female waving a recruiter on laptop during virtual interviewMuch of the world took a right turn in March of 2020 and became virtual. That included learning a new skill for hiring managers and recruiters.  A poll conducted by Gartner in April of 2020 showed that 86% of interviews for hiring were conducted remotely.

Interviews via ZOOM

Learning to conduct interviews via ZOOM or some other virtual platform takes some skill to keep the conversation going in addition to asking relevant questions. Some managers have commented that they miss the information that came from in-person meetings.  It takes some thought and preparation to make the interview process a good experience for everyone. If possible send a schedule to the candidate and the interviewers who will be participating in the interview process. Allow breaks for the candidate in between interviewers. A big consideration. If you engage in a panel interview make sure that the questions are prepared ahead of time and are assigned to individuals. It’s a big distraction for the candidate to have interviewers overtalking each other.  It can be confusing and does not give the candidate the best opportunity to showcase their qualifications and strengths.

Interview preparation

Preparation has always been important in the interviewing process and it’s still important if the interview is virtual.  Part of the preparation is ensuring that the technology used works and that the candidate has access to the platform that will be used.

A review of the job description and the candidate(s) resume ahead of the scheduled meeting is important for both in-person and virtual interviews. The hiring manager bears the responsibility to prepare the interview team ahead of time and reviewing both the job description and the qualifications of the candidates who will be interviewed. This preparation will ensure that no one on the interview team will be reading the candidate(s) resume during the interview. A discussion about the important and relevant points to cover can more surely lead to a good interview for both the candidate and the interview team.

Make the candidate feel welcome

Because an interview is virtual doesn’t exempt making a candidate feel welcome.  Be sure to minimize distractions and create a non-distracted environment for everyone on the call. Come to the call with a professional appearance.  Please, no multi-tasking while you are interviewing. Make this a rule and non-negotiable requirement for the interview team.  Inform the candidate that you’ll be taking notes and invite them to do so, too if they are so inclined. Take notes on paper. It’s a big no-no to type during the interview.

Virtual interviewing can be stressful for both the hiring manager and the job candidate. Be conscious of the possibility of miscommunication on both sides of the monitor. You, as the hiring manager, will want to convey a positive image of your organization, company and yourself. The candidates are wanting to portray themselves as skilled, qualified and good hires for your team.

Make sure to let the interviewee what the next steps will be after the interview such as when to expect to hear back from you. Be as specific as possible and keep your word about the time frames. Good candidates have been lost because a hiring manager didn’t adhere to the promised times.

Close the interview with appreciation for the candidate’s time and allow time for the candidate to ask questions.  After the interview a debrief with your interview team to review what worked and what didn’t work will gradually make the experience more productive. It matters for you and the candidates.

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