Best Practices for Interviewing in Virtual Environments

As companies around the globe turn to remote work in the wake of COVID-19, it’s become a necessity to develop best practices for interviewing virtually. Video interviews offer plenty of benefits aside from social distancing, meaning that the right tools and procedures can help streamline the interview process for employers. 

Even prior to the pandemic, remote work was becoming much more commonplace. In fact, a 2019 survey found that 62% of full-time employees work remotely at some frequency, whether once per month, once per week, or on a regular basis. But, regardless of how often your team members work from home, conducting virtual interviews can help reduce hiring costs, reduce hiring time, and help reduce bias by standardizing the questions and the process. 

To help you develop your own best practices for interviewing via video conferencing, we’ve put together the following tips for virtual interviews and interviewing best practices for employers. 

What are some tips for virtual interviews?

Here are some tips for virtual interviews that both employers and job candidates can use:

1. Prepare properly. 

Perhaps the most important video interview tip is to treat it just as you would an in-person interview. That means being fully prepared, no matter which side of the interview you’re sitting on. 

As the interviewer, make sure you familiarize yourself with the position for which you’re hiring as well as each candidate’s application. As you review resumes, write down specific questions that you want to ask.

As the interviewee, you’ll want to make sure you do your homework on the company as well as the position for which you’re applying ahead of time. You should also write down any questions you have about the role, what’s required, what the culture is like, and anything else you’d like to know about your potential new employer.  

Of course, proper preparation also includes dressing appropriately for the interview. Just because the interview is being conducted virtually from your home doesn’t mean it’s OK to show up in your pajamas. 

2. Choose an appropriate location. 

Choosing the right location is an absolutely critical aspect of virtual interviewing. The last thing you want during your video interview is a loud, noisy background and a bunch of distractions. If you’re conducting the video conference from home, choose a quiet room and let your family or housemates know that you’re going to be on an interview so they can make the appropriate accommodations. 

3. Test your internet connection and microphone and camera functions. 

Finally, make sure you test your internet connection as well as your microphone and camera functions before getting on the virtual interview. It’s true that an internet outage can strike without warning; however, you can help ensure a smooth interview by running and troubleshooting the conferencing software and your mic and camera before the scheduled time. 

Video interviewing best practices for employers  

If you’re doing the hiring, there are more specific steps you can take to help streamline the virtual interviewing process and make every candidate feel good about applying with your organization. Here are a few video interview tips for employers:

1. Send a virtual invite.

Sending a virtual invitation to your video interviewees is a standard practice that you should definitely follow. Many video conferencing services will generate an email invitation automatically, so you just need to make sure all concerned parties are copied on the invite. 

The virtual invite should include the technical details of the video call (login procedures, access codes, etc.) as well as other pertinent information like any documentation the candidate should have on hand. 

2. Have a defined interview strategy.

Another interviewing best practice for employers is to have a defined interview strategy laid out ahead of time. Interviews are not just a chance for applicants to make a first impression on potential employers; they’re also an opportunity for employers to make a positive first impression on candidates, and coming into the interview unprepared is just not a good look for either party. 

When preparing to interview a group of candidates for a particular position, consider the skills and attributes required by the role and craft questions that speak to those qualities. If candidates must go through several rounds of interviews with different interviewers, consider having each interviewer address a different aspect of the job or a different skill set required by the position. 

3. Ensure consistency.

Being consistent in your virtual interviews means a couple things. First, standardizing the questions you ask of each applicant in each unique role helps eliminate bias and ensure a fair process. Second, making sure your interviewing team is consistent with details like the title and responsibilities of the position being interviewed for, the reporting structure, and the career growth opportunities will make your organization look much more professional than it will if the interviewing team is inconsistent with these things.

4. Consider ways to communicate the company’s culture and values.

Finally, consider ways to communicate your company’s culture and values during the virtual interview. Even if the position being interviewed for is remote, potential employees want to know what they can expect as far as workplace culture. Obviously, if the candidate is applying for an on-site position, it will be even more important to demonstrate the office norms and expectations at some point during the virtual interview process. 

How to establish a virtual interview process for employers

One of the best ways to establish a virtual interview process for employers and document your company’s best practices for interviewing is with work management software such as Wrike. Wrike gives you the freedom to create a virtual interview workflow complete with reminders and checklists that your team members can follow to ensure a smooth, pain-free virtual interview process. Ready to see all the ways Wrike can help your business? Get started with a free two-week trial today!

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