Best Practices for Conducting Virtual Interviews

How employers can conduct professional online interviews to identify the best talent

03 Jul 2020 Articles Recruitment Trending Best practices

Whether your company is switching to online interviewing due to the COVID-19 situation or looking to streamline the recruitment processes, a polished interview process is key in upholding a positive brand image that will draw the best candidates.

It also remains vital that interviews are conducted fairly, where individuals are evaluated based on skills and merit. For a comprehensive guide on fair interviewing, refer to the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices for job interviews.

Here are three key pointers to help you conduct virtual interviews that will give your candidates a pleasant experience and identify the best talent for your company.

Get Organised and Prepared

To present a professional front and leave a positive impression on candidates, it is important to get organised from the outset. Disseminate the meeting link and joining instructions well ahead of time, and have the candidate’s phone number on hand for the interview, so that you may switch to a phone call should you encounter serious technical difficulties.

Ensure a seamless interview experience by checking that your Internet connection is strong and that your microphone and speaker are in working order. First impressions count, and aside from being presentably dressed, make sure you are well-lit, avoid ambient noise, and use a virtual background if your environment is cluttered.

Connect with the Candidate

Some candidates may not be entirely comfortable with remote interviews. To put them at ease and encourage them to put their best foot forward, take some time at the start to greet them, introduce the interviewers and outline the interview process.

Keeping the candidate engaged will result in a more meaningful conversation. Maintain eye contact by looking into the camera from time to time when you are speaking, and use nods to acknowledge what the candidate is saying without being disruptive.

In terms of content, be sure to cover features of the company that the candidate is unable to experience first-hand through the interview, such as the office environment and company culture.

Take Advantage of Technology

Tapping technology can provide an effective way of remotely assessing a candidate’s ability. For example, if the role requires strong presentation skills or the ability to analyse spreadsheet data, allow candidates to demonstrate that using screen-sharing. Keep in mind that not all candidates may be familiar with such new ways of assessment, and should not be penalised for technical issues or requiring more time to respond.
Virtual interviewing allows you to record the session for review but be sure to inform the candidate beforehand that you are doing so. This option allows the interviewer fully to focus on engaging the candidate rather than having to take notes, creating a more fruitful and informative interaction.

As we adjust to the new normal of increased telecommuting and teleconferencing, employers need to become more familiar with the limits and advantages of virtual interviews. With some training and hands-on practice, online interviews can be as fair, and engaging as face-to-face interactions.