Landing game-changing talent via a virtual interview takes practice. Just like with in-person interviews, showing well as a company – and assessing a prospective hire for soft skills and culture-fit – requires an intentional approach. These tips can help you get up to speed quickly, minimize technical issues and maximize candidate experience:
- Set up for success: choose a combination of virtual tools tailored to your candidate and hiring manager needs. You may already be familiar with some of the most popular platforms like Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts Meet and Cisco WebEx Meetings. Consider the interview purpose, ease of use and your team’s overall comfort level with available tools, choosing a platform that offers the most efficient solution. If an account, special access code or software download will be required, send this information to your candidate well in advance.
- Do a trial-run with the team. If you’re interviewing the candidate with other decision-makers, do a trial-run as a group so everyone is comfortable with the platform, muting/unmuting their microphones, and taking turns speaking. This trial run is also chance for everyone to check their background (a light-colored wall works best), adjust lighting and work out any issues with their headsets or speakers.
- Practice eye contact. Try recording yourself before the actual interview and note opportunities for improvement, like how to best “make eye contact” by looking directly into the camera, rather than staring at the screen. Remember to nod your head, smile, and engage with your candidate through body gestures, just as you would in person.
- Rehearse your company culture pitch. Even during in-person interviews, communicating company culture can be tricky, and hiring managers may rely on office space design to do some of the heavy lifting. In a virtual interview, you’ll need to drill down on your company mission, connecting this back to your candidate’s values. Practice one or two short anecdotes that can bring this to life.
- Consider adding a virtual office tour to sell company culture. From furniture layouts to amenities to design details, your workplace environment is a visual representation of your company’s culture. A virtual tour fills in the missing pieces for remote interviews. It helps candidates imagine what their future workday may be like, visualize how they’ll connect with teams and better understand your company’s collaborative process.
- Join the call early. Just like with in-person interviews, arriving late makes a negative first impression. Allow extra time for technical glitches and access code issues. An early arrival is also an opportunity for casual small talk with your candidate, which can help build rapport and connection.