9 Virtual Interview Tips for Employers in 2021

Home » Resources » Virtual Interview TipsUpdated: April 10, 2021

Hi! You found our list of the best virtual interview tips.

Virtual interview tips are best practices for conducting online interviews. For example, streamlining the scheduling process, testing technology 15 minutes before the call, and remaining mindful of surroundings. The purpose of these tips is to help hiring managers appear professional and conduct insightful online interviews.

These tips can be implemented in applicant tracking systems, and at virtual career fairs.

This article contains:

  • video interviewing tips for hiring managers
  • best practices for virtual interviews
  • Zoom interview tips for employers

Plus more helpful hints.

Here is everything you need to know.

List of virtual interview tips

From choosing insightful questions to forgiving interruptions, here are the best online interview tips for hirers.

virtual interview tips checklist

1. Standardize the video interviewing process

There is a chance that you may not be able to interview every candidate, whether due to the number of applicants or conflicts in your schedule. Standardizing the video interview process ensures a fair and consistent hiring process for every potential employee.

  1. First, choose a structure. The interview process might vary depending on department or role, but candidates trying for the same position should follow the same steps.
  2. For instance, an online application with a short video clip, followed by a Zoom interview with a recruiter, then a practical test, and finally a second Zoom interview with the hiring department.
  3. Next, select a virtual meeting platform for all interviewers. Candidates should not need to download multiple applications to complete the process. Consistent technology makes your organization seem more organized.
  4. Finally, create a unified scoring system so that interviewers look for and rank the same attributes.

Be sure to share the standards with any teammate involved in the hiring process, and conduct practice interviews if necessary.

2. Streamline the scheduling process

Setting up interviews can feel like just as much work as conducting interviews. Finding a time that works for both parties can be a struggle, especially if time zone differences or current work schedules delay a candidates’ response.

To avoid wasting time, use an online meeting scheduling tool. Instead of emailing proposed times, candidates select an open slot from the choices provided. The scheduling software updates availability automatically. The program can instantly set up a video meeting and send invitations and calendar events to both parties.

Automating the scheduling process helps recruiters stay more organized. Plus, eliminating the administrative work frees up hiring manager to prepare for the interview.

3. Select good video interview questions

In-person interviews offer ways of evaluating candidates like arrival time, treatment of the receptionist, body language, full appearance, personal hygiene, and handshake. The absence of these elements in video interviews makes interview questions even more important.

  • Basic Questions: Standard questions like “tell me about yourself,” and “what are your greatest strengths,” have a place in video interviews. However, the interview should not consist entirely of basic prompts.
  • Targeted questions: Be sure to also select thoughtful prompts that reveal the qualities that are most important to the position and company culture.
  • Behavioral questions: Behavioral questions are especially important for virtual interviews. Because remote employees often need to act independently, sound judgment and a strong critical thought process is essential.
  • Performance evaluations: To assess performance, you can also ask candidates to perform a task while sharing the screen. This method is a great way to tell that applicants know how to do the job, not just talk about it. Plus, you can ensure that interviewees are not Googling the answers to difficult questions.

You may want to standardize your virtual interview questions, or at least give recruiters a list of options to choose from. Check out our list of the best interview questions.

4. Communicate expectations to potential hires

Candidates can range the gamut from first-time online interviewers to seasoned video interview pros. Not to mention, virtual interviewing processes can vary greatly from company to company.

It helps to share:

  1. Instructions on how to download and use the selected virtual meeting software.
  2. The estimated length of the hiring period.
  3. Number of steps in the interview process.
  4. Who performs the interviewing at each stage.
  5. The nature of each interview step. Give the interviewee a heads up if there will be a performance evaluation during the call, for instance.
  6. Time-frames and deadlines for supplementary tasks, such as practice assignments or timed skills tests.
  7. Alternate means of contact, in case the video conference platform malfunctions.

Compiling these details into one bulleted email is helpful. However, if you do not send this information automatically, then be ready to answer succinctly when the interviewee asks, “what are the next steps?”

Communicating the process puts potential hires at ease and leads to better prepped, more insightful interviews.

5. Conduct research on candidates

Researching candidates is standard interview practice, and you should not skip this step in virtual interviews. Many online applications have fields for LinkedIn profiles, personal websites and portfolios, and Twitter or Instagram pages. Be sure to peruse the profiles and applications well before the interview, and give yourself a refresher before the call.

Another good idea is connecting on platforms like LinkedIn, whether by adding the candidate as a connection or encouraging them to follow the page. Even if you pass on the applicant for the current position, forging an ongoing online relationship can help you fill your recruiting pipeline for the future.

Most importantly, pull up the correct resume and application materials before the call starts. Having the resume on hand will help the interview flow more smoothly and will show that you’ve done your homework.

6. Test your technology 15 minutes before the call

One of the best Zoom interview tips for employers is to test technology 15 minutes before your call. No matter how many times you have conducted online interviews, technology can malfunction.

