In the post-pandemic world, the workplace looks much different than it did before. In March 2020, when thousands of companies were forced to transition to entirely remote work, many business leaders assumed it would be a short-lived detour, and that their teams would return to the office full-time within a few weeks. But that didn’t happen.
Just over two years later, remote and hybrid work has become a fixture in the fabric of countless organizations around the globe. What’s more, millions of job seekers are now tailoring their job searches exclusively to remote and hybrid roles, and thousands of businesses are opening their hiring pools to candidates in other cities, states, even countries—for the first time ever.
One of the immediate effects of this shift is the now-ubiquitous use of video conferencing for job interviews. While the traditional face-to-face interview will never fully go away, virtual interviews have become far more commonplace in the years since the pandemic.
We’ve published multiple resources for job seekers who want to learn how to nail a virtual interview—after all, many candidates will be making a first impression on their potential employers via video chat.
One thing that’s often overlooked, however, is just how important it is for employers to perfect their virtual interviewing skills. This is especially true when you consider how competitive the current hiring market is; employers can lose a potential candidate to a competitor at any stage of the hiring process, so it’s vital that they put their best foot forward from the very beginning. In our current environment, the hiring process often begins in the virtual world.
Here are some key tips for hiring managers who want to master the virtual interview.
Know your way around top video conferencing platforms
Depending on the purpose of your interview or meeting, you may be required to log in using a different video chatting platform than you’re used to. It’s important to master a variety of conferencing tools so you’ll be prepared in every scenario.
This is especially true when you’re conducting interviews with candidates via video conference. You need to be able to focus on getting the most out of your virtual interactions with each candidate—not on potential technical issues or confusion surrounding the technology you’re using.
Here are a few of the most advanced (and most common) video conferencing tools and applications:
- Microsoft Teams: Microsoft Teams is easily integrated into the Office 365 stack, a system that’s used by over a million companies around the globe.
- Skype for Business: Microsoft’s popular online service, Skype, offers an enterprise-ready video conferencing tool.
- Zoom: Zoom has become one of the most popular video conferencing solutions for businesses in the post-pandemic world. Unlike many other platforms, Zoom allows anyone with a link to the meeting to attend, without having to establish a user account — which can be useful when you’re not sure about the technical capabilities of candidates you’re interviewing.
- Google Meet’s polished interface and rich line-up of features were created with enterprise customers in mind.
Prepare for a successful video interview
After you’ve mastered the video conferencing tools you’ll be using, you should turn your attention to polishing your video interview etiquette.
Make a plan
Before you hop into the interview with an exciting candidate, create a plan with your hiring team.
Make sure you ask yourself and your team members the following questions:
- How has the interview process changed now that it’s being conducted remotely?
- Who needs to be in the interview?
- Do you need to create a presentation to share on-screen? Which team member will be responsible for operating the screen share feature during the interview?
- Are there assessments that the candidate should complete before the interview? Which team member is sending the assessments and receiving the completed work for evaluation?
- What’s your backup plan if technical difficulties or connection issues arise?
- How will you share feedback internally?
Hold “test” interviews
Holding test “interviews” with your team will ensure that everyone knows how to use your video conference platform’s features, like muting, chatting, sending attachments and documents, and screen sharing.
You’ll also want to make sure that your candidate has the information and log-in credentials they need before the interview.
Prepare your candidates
We’ve quickly discovered that video interviews can be just as effective as in-person interviews.
Still, it’s important to provide transparent communication with the candidate, just as you would for a traditional interview. Let the candidate know who will be joining the virtual interview so they will be prepared to interact with additional people. You should also develop a plan for quickly communicating scheduling issues, connection issues or any delays you or your team may run into before the interview’s start time.
Prepare your space (or your virtual background)
Prepare the space where you’ll conduct the interview—and encourage any team member who is joining you to do the same.
Find a quiet, clutter-free, and well-lit room. If you don’t have an optimal space available, consider using a background filter. If possible, run an audio and video test at least 30 minutes before the interview is scheduled to begin to make sure all your technology is connected and working.
- Make sure your camera is focused and framed correctly; you don’t want to distract candidates with a video screen that shows only half of your face.
- Speak to the camera, not the screen.
- Talk about your company culture! A video interview prevents candidates from seeing the environment of your office, so you’ll want to emphasize your company’s mission or core tenets.
- Remember to ask the same questions you’d ask in an in-person interview.
- Take notes! But be sure to let the candidate know so they don’t assume you’ve disengaged with the conversation.
- Have a backup plan. Know how to communicate with the candidate quickly if you get disconnected, and know how to restart your system, log back in, and reboot your video conferencing software to continue the interview.
Send a quick thank you note to your candidate — yes, we’re flipping the script on this one— and ask them to complete a feedback survey. Ask them how the platform worked for them, how they felt the conversation went, and if there’s anything you can do to improve the process.
Not only will you gain valuable insights into your video interview process, you have yet another chance to see how responsive and thoughtful the candidate is.
Need expertise in sourcing outstanding remote or local candidates? Vaco is with you all the way.
Learn more about our solutions today.