What Advice is Crucial for Conducting Effective Virtual Interviews?


    What Advice is Crucial for Conducting Effective Virtual Interviews?

    Navigating the nuances of virtual interviews can be challenging, so we've gathered wisdom from CEOs and Founders among other experts to share their top strategies. From the importance of prioritizing engagement to ensuring clear communication throughout the process, discover six key pieces of advice to conduct effective virtual interviews.

    • Prioritize Engagement Over Process
    • Extend Pleasantries for Personality Insights
    • Personalize to Connect with Candidates
    • Create a Distraction-Free Interview Environment
    • Pre-Interview Tech Testing for Smooth Experience
    • Ensure Clear Communication Before and After

    Prioritize Engagement Over Process

    The most effective virtual interviews are ones where both parties come away feeling truly connected, despite the digital barrier. My piece of advice is to prioritize engagement over process. Start the interview with a personal touch—maybe ask about a recent work achievement they're proud of, or a hobby they've mentioned in their resume. This not only breaks the ice but also gives you insight into what motivates the candidate. Throughout the interview, maintain eye contact as if you were in the same room, and remember to nod and smile to convey that you're attentively listening. Utilize tools like screen sharing to make discussions about work samples or data more interactive. And finally, be clear about next steps to show respect for the candidate's time and interest. By focusing on engagement, you'll create a more humanized interview experience that can lead to better hiring decisions.

    Brett Farmiloe
    Brett FarmiloeCEO, Featured

    Extend Pleasantries for Personality Insights

    As a recruiter specializing in the executive sector, I'm often conducting interviews with candidates across the continent. We might never meet face-to-face in this increasingly virtual world, so I've had to develop new techniques for evaluating their personal attributes: Soft skills aren't always apparent over a computer.

    One piece of advice I'd give fellow interviewers working in the virtual sphere is to take a little longer on pleasantries. In person, you might be tempted to skip small talk, but when you're meeting over the internet, casual conversation can be your only chance to judge a candidate's personality.

    So, start each interview with some so-called watercooler talk. Sports, the weather, and pop culture events are great options that tend to loosen people up and show their true colors.

    Travis Hann
    Travis HannPartner, Pender & Howe

    Personalize to Connect with Candidates

    As a recruiter, I know that the key to conducting effective virtual interviews is intimacy. It's hard to connect over a screen, and yet, you must if you want a full picture of the candidate.

    Personalization helps bridge the gap. I'm not the type to have a standard set of questions that I run through with every candidate, regardless of their experience, education, and skill set. I'd rather tailor my interview to the candidate, and that means giving good thought to their unique strengths and weaknesses. Developing a series of questions that speak to their individuality also helps them feel appreciated. Not only are my questions more effective, they're more likely to open up.

    Linn Atiyeh
    Linn AtiyehCEO, Bemana

    Create a Distraction-Free Interview Environment

    For conducting effective virtual interviews, my advice is to create a distraction-free environment. Ensure good lighting, a clean background, and test your technology beforehand. Dress professionally, maintain eye contact, and actively listen to candidates. This fosters a positive virtual interview experience and helps you make better hiring decisions.

    Khurram Mir
    Khurram MirFounder and Chief Marketing Officer, Kualitee

    Pre-Interview Tech Testing for Smooth Experience

    To avoid technical glitches and awkward soundchecks, I always advise my candidates to conduct pre-interview testing. Ten minutes prior to the scheduled call, they should log onto the meeting platform (e.g., Zoom, Teams, etc.) with a friend. This trial run enables them to check their headset, microphone, and environment to address potential issues like a weak internet connection or background noise.

    This proactive testing ensures a smoother interview experience, allowing them to focus on showcasing their skills and demonstrating why they are the perfect fit for the role, instead of technical hiccups.

    Agassiz Kong
    Agassiz KongExecutive Search - Oil and Energy, Kepler Search

    Ensure Clear Communication Before and After

    One crucial piece of advice for conducting effective virtual interviews is to ensure clear and open communication before, during, and after the interview. In a virtual setting, the absence of physical presence can lead to misunderstandings or a lack of connection. To mitigate this, it's important to establish a strong communication line right from the start.

    Before the interview, provide candidates with detailed instructions on the technology that will be used, along with a backup plan in case of technical difficulties. This includes not only the platform (like Zoom, Skype, etc.) but also any necessary access codes or passwords. Offering a test call before the interview can also help both parties troubleshoot any potential issues in advance.

    During the interview, be mindful of the limitations of virtual communication. Engage in active listening, give candidates time to finish their thoughts, and be clear in your questions and responses. Since non-verbal cues are harder to pick up in a virtual environment, it's important to be more expressive and verbalize understanding or agreement.

    After the interview, follow up promptly. A quick email acknowledging the interview and outlining the next steps can significantly enhance the candidate's experience. This ongoing communication demonstrates respect for the candidate's time and effort and maintains a positive impression of your organization.

    In my experience, clear communication throughout the virtual interview process not only improves the quality of the interview but also builds a strong foundation for potential future working relationships. It ensures that both parties are on the same page, thus maximizing the effectiveness of the interview process.

    Bruno Gavino
    Bruno GavinoFounder, CEO, CodeDesign