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Virtual Interview Tips to Give Your Hiring Process a Boost

March 31, 2021

Virtual Interview 101

Virtual Interview Tips to Give  Your Hiring Process a Boost

How many of us are sick of the phrase “the new normal”? The phrase may be cliché by this point, but it’s true that we are faced with a “new normal” in almost every aspect of our lives – and hiring the right employees is no different. With safety being a huge concern, the hiring processes for many companies have gone mostly virtual in the last year, including virtual interviews.

If you’ve had some trouble adjusting to this “new normal,” here are some tips for recruiters and hiring managers to get the most out of your virtual interviews.

Do a Dry Run

There are few things more awkward than a technical issue during a business-related video call. Be sure that you have practiced using your equipment and have a good working understanding of the video software. It’s easy enough to have a colleague do a quick practice pre-call with you to make sure your video and audio are working properly and that you know how to do basic functions such as screen sharing. Doing this pre-work will only take a few minutes and can help avoid an embarrassing moment during a call with a potential new employee.

Provide a Tip Sheet for Your Interviewee

Chances are most folks are familiar with some sort of video conferencing software at this point – we’ve been at this for over a year now. However, it’s always a good idea to provide basic instructions for your candidate when you send them the login information. They may be familiar with Google Hangouts, but have never used Zoom, for example. Be sure they have all of the information they need laid out for them in an easy-to-read format with instructions on how to download the software, if necessary, and detailed instructions on how to navigate things that they may need to do, such as create a username/password. Be sure they have enough lead time to get themselves familiar with the platform themselves – two to four business days should be sufficient. And it’s always a good idea to provide them with an alternate way to contact you in case the technology fails for some reason – a phone number is a good backup.

Here are some additional ways to design your hiring process for a positive candidate experience.

Block Off Additional Calendar Time

Often when I have an important meeting, I block off an additional 15 to 30 minutes on my calendar right before the meeting to make sure I have time before to do any last minute prep, get myself situated, and log on a few minutes early – especially if I need to be prepared to screen share.

Want more? Check out our comprehensive list of resources to help adapt to a world of remote work.

Minimize Distrac…..Oh, Was That an Email Notification?

Distractions are your enemy when on any meeting, let alone a video interview! Minimize distractions as much as possible. If you’re working from home, make sure you have a quiet space and let others in your household know that you are on a video call so there are minimal interruptions. When you’re sharing your screen, it’s best to turn off all desktop notifications and close any other internet windows or running apps. When you share your screen, the person you’re sharing it with will be able to see all of those things as they pop up – even the email from your partner reminding you to take the dog out. Awkward.

Position Your Camera Properly and Check Your Lighting

Be sure your camera is in a stable position and at eye level. If possible, move the window you are working from to the same area where your webcam is located. This way, you’ll be looking in the direction of call participants rather than off-screen. This mimics eye contact and helps create a sense of engagement with your interviewee. As for lighting, try to have light in front of you (no fancy halo light necessary – even a desk lamp can make a big difference) rather than behind you. You run the risk of showing up as a silhouette or obscured by shadow if there is bright light behind you.

Put Away that Van Halen T-shirt

Many of us are working from home right now, and the dress code has been…well, let’s just say it’s been very casual. However, when you’re interviewing a potential future employee, it’s important to still put forth a professional appearance. I’m not saying you have to suit up, but maybe exchange that Van Halen t-shirt for a button-down or polo.

Add Day-in-the-Life Exercises

Don't stop at the interview! Virtual simulations add to the interview process by presenting realistic working challenges, requiring the participants to demonstrate key behaviors important for success in the job. They let you see the participant in action and provide powerful evidence of an individual’s capabilities, ensuring you identify the right people. This is a great component to add to the hiring process to give you a more well-rounded picture of your candidates.

Read about Mylan's experience using online business simulation technology.

This is also a great way for the candidates to see what it’s like to work in this role, which greatly improves the candidate experience and promotes your employer brand. Virtual Day-in-the-Life Exercises provide an engaging, immersive, and realistic assessment experience for the participant, enhancing your employer brand. Learn more about virtual simulations for hiring and development

Much of this may seem like common sense. However, it’s always good to have a refresher on best practices. Also, it’s important to note that stuff happens – people have real life happening around them while they are trying to navigate these very weird times, so we should also be sure to be adaptable and supportive. Hopefully this will help you find the best fit for your open position!

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Amber Tipton Amber Tipton is a Marketing Specialist based in the Pittsburgh office of PSI. She loves research, is a grammar ninja, and is a passionate curator of company culture. Amber has a B.A. in Communications from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.