Virtual Interviewing

July 23rd, 2021 • Blog

Dorothy Young, SHRM-CP

The ability for employers to find qualified candidates was a challenge before the coronavirus pandemic and has only gotten more difficult since. We, as employers, have had to become more creative in screening and interviewing candidates through virtual platforms rather than just traditional, in-person interviews. As we all have had to become more comfortable with virtual interviewing, by making a few changes to the traditional process, the virtual process can be both successful and rewarding to the interviewer and the interviewee using the following suggestions.

Technology is very important in a virtual interview and can set the right tone, starting with a strong internet connection. Checking your laptop battery or keeping your laptop plugged into a reliable power source will ensure that you have sufficient battery life. A good laptop camera is ample. Make sure the camera height is at eye level so you can look directly at the camera when speaking (as if the camera was the individual you are speaking with). Lastly, make sure the sound is working properly by testing your speakers, headset, or ear buds and be sure the headset and/or ear buds are fully charged.

The location of where you are seated can make a big difference during a virtual interview and can set the tone for a more meaningful conversation. If you can show a background with your business logo, it is a great way to advertise your company. If that is not an option, make sure what is behind you is a solid, neutral color. Watch the lighting behind or next to you as well, as to not throw shadows and distract the interviewee from your conversation.

Communicate at the start of the interview to let the candidate know whether you will be taking notes so that the candidate does not think you are distracted when you are not looking directly at them. Be prepared for the virtual interview by having a list of open-ended questions, making sure you do not ask anything illegal or discriminating. Because the candidate cannot see your physical work location due to being virtual, be prepared to share with them what your culture is like, discuss your company environment, and share stories about your company and employees. This is your opportunity to sell the job to the candidate!

Eliminating distractions during a virtual interview, or any virtual communication, is the hardest of all these adjustments because we cannot control what is going on elsewhere in our households. Try to be empathetic and understanding of any interruptions, such as animals or children, as much as possible and focus on the discussion at hand. Being flexible is key and you could end up learning something interesting about the candidate!

The ability to sell your business through virtual communication platforms can be a success if you prepare and make a few adjustments, and may result in your next great new hire!

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