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The Virtual Interview: 5 Easy Tips for Interviewers and Interviewees

virtual interview boldr

The reality of remote working has been cemented into company policies and procedures across the globe. Some employers have adopted hybrid working solutions, while others seek ways to better manage remote teams. However, this virtual trend has rippled through all business processes, especially the recruitment process.

The Virtual Interview

The interview process has undergone tremendous changes after the introduction of digital platforms. As a result, interviews can be conducted from anywhere in the world. While there are minor drawbacks, it is helpful when looking for ace team members who will add value to the company.

Gone are the days of nervousness and sweaty palms when prepping for an interview. Candidates no longer have to worry about arriving late at the interview location or whether their shoes are shiny enough to impress the bosses. You can be assessed in the comfort of your home, while sitting in your PJ’s and slippers. While this is less formal and encourages less biases being made based on your physical presence, it says very little about your ability to perform under stressful situations.

A video interview could be the start of a long-term relationship between the company and the individual. For that reason, the tips below can be helpful to both the interviewer and the interviewee.

5 Tips for Interviewers

There are numerous benefits to conducting virtual interviews. Primarily, it offers recruiters or company representatives a degree of flexibility when making appointments with hopeful candidates, not to mention saving the costs of booking offices to conduct in-person interviews. Now that emergent technologies and work-from-home arrangements have been incorporated into the talent acquisition process, there are ways to make the most of a virtual interview.

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1. Draft and structure a standardized interview

By creating a baseline for how interviews will be conducted, you can ensure that all team members forming part of the process are on the same page. Having a standardized questionnaire and rating system will simplify the virtual interview and guide novice interviewers. Not only does this eliminate unnecessary bias by having a one-process-for-all interviewing guideline, but it will create a structured interview process, which can easily be adapted for country-specific amendments to labor laws when operating in multiple jurisdictions.

2. Send a detailed interview invite

The digital invite to the interview can go a long way towards addressing some of the candidate’s fears or concerns. The start and end times will indicate the duration, while the panel of interviewers and their titles will let the candidate know which department heads or leaders would be present. This could affect the technicality of their replies, which will help gauge the candidate’s knowledge on a given topic.

3. Set the tone

It’s challenging to obtain a true measure of a candidate’s skills, experience or their personality, when they are not completely relaxed or feel uncomfortable during an interview. From greeting to concluding, you will be tasked with ensuring that the individual is relaxed and comfortable to complete the interview. By familiarizing the candidate about the interview agenda and how you plan to conduct it, they can prepare themselves mentally for the duration.

4. Discuss culture and values, then personal interests

When meeting someone in a social environment for the first time, it makes sense to share relevant information about yourself. In a virtual interview you have the opportunity to introduce yourself and the company in a neutral manner. This is your chance to tell a potential new team member who the company is and what they are all about. You can make it fun and informative, but remember to keep it brief. Sharing this information early on will encourage the interviewee to open up about their interests or hobbies, while preparing them for the company’s culture.

5. Feedback and wrapping up the interview

You have asked all your questions and gotten great answers. Now it’s time to wrap it up. Many interviewers make the mistake of rushing through this part of the interview, when it is a golden opportunity to learn more about the candidate and their thought processes. Once you have completed the assessment, thank them for their time and explain the hiring process going forward.

Encourage them to ask questions about the company or the position they are being interviewed for. If possible, provide them with live feedback at the end of the interview and ask them to reciprocate. The candidate’s inquisitiveness and how they position their questions could provide a lot of insight into their interests in the company and the position.

5 Tips for Interviewees

So, you finally got that long-awaited call-back for an interview. You are stoked about this opportunity, but you never considered the possibility that it would be a virtual interview with a panel of five managers from various locations across the world. You have no idea what to expect or how to prepare for this meeting. This could be make or break for your career and you want to make the most of it. Here are some tips to set you on the right path.

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1. Be prepared

This does not simply mean getting all your ducks in a row or having your facts or employment history at hand. To prepare, make sure to check the speed of your internet connection, especially the upload speed, because this is what they will see on their screens. If you are jittery or a jumble of pixels, it will be difficult for the team to get a clear idea of who you are. While you are at it, check your choice of background. Will the lighting cause you to look like a ghost? Then change it.

Preparing for an interview can also mean reading, meditation, or listening to music before the time to get you in the right mental space. You will be the topic of discussion in the interview, so it is imperative to be in the right mind. Just don’t lose yourself in the moment and come across as being too relaxed.

2. Be presentable

Even where the interview is being done remotely, it is important to be mindful of what you are wearing. This is not to show off your fashion sense, but it is certainly a factor that will affect your confidence or your professionalism. If you are sitting in your PJs, you are probably slouching without even noticing it. Rest assured, the panel of interviewers only have your image on a screen and they will be paying close attention. Ask yourself this question: Would you hire someone that looks like you?

3. Be on time

Nothing will destroy your chances of getting a shot at the top spot more than showing up late for your own interview. It is near impossible to recover from that. It reads a lot into someone’s ability to meet deadlines or to respond to communication.

4. Be focused

Stay focused and pay attention to the questions. It is generally favorable if an interview turns into a discussion. It means everyone is engaged, but you have to follow the conversation and engage with the interviewers. Whatever you do, try to avoid coming across as being distracted or disinterested in a question or a topic.

5. Be appreciative

The team that interviewed you cleared time out of their busy schedules to meet with you. No matter who you are or what the situation might be, once someone has committed to attend a meeting, they have pinched off time for you and that is worthy of recognition. Time is a valuable commodity, so respect their time and show your appreciation for being considered for the position. Remember, even celebrities like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Jennifer Aniston once had to be interviewed when they applied for their first job.

Boldr offers holistic outsourcing solutions with teams located in five different countries. In order to simplify and streamline our diverse talent acquisition process, we have embraced the technology available for us, which is why we regularly conduct virtual interviews. If you need some guidance to plan your next recruitment drive, then contact us for more information. 

James Fouche is a Content Writer at Boldr, an author and a columnist. He is passionate about sharing his love of reading and writing with others.

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