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Virtual Interviewing Best Practices

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many things changed in the way we do business. Companies began dispatching their techs from home, offering “contactless service,” having virtual huddles, and providing online training.
One more, less-talked-about thing that changed is the way we conduct interviews. As an essential business, you should still focus 33% of your time on recruiting. But how do you do that without being able to meet face-to-face with potential candidates? Virtual interviews via video conferencing is the answer. Video conferencing isn’t a new concept. In fact, the first video conference happened in 1968. It was called Picturephone from AT&T. Thankfully, the technology, usage, and acceptance of video conferencing has greatly increased since then. Today, virtual interviews, conferences, and even happy hours are growing in popularity.
It may seem strange at first, but once you get comfortable with the concept and the technology, you may find that virtual interviews offer great benefits. To make sure your virtual interviews run smoothly, follow the best practices below:

Prior to the Interview

  • Test your equipment and connection. Make sure you have the video-conferencing app or software downloaded to your computer. (Suggested apps/software Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Lifesize.) Test your camera, mic, and internet connection. You may want to do this by setting up a test call with a friend or an employee.
  • Set the candidate up for success. Just as you’d send an intro email with directions to the office and parking instructions, send details on how to access and best prepare for the video interview. Don’t assume that sending a link is sufficient.
  • Logon and start the meeting 10 minutes before it is scheduled. Give yourself plenty of time to get comfortable before the candidate joins. Also, you don’t want to show up late and create a negative first impression.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and how you appear visually. Dress professionally, like you would in an in-person interview. Choose your background carefully. Ensure proper lighting. Avoid having a window behind you that will hide your face due to sun glare. Eliminate distractions from your surroundings. Make sure your camera is eye level so you are not looking down during the interview.
  • Be prepared. Know the candidate’s resume and background. Have your questions and job requirements handy.

During the Interview

  • Provide candidate with full attention. Don’t have other screens open. Look at the candidate while they are talking. Be sure to smile and nod to show them that you are engaged.
  • Use gestures. In a virtual setting, sometimes we lose out on being able to read the other person’s body language. Don’t be afraid to use your hands.
  • Ask behavioral-interview questions. Prior behavior is the best predictor for future behavior so be sure to ask open-ended behavioral-style questions. You can find a full list of these on YourSGIHUB under People Management Downloads.
  • Take notes. Just as you would in an in-person interview, take notes about the candidate and their responses.

If Things Go Wrong

  • If your video or audio stops working. Before the interview, be sure you have the candidate’s phone number where you can reach them if you experience technical difficulties. If the video cuts out, call them at that number. Ask if they would like to continue the interview by phone or if they would like to reschedule.
  • If noise interrupts the conversation. If noises (sirens, construction, etc.) interrupt your video interview, apologize for the interruption and ask for a few moments until the noise has subsided. You may want to mute the microphone if the noise is severe.
  • If someone enters the room unexpectedly. If family members, housemates, or pets enter the room while you’re interviewing, apologize, ask for a few moments, mute your microphone, turn off your camera, and then step away to deal with the interruption. Make sure that the room is secure before restarting the interview.


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