial. A dependable and accessible platform will:
- Be widely accessible with standard web browsers and operating systems.
- Offer compatibility with basic video conferencing tools, like built-in cameras.
- Allow your company to record parts or all of the call, if necessary. In these cases, your business needs to provide the relevant disclosures and consent forms, as Monster explained.
- Not require the applicant to pay for software or setup.
Sharing a link to the meeting and specifying the software to be used allows candidates to ensure everything is in good working order before the interview starts. That ultimately saves everyone time.
While not a requirement, your company can offer to set up a short test call ahead of time to ensure everyone can connect as planned. You can also leave it up to candidates to ask for a test call before the interview, as an increasing number of professionals are familiar with video conferencing systems.
- Creating a professional environment
Thoughtful, professional candidates take care to make a good first impression. Your company should do the same thing.
A professional environment isn’t just for the office. A professional environment can be created anywhere you are. Set up your computer and run a test call with a teammate to make sure the area is clean, uncluttered, and has appropriate lighting. You should also check on technical specifications like the resolution of your webcam, your position relative to it – adjust your chair height or move the webcam to reach the desired result – and the output volume of your microphone. Remote employment service, FlexJobs, also recommended making it clear that you’re conducting an interview:
- Close the door and put up a sign or other reminder that an interview is in progress.
- Schedule the time on your calendar in advance.
- Silence your phone.
- Close other programs on your computer to avoid slowdowns and notifications from popping up during the interview.
- Consistency in interviewing
Some best practices that apply to in-person interviews are just as relevant for virtual ones. Preparing interview questions ahead of time, and using a standardized format for all interviewees, is especially important.
This approach helps to create a level playing field for everyone involved. While the responses of candidates can and should lead to more individualized follow-up questions and comments, having potential hires answer the same foundational questions provides a consistent basis for comparison. It can also assist in removing unconscious biases from the interview and hiring processes.
Video conferencing helps your company find the best candidates
Drawing from a local talent pool is often valuable, but casting a wider net potentially means bringing in more qualified applicants. This can help fill positions faster without sacrificing quality and keep your company operating at peak levels.
Virtual interviews simulate the entire in-person interview process, allowing for subtle indicators like body language and tone of voice to be just as clear as they are in person. Leveraging this valuable tool is simple with a little planning and preparation.
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