Careers

3 Tips Every Employer and Job Seeker Needs to Know for Virtual Interviews

By Shanna Mertel • April 24, 2020

New teleconferencing technology has led many employers to migrate their interview process online, and the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to full-time remote work in general have only sped up this transition. While there are some people out there who are wary of moving away from in-person job interviews, video interviews can help to drastically reduce travel costs and offer added flexibility, and employers can get a better sense of the candidate’s personality than through a phone call alone. Video interviews can have benefits for the candidate as well, as they’re able to keep notes up on screen and can attend the interview from anywhere in the world.

As the interview culture shifts, however, it is important to keep updated on the best practices, whether you’re the employer or potential employee, to make sure your teleconferencing experience goes as smoothly as possible. Here are a few tips for employers and job seekers on how to make your video interviewing experience a success.

Tips for Employers

  1. Don’t use prerecorded, one-way interviews. Some companies may be tempted to send candidates a list of questions and have them record their answers to them. This, however, will only hurt your company because it is hard to get a sense of the candidate’s personality without seeing how they react in the moment. It will also take away the opportunity for candidates to ask you questions. While you decide whether or not to extend an offer to the candidate, it’s up to them to accept it, and they will be less inclined to accept an offer if they weren’t able to ask questions.
  2. Perform your due diligence before the interview. Since the interview is happening online rather than in-person, hiring managers might think they don’t have to prepare in the same way before the interview. This shouldn’t be the case. Even though the interview is taking place online, you should still strive to make it as much like an in-person interview as possible. Ensure you thoroughly read the candidate’s resume beforehand, adjust for the schedules of everyone involved, and make sure the candidate has received all the information they need prior to the interview.
  3. Be personable and welcoming. In-person interviews give employers and candidates the chance to interact with each other, and that can be lost in a video interview. There are no opportunities for inital handshakes, offers of water or whatever else you normally do to make your candidates feel welcome. Where you can make up for this gap is by making clear what candidates can expect from you. You want the candidate to have a positive view of your organization no matter the outcome, so be upfront and clear in your interactions, and then promptly follow through. This is a vital part of maintaining your organization’s image and leaving the candidate with a good impression.

 Tips for Job Seekers

  1. Don’t forget to ask questions. An interview isn’t an interrogation, it’s a conversation. Even when the interview is taking place over phone or via video, it’s vital to still ask questions to your potential employer to show that you want to learn more about the company and that you’ve done your research beforehand. Since you have your computer out during the interview, you can type out questions and keep them up on your screen so that you don’t have to remember them on the fly.
  2. Look at the camera, not yourself. When on a video call, you may be tempted to look at yourself on the screen continuously to make sure you look OK. However, your camera is normally at the top of your screen, and when you look away from the camera, potential employers notice and may think you’re distracted. Make sure to stay focused on your computer’s camera or the webcam, and keep any notes you may have for the interview on your screen near the camera so you don’t have to look away.
  3. Test your tech in advanced. If this is your first time using a particular video conference software, make sure to test it out before the actual interview. Some interview software may require you to download an application before you can use it; so you want to make sure to download it at least several hours before the interview in case there are technical difficulties. Employers don’t want potential employees to say that they were late due to technical problems; that will only reflect poorly on you.

About The Author

Shanna Mertel is a director of client experience for the SaaS group at Naylor Association Solutions. She can be reached at shanna.mertel@naylor.com.