Before 2021, the offer of a virtual job interview meant a candidate was strong, but far away. These days, we jump on Zoom for first- and second-round interviews for positions within walking distance. Whether hiring remote workers or not, early-state interviews are online.
Virtual interviewing is a trend that will continue to rise. And, as we've learned from virtual everything, while it is a great substitute for real-life encounters, it has to be approached differently. Here are our best tips for recruiters operating in the virtual space.
Consider Your Zoom Square Your Office
When you recruit in person, chances are you're meeting in your office, over coffee or lunch or on the golf course. These places are warm and inviting and have some personality. Make sure your Zoom square does, too!
While it's easy to blur your background or sit with your back to a blank wall, we recommend curating a space that works better.
The best possible way to do this? Use your Popl virtual background.
This feature is perfect for creating a personal, welcoming space when you recruit and interview remotely. Be sure to include:
- Your Name
- Job title
- A QR-code based link to your digital business card
The best part about using a virtual background is that it's a fresh, professional look but you can also choose the background from a variety of high-quality images or set up and take an image of your own space and upload it to use.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Event planners generally run around with a box of supplies. They've got batteries and lint brushes, a first-aid kit, more types of charging cords than you thought existed, packing tape, hairspray and tons more. People who plan events know, better than anyone, that being prepared is the key factor in pulling of a successful event.
If you're recruiting remotely, you're setting the bar. Candidates have room to be picky, and they're not going to jump at the chance to work with someone who can't manage the natural ups and downs of a digital space.
What's this look like? It means they have, and are ready to use:
- a charged laptop, phone.
- a charged external battery
- a charged (or battery-run with good batteries) light (we recommend a clip on book light with a warm lighting feature)
- the hotspot capability on their phone to connect via cellular in the event of a power outage
It's a Dialogue, not a Monologue
This is good advice for any type of recruitment but especially for those conducted as virtual interviews. Remember that your candidate is going to be working with people. The best way to gauge their skills (hard and soft) and to discover if they'll fit in with the culture is to engage with them the way you would a colleague.
Allow for back and forth. Go down paths they bring up by noting things that interest you.
It shouldn't feel, to the candidate, that they turned on YouTube or the company website and watched a speech from a hiring manager. Especially with the impersonal layer of video calls, you want to include them in the conversation.
Review Your Questions List
It can be easy to ask boilerplate questions like, "How do you confront challenges?"? but you'll likely get boilerplate answers like, "When faced with a challenge I take a step back and assess the situation through a neutral lens. I'm not a hammer and I can't view challenges as nails. Instead, I have to seek out solutions that align with our company values blah blah blah."
Without specifics, it's hard to know if they were just prepared for the question or if this is their actual, vague process. it doesn't allow insight into how they think about and conduct themselves with people.
Instead, spark a conversation. Share a scenario you've heard of, experienced or made up and have the candidate mentor you through it.
"I have an employee who does their work exceptionally well and never misses a deadline but they log on to work about 25 minutes after their start time every day."
You will learn much more about a candidate this way. Don't worry about their role and whether or not they're applying for a management position. Pay attention to how they talk about people, how they assess a situation and whether or not they ask strong questions. Are they are problem solver? Are they flexible? Do they have empathy?
Of course you should ask the important, necessary questions, but make sure that the boilerplate questions are peppered between deeper points of conversation.
Virtual Interviewing for Success
We're all used to the digital way of doing things. So used to them, in fact, that many of us have slipped into some bad habits. Here's a few things to remember to provide the best candidate experience.
Dress for success, even remotely
Never forget that a virtual interview is still an interview. Job seekers expect to meet with a professional which means showing up as you would for any other recruitment meeting. If you usually wear a jacket have a jacket on in the call. Make sure you're in work-mode and not too casual in your remote space.
Make eye contact with the camera
It's easy to forget about eye contact when meeting in person because we do this naturally. On a video call, however things are different. It seems natural to look at the screen, but that doesn't translate well over video.
In order to give the illusion of eye contact, especially important during a one-on-one video chat, look directly at the camera instead of at the screen.
Have enough business cards
Nothing says "unprepared" like not having enough of your business cards to hand to candidates. Never run out by making sure you've got your Popl digital business card formatted exactly how you want it and that you've set up and tested your virtual background.
Positive Outcomes Start With Good Recruitment Practices
It's a great time to be a recruiter. Since 2020 we've learned the power of remote work and can now recruit anyone from anywhere. These tips will make you a more attractive option to the candidates you interview.