Picture this. You have a busy day conducting tons of virtual interviews. You have your computer set up in a well-lit room with a notepad and pen by your side. You're wearing your best professional outfit, and you're feeling great.
The first interviewee arrives "on time" according to the video conferencing waiting room. You click to start the interview and… nothing happens. No video, no audio. You can see the spinning wheel of death going round and round. Suddenly, the interviewee's video pops up, but there's no audio.
This is a nightmare scenario for any interviewer (or interviewee), but it doesn't have to be. With a few simple tips, you can ensure that your virtual interviews go off without a hitch.
That's why we've put together this comprehensive guide on everything you need to know to conduct a proper virtual interview. From choosing the right platform to sending a follow-up email, we've got you covered.
So grab yourself a cup of coffee and settle in - let's get started!
What is a Virtual Interview?
A virtual interview is a job interview that is conducted online, typically via video conference.
These types of interviews have become increasingly popular since the COVID 19 pandemic and according to a recent survey by Gartner HR, 86% of organizations incorporated new virtual technology to interview candidates due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some common platforms that are used for virtual interviews include Skype and Google Hangouts.
Benefits of a virtual interview
There are many benefits of conducting a virtual interview, both for the interviewer and the interviewee.
For the interviewer, a virtual interview is a more efficient way to screen candidates. It's also a great way to get a feel for the candidate's personality and communication style.
Let's say you're a law firm looking for a software developer to create a new app for lawyers. In a traditional in-person interview, you might ask the candidate about their experience with coding languages and software development. But in a virtual interview, you can actually see the candidate's work by asking them to share their screen and walk you through a project (e.g., software used by law firms) they've worked on.
For the interviewee, a virtual interview is a convenient way to interview for a job, without having to travel. It's also a good way to get a feel for the company culture.
For example, if you're interviewing for a job at a company that has offices in different cities, you can get a sense of what the office environment is like by observing the way the team interacts with each other during the virtual interview. Or, if you're assessing a company's remote work readiness, you can get a sense of their virtual communication and collaboration tools by seeing how they're used during the interview process.
Disadvantages of a virtual interview
Of course, there are also some disadvantages to conducting a virtual interview.
For the interviewer, it can be difficult to build rapport with the candidate when you're not in the same room. It can also be harder to read body language and facial expressions when you're not face-to-face. For example, you might miss subtle cues that would indicate whether the candidate is nervous or not engaged in the conversation.
For the interviewee, it can be difficult to focus when you're not in a traditional interview setting. It can also be challenging to make a good impression when you're not sure how the interviewer perceives you. Let's say you're interviewing for a tech company, and you've been asked to carry out a short presentation on cloud phone system security. You may be feeling confident about your presentation, but if the interviewer's video is frozen and you can't see their reaction, it's hard to tell if you're making a good impression or not. This can be daunting and result in you not performing as well in your presentation.
Types of Virtual Interviews
Live video interviews
Live video interviews are conducted in real-time, using a video conferencing platform like Skype or Google Hangouts. These types of interviews are typically used for screening candidates, and they usually last around 30 minutes.
One-way video interviews
One-way video interviews are recorded interviews that the candidate completes at their own convenience. The interviewer will send the candidate a set of questions, and the candidate will record their responses using a video recording tool. These types of interviews are usually used for assessment purposes, and they can last anywhere from 10-30 minutes.
Skills assessment interviews
Skills assessment interviews are conducted to assess a candidate's technical skills and knowledge. These types of interviews usually involve solving problems or completing tasks that are relevant to the job. For example, if you're interviewing for a job as a web developer, the interviewer might ask you to complete a coding challenge or share your screen so they can see how you code. These types of interviews can be conducted in person or virtually, and they usually last around 60 minutes.
Chatbots are computer programs that are designed to simulate human conversation. They can be used for a variety of purposes, including screening candidates and conducting interviews. Some popular chatbot platforms include Appy Pie Chatbot Builder, Mya and JobBot, but there are even more companies leveraging chatbot marketing.
How to Choose the Right Virtual Interview Platform
Now that you know what a virtual interview is and the different types of virtual interviews, it's time to choose the right platform for your needs. You're going to need an alternative to line2 as they don't have a good video conferencing feature.
There are a few things to consider when choosing a virtual interview platform, including:
- The type of virtual interview you're conducting (live video, one-way video, or chatbot)
- The number of participants
- The level of interaction required
- The geographic location of the participants
- The type of device the participants will be using
- The cost (there’s plenty of free webinar software available so if you’re a small business you can actually save money conducting virtual interviews and webinars)
Five tips for conducting a successful virtual interview
Now that you know what platform you're going to use for your virtual interview, it's time to make sure the interview itself is successful. Here are five tips to help you conduct a successful virtual interview:
Test your technology in advance
Make sure you test your video conferencing platform and recording equipment in advance of the interview. This will help you avoid any technical issues during the interview. You should also be conducting internet speed tests to make sure that you won’t lag or freeze during the interview. You’ll need at least 2.5mb - 3mb speed to conduct high-quality video interviews.
Remember, the same way that technology disrupts customer service, it can also really affect your candidates' experience.
Give the candidate a chance to prepare
Just as you would for an in-person interview, give the candidate a chance to prepare for the virtual interview. This means sending them a list of questions in advance and letting them know what format the interview will take.
Let's say you're asking a candidate to present on test case preparation and execution during their interview. You would want to send them the relevant materials (test cases, product requirements, etc.) in advance so they have time to prepare. You'll also want to send them a detailed brief of what you expect from their presentation.
Establish ground rules
Before the interview begins, establish some ground rules with the candidate. For example, you might want to ask them to turn off their cell phone and put it away, so they're not distracted during the interview.
Some other ground rules you might want to establish include:
- No interruptions: Let the candidate know that you won't be interrupted during the interview and ask them to do the same.
- No multitasking: Ask the candidate to focus their attention on the interview and not try to multitask.
- No side conversations: Let the candidate know that side conversations are not allowed during the interview.
- No eating or drinking: Ask the candidate to refrain from eating or drinking during the interview.
Create a professional environment
Even though the interview is taking place virtually, it's important to create a professional environment. This means dressing the part and making sure your background is clean and clutter-free. You don't want to be talking shop about company culture, strategy and sales enablement metrics with your kids running around and your dog barking in the background!
A great tip if you're conducting an interview from a place that could be considered unprofessional is to use virtual backgrounds and noise-cancellation headphones.
Pay attention to body language
Pay attention to the candidate's body language during the interview. This can be tricky to do over video, but it's important to pay attention to things like eye contact, facial expressions, and body language.
You also want to gauge whether or not your candidate is interested and passionate about the role. If you're going through a document such as an inventory tracking spreadsheet or a product roadmap, make sure the candidate is following along and engaging with the material. Some ways to spot if the candidate is engaged and interested include things like them nodding their head, making eye contact, and asking questions.
So there you have it—five tips to help you conduct a successful virtual interview.
With the rise of remote work, more and more companies are conducting virtual interviews. If you're new to the process, it's important to make sure you're prepared.
These five tips will help you conduct a successful virtual interview and find the right candidate for the job.
Good luck and happy hiring!