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While more and more of our candidates and clients prefer to meet in person, virtual interviews have become the norm and are here to stay. Over the years, we’ve adapted to the benefits and challenges they present, ensuring they are conducted professionally. Continuous feedback from both candidates and clients highlights the importance of adhering to key guidelines in these settings.

While virtual interviews streamline the hiring process and expand our reach, face-to-face meetings still play a crucial role in building rapport.

Here are some friendly reminders to help you navigate the virtual interview process effectively:

 

Test Your Technology

Test your internet connection, camera, microphone, and any interview software before the interview begins. Ensure everything works smoothly to avoid technical disruptions.

We suggest that you conduct a full check well in advance of the interview time. This includes updating any software that might need it and ensuring that your device has enough battery or is plugged in. Have a backup device ready if possible.

 

Dress Professionally

Dress as you would for an in-person interview (head to toe). Professional attire helps set the tone and demonstrates respect for both parties.

We have found that your attire can influence your mindset and attitude. Dressing professionally can help you maintain a business-like attitude and ensure that you are fully present and engaged.

 

Choose a Quiet and Professional Setting

Conduct the interview in a quiet, well-lit space with a neutral background (if possible) to minimise distractions and maintain a professional atmosphere.

Inform others in your household or workspace about the interview to prevent interruptions and unnecessary noise and use noise-cancelling headphones, if possible, to enhance sound quality and to block out any background noise.

 

Use a Professional Background

If you are using a background image, ensure that your background does not have any personal or sensitive information visible. A clean, organised background reflects well on your professionalism. If necessary, use a virtual background that is neutral and professional.

 

Prepare in Advance

Both candidates and hiring managers should thoroughly prepare for virtual interviews to ensure a productive and engaging dialogue, just as they would for an in-person meeting.

 

Engage Actively

Maintain eye contact by looking at the camera, nod, and give verbal acknowledgments to demonstrate active listening and engagement in the conversation. Positive body language is crucial, so sit up straight and avoid slouching.

 

Provide Clear Instructions

Send clear instructions to the candidate on how to access the virtual interview platform, including any necessary links or login information. We have always found it best to include a contact number or email in case one party encounters technical issues.

 

Have a Backup Plan

Have a backup plan in case of technical issues, such as exchanging phone numbers or using an alternative platform.

If technical difficulties arise, stay calm and communicate clearly with the other party about the next steps and if necessary, reschedule to ensure a fair and uninterrupted interview process.

 

Follow Up Promptly

After the interview, both candidates and hiring managers should communicate promptly. Hiring managers should send a follow-up email thanking the candidate for their time and interest, providing constructive feedback, and outlining the next steps and timeline for the hiring process.

Candidates, in turn, should thank the interviewer for the opportunity and express continued interest in the role. Both parties should commit to the timelines discussed to maintain clarity and respect throughout the process.

 

Ensure Confidentiality

Use secure, reputable software for interviews and ensure personal information is kept confidential. Avoid discussing sensitive information in a public or unsecured environment and make sure that all data is stored securely and only accessible to those involved in the hiring process.

 

Keep the Camera On

Keep your camera on during the interview to build a connection and foster trust between both parties.

The “my camera does not work” excuse is no longer acceptable, as feedback from hiring managers and candidates indicates that having the camera off can be perceived negatively.

 

Be Punctual 

Punctuality is crucial to demonstrate respect for each other’s time. Log in a few minutes early to ensure everything is set up and ready. Being on time sets a positive tone for the interview.

Close all applications on your computer

Close all unnecessary applications and put your phone on silent to avoid distractions. Demonstrating that you are fully present and attentive shows respect to the person you are meeting with and ensures a more meaningful and effective interview.

You might be surprised at how easily people can tell when someone is not fully focused and is distracted by something else.

By following these guidelines, you can conduct virtual interviews that are professional, efficient, and effective. While virtual interviews are convenient, in-person meetings remain the best for building rapport, gauging body language, and assessing cultural fit. They allow for a more personal connection and provide a better sense of the candidate’s compatibility with a team.

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