How to conduct virtual job interviews

For those employers who have never done video interviews, it requires a shift in mindset. Candidates may be new at it too so you can relax them by letting them know that you’re on the journey together.

Ensure that the platform (eg Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams) is operating efficiently, a meeting request has been sent and accepted by the candidate. Ensure you log on and arrive for the interview first.

One tip is to be more candid than you might normally be. Virtual recruiting can be clumsy and awkward. A laptop might be sitting at an unflattering angle, the internet connection could lag and distractions can emerge from off screen on both ends. 

It’s advisable to set aside some time at the beginning to iron out any wrinkles. The normal ice-breaking time at the start of an interview can happen on top of this. If you normally set aside half an hour for a face-to-face interview, set aside forty five minutes for a virtual one. Take the time to ask, ‘Can you hear me? Can you see me? I understand that this might be a new experience for you, I want to assure you this is all new to me too.’ It is okay to guide them, make sure they are not disadvantaged by sitting a little too far away from the camera. If there is a lag in the connection it’s ok to let them know. You won’t be able to make a good assessment if there is a lag or you can’t have good eye contact.

In case technology fails is a really good idea to have a backup plan (like each other’s mobile numbers).

It is important to be frank about the environment candidates are joining. In times like this, you can’t afford to invest in new people only to have them jump ship during the middle of a global crisis.

If you’re hiring someone who will join your business without a face-to-face induction, you will need someone who can pick things up quickly. Focus on competency-based questions around their learning ability. This is important, especially if this outbreak drags on for months.

It may also be a good idea to assess the level of support the candidate expects before they even begin. You may consider asking candidates about their current or former employer’s response to coronavirus and how they think it has impacted the culture.

It can be hard to assess cultural fit via a computer screen, especially when you are used to looking for nuances in face-to-face interactions. More than previously, it may be prudent to ask candidates about interactions with other staff, their preferred management style, and their external interests. Get them talking.

At Quality People we’re here to help, be it with technical issues, screening questions, or emotional guidance in these troubled times. Feel free to reach out to any of our consultants at any time.

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