The pandemic left a lasting influence on how we live and work, and some of the trends that originated out of necessity have become the norm. One example is virtual interviewing. As of 2023, 90% of organizations use virtual interviews, and most employers say they prefer this interview format. Implementing virtual interviewing tips for hiring managers can be crucial in navigating this digital landscape effectively and efficiently, ensuring you secure top talent no matter the distance.
Virtual job interviews can help candidates feel at ease by allowing them to be in their environment without the stress of dealing with traffic jams and other logistics of attending an in-person meeting. Also, the potential for flexible scheduling makes it convenient for hiring managers who need to fit many interviews into a limited time period.
Still, conducting interviews remotely brings its own set of challenges. You are not alone if you’re wondering how to manage them to maximize your success in securing top talent for your organization. Fortunately, you can use some best practices for virtual interviews to help ensure you get the most from meeting with job candidates from a distance.
Benefits of Using Virtual Interviews
Virtual interviews allow greater flexibility for both employers and candidates. For applicants currently employed, it’s much easier to find a discreet location and participate in a video conversation with a prospective new employer than taking a full or half day off work to attend an in-person interview. Employers can be more accommodating because scheduling is less of a challenge.
Because virtual interviews are typically easier and faster to schedule, recruiters can be more efficient with their time. They may be able to speak with more candidates than they would if relying solely on face-to-face interviews. Multiple rounds of interviews are less of a hassle for all parties if some or all of the meetings can be done virtually.
Companies that traditionally covered travel and accommodations for out-of-town candidates can save significant money–and consider more applicants–by using virtual interviewing instead.
Like many pieces of technology, virtual interviews facilitate easy collaboration. Not only is scheduling among multiple interviewers simplified but so is the process of gathering and comparing feedback.
Expanded talent pool
Whereas budgetary and logistical constraints may have previously limited interviews to local candidates, the option to interview remotely greatly broadens employers’ talent pools. A company could feasibly expand its search globally to find the right candidate if necessary.
Cons of Virtual Interviews
Most people who have participated in Zoom meetings have had at least one technical mishap. From internet connectivity issues to malfunctioning hardware, technology is unpredictable and prone to going haywire at the most inopportune moment–a.k.a. in the middle of an interview.
Remote interviews can present unique challenges for certain candidates, like people with disabilities that affect their communication or those who are less confident using unfamiliar technology. That can put these groups at an unfair disadvantage and limit your ability to hire diverse populations.
Greater likelihood of distractions
Dogs bark. Kids barge in. Salesmen bang on the door. Fire alarms go off. Since candidates usually participate in remote interviews outside of the workplace, they’re prime territory for distracting interruptions.
Lack of nonverbal communication
While online interviews have many merits, it’s impossible to digitally replicate the connection you can make with a person when meeting them face to face. When using this interview format, there’s a greater chance you’ll miss out on important cues like facial expressions and body language that can be meaningful when assessing a potential new hire.
Incomplete candidate experience
When a candidate interviews in person, it’s easy for them to get a feel for, say, whether the office is formal or relaxed or how much interaction coworkers have with one another. You can’t convey these same workplace attributes in a virtual interview, which may make it harder for both parties to assess cultural fit.
Top Virtual Interviewing Tips for Hiring Managers
1. Save the date and send an invitation
Suggest potential interview dates that will give everyone involved ample time to prepare. After scheduling the interview at a mutually agreeable day and time, send email invitations to the candidate and other participants to confirm they will attend. If you want to record the interview, inform the candidate in advance and obtain written consent that they know it will be recorded and have agreed to it.
Example of a virtual interview invitation
Hello [CANDIDATE NAME],
My name is [RECRUITER NAME] with [COMPANY NAME]. I’d like to schedule a virtual interview to speak with you about our [POSITION TITLE] role. Below are some suggested time slots. If these are not suitable for you, please suggest an alternate date and time that would work.
[DATE AND TIME 1]
[DATE AND TIME 2]
The interview will be conducted via [INTERVIEW PLATFORM]. I will follow up with further instructions once we agree upon a time.
I look forward to speaking with you!
2. Provide clear instructions
Virtual interviewing tips for hiring managers include giving candidates all of the details they need about the online platform you’ll use and directions for how they should access the virtual meeting. If they need to download an app or set up an account, they must know beforehand to ensure there are no technical issues to resolve at the last minute.
3. Choose a quiet location
Select a peaceful spot away from other people, pets, and other potential interruptions so that you can interview candidates without distractions. You might also consider using a headset to prevent any unexpected background noise from interfering with the video call’s audio quality.
4. Prepare for the interview
You expect job candidates to appear prepared when they meet with you. You, too, should devote time to making remote interviews as productive as possible.
Minimize the risk of technical difficulties by having reliable technology (desktop or laptop computer instead of a smartphone, strong internet connection, etc.) in place to conduct your interviews. If multiple people from your company will attend the meetings, encourage them to have their technical details in good order.
Before you begin online interviews, make sure you have all of the information and materials you’ll need in front of you. Your list of interview questions, the job description, the candidate’s resume, and other documentation the interviewee provided in advance should all be readily available.
In addition to your usual list of job interview questions, consider those below as well. When hiring for a remote position, they can help assess if a candidate possesses the right qualities.
Work-from-home interview questions
- Do you believe you’re good at managing yourself? Why or why not?
