Conducting online interviews is on the rise these days. With social distancing measures still being enforced in many areas due to the pandemic, it makes sense that hiring managers and recruiters turn to the most practical way to interview candidates, virtual interviews.
Virtual, online, or video interviews are not at all new for freelancers or work-from-home jobs. But those that are new to the whole set-up, in light of COVID-19, might find this a bit challenging especially for the interviewers. However, the world is in on the “new normal” and virtual interview provides a convenient way to screen candidates; health and work-wise. The trick in making sure that the interview goes smoothly lies in three preparation stages. Follow these interview tips for successfully video interviewing in your organization.
3 Steps for Better Online Video Interviews
1. Pre-Interview Preparation
Here are some things to do prior to the online interview for a smooth and productive dialogue with your applicant. Not only will these help you ask the right questions, but these will also ensure a great interview experience for the candidate.
To be able to come up with effective interview questions, make sure to review the company’s mission and vision, the job description, and the applicant’s resume. Being familiar with all three can help you cross-reference data and ask the right questions later.
Also, get to know the candidate a little more by looking at his or her LinkedIn. Having a bit of a background on your candidate’s interests and advocacies can help you conduct a well-rounded interview.
Prepare your questions
Interviewing candidates using prepared and structured questions can help you get better results. This step ensures that you cover all necessary points to help you decide whether to hire the applicant or not. Also, they not only save time, but they also leave very little room for that awkward dear air.
Prepare your tools and environment
Since video interviews rely on technology, it pays to conduct a couple of tests prior to the interview to avoid technical issues during the process, which can give a negative impression to the candidate. Make sure your video conferencing tool — like Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Skype — is set up and you’re logged in. And double check that your internet connection is strong before starting the video interview.
Another important factor you need to consider is your interview space. Make sure you conduct your interview in a well lit and quiet place with minimal background noise and that you’re face-to-face with the webcam, so your interviewee can see and hear you clearly. This avoids communication breakdown and ensures a smooth conversation. You may be doing interviews for so long and you know what to do but it’s still good to refresh your memory.
Ideally, you’ll have a backup plan if the video interview experience is buggy. Provide a phone number or backup video tool ahead of time, just in case you need to resort to a phone interview.
2. What to Do During the Interview Process When Video Interviewing
As an interviewer, you should (always) try to make your candidate feels comfortable with the hiring process. When the job seeker feels at ease the entire duration, it goes a long way towards improving your candidate experience. Below are some of the things that you can do to give yourself and your applicant a successful video interview experience.
Create a great first impression
Extend your courtesies and welcome your applicant to the video call in a warm manner. Aside from introducing yourself, this is also the best time for you to share a summary of the company and the position they are vying for. Leave no room for confusion by allowing the applicant to ask any questions they may have before you start the interview.
Maintain positive body language
Negative gestures like yawning, checking your phone, or looking somewhere else during the interview show disinterest, so remember to pay attention, maintain direct eye contact, and keep professional composure the entire time.
Online interviews limit your ability to observe your applicant’s gestures, so do your best to pay attention as best as you can through the screen. This way you can respond accordingly should you feel that the applicant is nervous or scared. Your ability to help them feel relaxed the entire time will be greatly appreciated by your possible hire.
According to a post on preparing for a job interview, there are a few qualities that experienced hiring managers always looks for:
- Enthusiasm. Employers are looking for people who want to work. If you don’t seem to be excited and engaged during the interview, how much energy could you have for the job?
- Technical Interest. Showing that you understand what will actually be required in the position and are excited to dig into the nitty-gritty of the job will always give you an advantage over others being interviewed.
- Confidence. The key is to be self-assured and confident without projecting arrogance or bragging. Be candid in your responses about your experience, achievements, and abilities, and don’t be afraid to shine.
Ask follow-up questions
Although you already have your structured questions lined-up, do not hesitate to ask additional questions. This encourages your applicant to open up. Also, asking additional questions can also help you get a broader picture of the situation.
Do not forget to take notes of important details especially if they are not indicated on the applicant’s resume. This can help you formulate follow-up questions and shows the applicant that you are attentive to his or her answers.
3. What to Do After the Interview
Ending the interview on the right note is important, regardless if the applicant is a good fit for the position or not. Leaving a good impression on the other person about the interview and the hiring process will increase the chance of them sharing good words about the company.
Be polite and extend your thanks
Exert the effort to show appreciation to your applicant for showing up. Getting people to show up for an interview is not always guaranteed, so thank your candidate for his or her time.
Open the floor for any questions
It is important that you address any confusion or request for clarification during this time in this way the applicant leaves the interview satisfied.
Although not always necessary, providing feedback at the end is a great way to leave the interview on a positive note. Make sure to provide both highlights and constructive feedback to your applicant.
When making a hiring decision, try to be proactive and communicative with job seekers about your decision. Even if you didn’t move forward with a certain applicant, they’ll appreciate you respectfully letting them know.
In closing, remember that not everything will go according to plan but doing your best to make each online interview a positive experience for your applicants can bring positive effects to the company, yourself, and your candidate. In today’s hiring environment due to the coronavirus and the resulting economic uncertainty, video interviewing is the new norm. Let’s make it as positive an experience as possible.