Virtual Interviewing and Hiring Tips

For many of us, one of the strangest parts of our new reality in the era of COVID-19 is how many of our interactions with other people occur virtually, including interviews with potential new hires. While conducting interviews over Skype or Zoom is certainly safer during a pandemic than doing them in person, there are a lot of small differences that can make these kinds of conversations awkward and uninformative.

In addition to keeping your workplace sanitary and current workforce healthy, it is also important to ensure that you can still effectively screen candidates who might work for you in the future. By following these virtual interviewing and hiring tips, you could have a much easier time getting the answers you need out of the interview process.

Come Prepared

Just like you would with any in-person interview, it is essential to plan ahead for a virtual interview by reading through the applicant’s resumé, getting a good feel for their prior experience, and identifying any questions you would like them to answer. Just because you’re not sitting in the same room as your candidate does not mean you can or should neglect your standard interview prep routine.

Skip the Small Talk and Build a Conversation

When a virtual interview starts, it’s best to get things started right away rather than getting bogged down in awkward conversation starters. Asking about the weather or the drive out to the interview site might be decent icebreakers in person, but trying to manufacture the same effect over a video call is likely to backfire.

Lack of small talk notwithstanding, it’s still important to build a rapport with the person you’re interviewing over a video call, just as you would in person. After all, most of what makes an interview important is determining whether a candidate would fit well with your workplace culture, and you can’t do that with scripted questions alone.

Appearances Still Count

Remember, the person you’re interviewing can see what’s behind you just like you can see what’s behind them, so make sure to tidy up a bit before you start the video call. In the same vein, it’s generally a good idea to dress professionally even though you’re working from home. No need to put on a tie, necessarily, but avoid showing up in a baggy t-shirt and sweats.

Consider Your Body Language

When you’re sitting in front of a web camera instead of across from a real human being, it can be easy to forget what you’re doing because of where you are. Throughout your interview, stay cognizant of your body position and make sure to avoid slouching or letting your eyes wander.

Overcommunicate with both Candidates and Staff

At every stage of the virtual interview process, you should ensure your candidate understands what’s about to happen, who they can expect to speak with, and what the hiring process will look like after the interview concludes. Likewise, employees who are conducting virtual interviews should have standardized interview guidelines to fall back on during their own sessions, as well as time to practice video interviewing before the real thing.