- Do you have a space in your home where you can work with minimal distractions or interruptions?
- What types of distractions might you face when working from home?
- How will you set boundaries between your work and personal life while working from home?
- What has attracted you to working remotely rather than in an office?
- How much do you rely on work for your social interaction? How will you balance your need for in-person interaction with working remotely?
- How do/would you prefer to communicate with your managers and colleagues when working remotely
- What online collaboration tools have you used in the past?
- What would you do if you lost your internet connection during the workday?
If co-workers attend the interviews, it may help to establish ground rules in advance so they don’t talk over each other or stray from your agenda. Share with them how you will structure the interview and be clear about when you will welcome their participation during the discussions.
Incorporating virtual interviewing tips for hiring managers can assist in maintaining a professional and organized environment during these remote sessions. Also, remind participants to keep their microphones on mute when they are not talking to ensure a smooth and efficient remote interview process.
5. Demonstrate professionalism
Virtual interviews are no less important than in-person interviews for allowing candidates to learn about your company and visualize how they might fit there. First impressions go both ways. Even when conducting interviews from home, treat them with the same level of professionalism that you would if meeting with candidates face-to-face in the office. Dress appropriately for your company culture, speak respectfully, always pay attention to the interviewee, and maintain eye contact by focusing on your computer’s camera rather than the screen.
As a hiring manager, you’re probably not as concerned as the candidate will be about what to wear. However, your appearance will be their main focal point, so looking professional and polished is important. Implementing virtual interviewing tips for hiring managers, including those related to appropriate attire, can be crucial. If your office is laid-back, you may want to throw on a blazer. Conversely, if you’re in a formal work environment, your attire should reflect that style to help convey your culture accurately. Adhering to these tips enhances your professional image and sets the tone for a successful virtual interview.
6. Talk about your company culture
It may be difficult for a job candidate to gain a sense of your business’s culture and overall work atmosphere without having the opportunity to experience the physical environment. Below are several ideas to help them gain a better grasp of those things when you’re doing remote hiring:
- Explain your company’s values and vision.
- Provide examples of how your company’s employees unite for causes (such as organizing fundraisers).
- Share what employees have said they like most about working for your company. (Examples from employees in the department or job specialty the candidate would be hired for can be especially impactful.)
- Discuss how employees have collaborated to solve several particularly challenging customer problems.
7. Be transparent
Virtual interviews present added security concerns. Clearly communicate whether the interview will be recorded and, if so, how the recording will be stored and used. You should also disclose who will be able to view it. If you use an assessment tool like a scoring matrix, it’s a good idea to share that with candidates so they clearly understand how they’re being judged.
8. Rate interviewees consistently
When interviewing candidates in person, use a rating system or interview scorecard that gives you a consistent way of evaluating prospective employees. By applying the same criteria to each interviewee, you can easily identify those who meet the desired qualifications and characteristics.
9. Watch for warning signs
Many red flags you watch for when interviewing job applicants in person are the same as those when conducting Zoom meetings. There are also additional warning signs to watch for when holding interviews remotely.
- The candidate is late or doesn’t show up. Candidates genuinely interested in the position will join the interview at the scheduled time. Being prompt and present demonstrates respect for your and your company’s time. While emergencies can and do happen, prospective employees should contact you as soon as possible to inform you of unforeseen circumstances preventing them from attending on time.
- The candidate exhibits sloppy behavior or grooming. A remote interview isn’t a license for candidates to show up in their pajamas or sweatpants and ignore speaking professionally. If interviewees act or dress overly casually, it may be a sign that they aren’t serious about the job or your company.
- The candidate seems uncomfortable with communicating. Being in front of a camera may cause some discomfort for candidates who are used to in-person interviews—still, communication skills matter. Consider if candidates are having trouble expressing themselves clearly or answering questions thoughtfully.
- The candidate didn’t minimize noises and distractions during the interview. This, too, can be a warning sign that candidates aren’t wholly interested in the position or your company. If they haven’t taken the time to prepare their environment for the interview, will they try to reduce distractions if hired and working from home?
10. Communicate what your candidate can expect next
Let your interviewee know what the next steps will be. This will enable them to feel more connected with the process despite the lack of a firm handshake after the interview. Share if you need anything else from them, tell them when you intend to select a candidate and explain how you will let them know whether you have chosen them for the position.
Example of a virtual interview follow-up email to a candidate
I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me on [DATE]. Transparency is important to our company, so let us know what to expect next.
We intend to complete the interview process for this position on [DATE] and hope to make a selection shortly after that. We will communicate our decision with you via email, but I am also available at [PHONE NUMBER] if you have questions or concerns.
In the meantime, please send over [REFERENCES, ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, ETC.].
Once again, thank you again for your interest in employment with [COMPANY].
Virtual Interviewing Tips for Hiring Managers to Hire With Confidence
COVID-19 has forever changed hiring processes, ushering in a new era where virtual recruitment is predominant. Fortunately, you don’t have to navigate these unprecedented HR challenges alone. We provide pivotal support and crucial virtual interviewing tips for hiring managers, assisting you in crafting a recruiting and hiring strategy that meets your unique needs, addresses the new hurdles brought by the pandemic, and remains within your budget constraints.
Contact us to schedule a free consultation and discuss how we can help you through every stage of the hiring process.