Arriving late to an interview because your software was updating is not the best first impression, nor is showing up with the Grinch Zoom background you used for your company’s virtual holiday party. Taking time to troubleshoot buggy webcams or microphones before the call leaves more time for conversation during the interview.

Be sure you are comfortable with the program’s functions, like file drop, screen sharing, and digital whiteboard. Fumbling to find a button or setting wastes time and makes you look less tech savvy.

Also, having a background plan in case of technical difficulties is helpful. For instance, if Zoom will not load, chat on Google Meet instead.

7. Make eye contact and be mindful of body language

One of the most often overlooked video interviewing tips for hiring managers is to use positive body language. Candidates can still see you, even if you are only visible from the waist up. The advantage of video interviewing is that you can also see yourself and adjust your body language accordingly, for instance by smiling more if you have a resting serious face, or sitting up straighter.

Basic instinct on video chat is to stare at the screen, but glancing at the webcam directly simulates eye contact. You should make a point to stare into the webcam from time to time, and nod to give the candidate further encouragement.

Also, try to avoid pulling up multiple tabs, checking your phone, and paying attention to offscreen events. Interviewees can notice the direction of your gaze and your perceived lack of focus. If distractions arise, address them and apologize briefly before refocusing your attention on the interview.

8. Remain mindful of your surroundings, both onscreen and offscreen

Remaining mindful of surroundings is one of the most important best practices for virtual interviews.

Hypothetically, you could wear your Batman pajama bottoms to the virtual interview and the candidate would be no wiser. However, dressing neatly from top to bottom puts you in a more professional mindset, and looks much more polished in the event the camera angle changes or you need to stand up.

The room should be tidy, including the areas directly offscreen. Do not plan on hiding clutter behind a virtual background, because you might have to turn the background off. Whether virtual or non-virtual, your backdrop should be non-distracting.

The interview space should be as quiet and free from interruptions as possible. If possible, then meet in a private, lockable room, and use headphones to block out excess noise. Lighting is also important for virtual calls. Before the meeting starts, take a minute to perfect the brightness and contrast.

Finally, take a moment to clean up your digital workspace. Assuming that you may have to share screens at some point, organize your desktop, close unneeded tabs, and hide privileged information.

9. Be patient with disruptions and strange settings

Standards of professionalism are different between in-person interviews and virtual interviews. Both settings require candidates to dress professionally, appear tidy, and exhibit knowledge, confidence, and a positive attitude. However, even in virtual interviews, interviewees cannot control every aspect of their environments.

A candidate might have to join from their car because they are at work. Or, maybe their child recently picked up lock-picking as a hobby, and busts through a barricaded door. Perhaps five minutes before the meeting began, the city started jack-hammering the sidewalk outside. Factors like these, as well as internet outages and software glitches, kids or pets or family members, and forces of nature, are often outside of candidates’ control.

Instead of counting imperfect interview conditions against the applicant, show compassion, laugh it off, and find a way to conduct the meeting despite the undesirables. This approach will add levity and humanity to the situation, relax the candidates’ nerves, and win you major cool company points in the eyes of the interviewee.

Conclusion

With planning and practice, recruiters can conduct seamless online interviews. Switching from in-person screenings to on-screen calls may be initially jarring at first. However, hirers can still find quality candidates without meeting in person. In fact, online hiring has many advantages, such as a more diverse pool of candidates and more flexible scheduling.  By taking a smart approach to Zoom meetings, companies can make a positive impression on applicants and remain competitive in the race for talent.

For more pointers, check out our guide to virtual meeting etiquette. Also, here is a list of icebreaker jokes that you can use to connect with candidates.

FAQ: Virtual interview tips

Here are commonly asked questions about virtual interviews.

What are virtual interviews?

Virtual interviews are screenings that happen via video conferencing software such as Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, and Google Meet. Sometimes, these interviews involve supplementary tasks such as practice assignments, online assessments, and virtual shadowing. Typically, all rounds of the virtual interview happen online, though occasionally candidates will have to travel for an in-person interview in the final rounds.

What are some good virtual interview tips for recruiters?

Good interview tips for recruiters include standardizing the video interviewing process, streamlining the scheduling process, and communicating expectations to potential hires.

How can employers prepare for virtual interviews?

To prepare for virtual interviewers, employers should select a reliable virtual meeting platform, choose insightful interview questions, and test out the technology prior to the call. Creating a standardized interview process will cut down on preparation time for individual interviews.

P.S: Press "CTRL + D" or "Command + D" to bookmark this page - we update it often.

Share this article:

avatar
Author: Angela Robinson

Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

LinkedIn icon
Young woman with headphones, doing activities with colleagues on a Zoom call.

100% Online Team Building Activities

We run world class online team building events that remote teams love. Rated 5 Stars.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The Best Virtual Team Building

To be a little obvious, teambuilding.com is a team building company.

And a darn good one... we hire brilliant people, provide extensive training, and develop one of a kind experiences.

In 2021, we are running virtual events for teams all over the world.

And when there isn't a global pandemic, we do local activities too.