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HCMWorks Insights

9 Tips for Conducting a Virtual Interview

Posted by Julia Fournier on 11 May 2021

After work settings went remote, interviews naturally followed suit. Virtual interviewing practices have grown increasingly common during the COVID-19 pandemic. New technologies have allowed interviewers to adapt to the new remote setting and conduct candidate assessments right from their home offices. Remote interviews can be conducted through phone calls or more sophisticated video conferencing tools, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Skype Business. Regardless of the videoconferencing mechanism used, these virtual interview tips apply to most scenarios.

#1 Communicate What to Prepare

When scheduling an interview via email, provide all the information the individual may require. If there is a pre-interview task, such as a quiz or an assignment, communicate to whom it needs to be sent and if it will be discussed during the interview. If you plan on using a video conferencing tool, inform the applicant which platform will be used and if there are any specific technical requirements. It can also be helpful to provide the names and positions of the individuals with whom the candidate will be speaking so they can prepare accordingly.

#2 Be Aware of Time Zones

Not every candidate is video conferencing from the same time zone as you. Some entry-level candidates have moved back in with family to save rent, some are visiting relatives in need of care, and others are taking advantage of remote work to interview outside their immediate area. Providing an interview time that accommodates both time zones communicates to the candidate that the company values their time.

#3 Set Reminders

If your business uses Microsoft Outlook and/or is setting up a Microsoft Teams meeting, schedule a meeting time and reminder in the calendar. This method is effective because all of the meeting details are attached, including the dial-in numbers, the meeting link, and any other relevant information. The details will be featured in the notification which alerts the interviewee 15 minutes prior to the scheduled interview.

#4 Test Your Tech

This may seem like an obvious suggestion, yet many neglect it. The candidate is already nervous about the interview, and a technical difficulty during the video call will only make the experience more intense. Conduct a test call with a colleague, check internet stability, and initiate an internet speed test to ensure that the candidate can understand your questions clearly.

#5 Collect Contact Information

When scheduling the interview, collect applicant contact information and reciprocate by providing your own. Despite the best preparations, internet connections may still fail, and applications may crash. In the worst-case scenario, an interview can be continued over the phone.

#6 Log in Early

Make sure that you start the call on time. Having candidates wait in empty video conferencing rooms will make them question whether they clicked the wrong link or signed in too early. Log in early and start the meeting. If more preparation time is required on your behalf, set up a virtual waiting room and admit them into the main meeting room once you are ready. 

#7 Communicate Intent to Record

Take advantage of the features in virtual interviewing technology, such as recording calls, but inform participants of your intent. Recording a video call can be an effective tool in narrowing down candidates after their interviews. Although Canadian law only requires one person’s consent to record phone calls, it is courteous to inform the other party that the call is being recorded.

#8 The Pre-Interview Assessment

Pre-interview assessments, such as a writing sample or a specific skill test, are common when in-person project-based interviews are no longer an option. If a pre-interview assessment was issued, it should be reviewed prior to the interview to allow for follow-up questions and elaboration.

#9 Discuss Company Culture

With remote interviewing practices, the opportunity to walk around the office disappears. When the individual lacks the ability to view the office or interact with current staff members, all they can rely on is their perception of the interviewer. By verbally painting a picture of company culture, you substitute what they cannot see.

Employing these various tips not only provides ease for both parties but also indicates to the interviewee that their needs have been considered. 

HCMWorks provides HR advisory and talent acquisition solutions to ensure you hire the best and brightest, even in virtual interview settings. For more information regarding talent acquisition strategy, speak with one of our professionals.

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