I often support candidates with helping them to relax ahead of their interviews, but the truth is, it can be equally nerve-wracking for you as an interviewer. There are many things to think about as an employer if you opt to conduct part or all of your recruitment process virtually.

Employer Brand
Virtual or video interviewing isn’t just a case of logging onto Zoom and cracking on. The first thing I would advise you to think about is your employer brand.
Think about candidate experience if they were coming to your offices. They would;
– check out if parking is available
– see how long it would take them to get there
– come into reception, receive a warm welcome and take in the site surroundings or “get a feel for it”

Some things you could do or think about would be to send them a video of your site ahead of the interview. The video could be you doing that exact walk through from the car park to reception, around the office, the onsite facilities i.e. food, break out areas meeting rooms. If anyone is onsite introduce them. This will give them a real flavour of the environment and probably answer some of their questions. It will also make you stand and show that you have gone the extra mile with something that can be so simple to do.

Preparing for the interview
As you would during a face to face interview, prepare for the video interview. Have everything you need beforehand, a few pens, a copy of the candidates CV, job description and make sure you have any questions pre-prepared from reading their CV. Have a consistent set of questions or evidence that you are looking to cover and make sure you consistently ask the same question set of all candidates. Remember they can ask to see their notes!
Create a format of the interview like you would normally i.e.
– Thanks for attending this interview
– Introductions – who you are and what you do for each panel member
– Background setting, team structure, about the company, reason for recruiting any other information about growth plans or challenges to overcome.
– Explain the interview i.e. first run through of your CV and then some competency based questions, that should take 35 minutes (for example) and then we will welcome your questions.
– After the interview has finished be clear of next steps and when they can expect to hear.

Whether you are a candidate or employer there are widely published tips around what to do / what not to do during a virtual interview. I have listed the best ones for you below;

1. Make sure your tech is set up OK. Do a test, check the volume of the microphone (you don’t want it be so loud that they can hear your breathing!)

2. Try not to interview using a tablet or phone, you don’t want them to see a shaky screen also a laptop generally has better functionality and capabilities for this type of thing.
3. If you are interviewing in an office environment, inform the team to make sure there are no interruptions. Phones ringing, background chatter are all quite distracting both for you and the candidate. Remember you are looking to make the best impression on them too.
4. Empty meeting rooms can come across with an echo so somewhere where there are soft furnishings is generally better. Be sure to choose somewhere that is lit well and with a nice (non-cluttered) backdrop too.
5. A word on lighting – a good tip is not to have a window behind you. If you are working from home you can pop a lamp behind your camera or sit with a window to the left or right of you.
6. As with candidate, the advice is to always dress as you would for a face to face. If it’s an office environment where you dress casually explain this to the candidate beforehand as well.
7. Like you would in a face to face, make you sure engage a candidate, speak slower than you would in a face to face and help settle their nerves, be friendly, smile and keep good contact. Look at your camera to ensure your eye contact is kept.
8. Have a backup plan and be sure you ask for their phone number beforehand, so if your internet connection drops you can continue via a phone call.
9. Turn off background apps and email to avoid that annoying ping whenever an email arrives in your inbox.

By Jo

Joanne Hall is the Co-Director of SELECTiVE and heads up our Rail & Logistics sector.
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