Interviewers and Candidates: Best practices for virtual interviews

As much of the working world has gone virtual, so too have job interviews. Hiring managers and interview panels are connecting with candidates digitally, where the dynamics are different. Many of us recognise that our virtual conversations lose the spontaneity of face-to-face conversation, and reading or conveying reactions, emotions, or personality is challenging.

To prepare for virtual interviews, SRI Executive has a few recommendations:

Best practices for conducting a virtual interview

It will be important for interviewers to be extremely prepared with structured questions and conversations in place to ensure that you find out what you need to know about the candidates.

Given the current situation, most of the hiring team is likely working remotely. This makes it even more important to ensure that there is clear communication throughout the process about who is speaking to which candidate and when, what the process will be, and who is asking which questions to probe for certain skills or competencies.

Where the interview is held by a panel or selection committee, it will be important to know ahead of time who is chairing, and which role each panellist will take. Keeping the interview structured and smooth will play an important part in helping candidates feel at ease.

Consider that when interviewing virtually, candidates will miss out on the experience of walking through or touring your organisation’s offices. They may not get a sense of the culture, or what working there will be like. With some thought ahead of time, you can be prepared to convey what your company’s office, teams, culture and values are like.

Finally, in these difficult times, it will pay to be forgiving if your candidate does struggle with technology or is disrupted during the interview. Working digitally is a new reality for many of us.

Best practices as a virtual interviewee

The first step is to ensure that you find an environment where you’ll experience the smallest amount of noise or disruption, and make sure you have access to the tools and technology your interviewer will be using to connect with you. It is also recommended that you provide your interviewer with a phone number in case the technology fails, or get one from them.

It is important to prepare for a virtual interview just as you would for a physical interview, and even more so. If there are certain points and traits that you want to get across about yourself, consider how best to tell your story. If there will be time for questions, ensure you have them.

Being conscious of your body language may be easy to forget when you’re in a conversation virtually. However, it will still be important to sit up, make “eye contact” by looking into the camera when you speak, smile, and everything else you would do face-to-face. If it helps, you can stick a reminder to your screen.

Likewise, being understanding towards your interviewer for disruptions or technology glitches will serve you as we all adjust to connecting through screens.


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