Welcome to the new world of work!
Whether you’re ready or not, virtual interviews are the way recruiters and hiring managers will select job candidates, now and in the future. It’s safer, more effective, and saves time and money.
And, it’s important to remember, your company’s reputation, and the ability to attract great candidates depends on your ability to conduct the best well-prepared virtual interviews.
19 Tips to Conduct Effective Virtual Interviews and Ensure a Positive Candidate Experience
Remember, as you incorporate these 19 tips, make sure you update your strategic hiring process by reviewing the processes and tools being used and make any improvements NOW (e.g., applicant tracking system, job fit assessments, training interviewers, background and reference checks, etc.).
First steps, these are a must and are often overlooked:
- Review your company’s vision and mission. Any changes? Write them down.
- What are the new company goals, short-term (Q2 and Q3) and long-term (Q4 and Q1-2021)? Write these down.
- Review these with your management team before interviewing and hiring new employees.
- Once your management team has aligned, review, and update job descriptions and corresponding policies to reflect changes (e.g., hiring and selection, remote employees, working from home, working and meeting with customers, etc.).
- Create a 180-day Success Plan for each position. Keep it simple and focused.
- Update structured interview questions and selection tools being used (e.g., benchmarks for job fit assessments, etc.).
- Train all interviewers Do not rely on them to read the new policies and procedures. The virtual training will ensure consistency for the best interviews and positive job candidate experiences.
Second steps, prep work for virtual interviews:
- Be prepared and don’t wing it. Hiring biases and gut reactions will be a problem without preparation. Remember, there will be new biases. For example, job candidates are being interviewed in their homes and not in a professional setting.
- Send out ATS reminders with time and date, length of the interview, name of interviewer(s) and job title(s), plus the URL for the virtual interview.
- Test virtual connections. Request job candidates “test” the URL connection before the interview and resolve issues. If you don’t use a conferencing system often, also “test” your virtual connections before the scheduled time.
- Review the job description and structured interview questions (yes, reread them each time). This allows you to listen and stay focused, instead of thinking about what to say next.
Third, conducting the virtual interview:
- Be sure everyone is visible on your monitor during group or panel interviews.
- Turn off electronic devices and other distractions. This keeps everyone focused and saves time spent in the interview.
- Start the virtual interview by introducing yourself (20 seconds). If in a group, have each interviewer provide a 20-second introduction. State name, title, and how this job impacts their area.
- Share what to expect during the virtual interview process with job candidates.
For example, today I am (or, we are) conducting the first set of interviews for XXX position. This will take approximately 1 hour. “Have you scheduled this amount of time for our conversation?” (If no, reschedule to ensure consistency in the interview process.)
- Ask your prepared structured interview questions to objectively compare job candidates. (This is also required by law.)
- Listen by looking directly into the camera. Also, speak directly into the mic. Maintain eye contact without staring.
- Deep dive into the job candidate’s answers to determine actual hands-on experience. It’s important to know the quality of their skills and the ability to use them in different situations. Also, this will help you create a training program focused on their needs. Do not sound like an interrogator since that will hinder a positive candidate experience.
Examples of deep-dive questions:
- -What is one specific challenge you have faced?
- -How did you resolve the issue?
- -What specifically did you do?
- At the end of the interview, not the beginning, share the following information. Here’s why: You want job candidates to tell you who they really are…not tell you what they think you want to hear based on the information below.
- -Vision and Mission of the company
- -Title and top 3 to 5 job responsibilities (do not negotiate at this time)
- –Quick overview of 180-Day Plan with a specific focus on Q2 and Q3
- -Reporting structure and potential start date
- -DO NOT conduct salary and benefit negotiations until it’s time to make a job offer
- -Share what’s next with selected candidates (e.g., future interviews by team members, due diligence process, completing assessments, notifying job candidates of status, etc.)
- -Be responsible for following-up and following-through on any promises made.
Conducting the best virtual interviews means you are well-prepared, focused, and follow your company’s policies & procedures. Remember, if you don’t, job candidates will share their less-than-positive virtual interview experiences on social media!
©Jeannette Seibly, 2020
Jeannette Seibly is an award-winning executive coach and keynote speaker. For more than 27 years, she has been an expert in guiding leaders to excel when selecting the right people for the right jobs. The new world of work has started. Are you ready? Contact Jeannette to improve your strategic hiring, coaching, training, and managing processes. Don’t forget to listen to her podcasts on Anchor.FM or YouTube.com.