The JPI Group’s Guide to a Successful Virtual Workforce: Installment #2

As companies shift their employees to remote work amid the coronavirus pandemic, hiring teams have to navigate how to continue to protect themselves, their companies, and the candidates by utilizing video interviews. Is your company learning how to conduct video interviews?

The JPI Group has been conducting virtual interviews and successfully hiring employees using a 100% virtual model for over 5 years. Here are some tips for implementing and executing a successful virtual interview process.

1. Establish a clear interview process and communicate that process to the hiring team and candidates

If your process will be a mix of phone and video interviews, clearly communicate to candidates at least 24 hours ahead of the interview time. When conducting remote interviews, overcommunication is key. It is critical that you create a clear internal roadmap that is completely documented in a central location.

2. Select a video conferencing tool to use for interviews and have test runs internally

There are multiple reliable tools available including Zoom, Skype, Cisco Webex Meetings, BlueJeans, Microsoft Teams, and Google Hangouts Meet.

Utilize your chosen video conferencing tool for internal meetings to help familiarize your team with the tool and to minimize issues. This is more effective than doing test runs and will better prepare your team to troubleshoot any issues which may arise before an interview. They will also be in a better position to coach candidates who may have technical issues with the tool you select.

3. Once you’ve selected a video conferencing tool, make sure you have an appropriate space set up to conduct video interviews

You can conduct interviews from home, even if you don’t have a home office set up. Find a spot that is clean and has minimal visual distractions in the background. Ideally, choose a quiet space where you will not have any interruptions. Eliminate distractions in your control ahead of time by silencing your phone and turning off email and chat notifications.  However, if you are working from home with children or pets present, inform the candidate about this at the start of your conversation so they are not surprised by any unexpected noise. Additionally, let your candidate know there is no penalty for barking dogs, crying children, etc. Ensure there is adequate lighting in the room. If using a laptop, you may need to set it on a stand or some books to have the camera at eye level and not chin level.

4. Dress for the interview

Do you regularly work onsite at the office? If so, dress for the interview like you would at the office. Don’t worry, you can change back into your sweats immediately after the interview! Prior to the interview, notify the candidate about the typical dress code for the office and interview dress code expectations.

5. Set your candidates up for success ahead of time

Many candidates will be nervous about conducting video interviews, if they’ve never done a video interview. It is your job to put them at ease by setting clear expectations just as if they were coming for an on-site interview.

Share instructions on how to access the video conferencing tool and if they need to download any software. Clarify your team’s expectations for their interviews. Will you expect the candidate to do a screen share at any point or cover specific work examples? Be sure they know ahead of time.

Give them a backup phone number to reach you in case there are any technical issues and make sure the interviewer has a phone number to reach them in real time, as well.

6. Be human!

Technology can make people uncomfortable. Remember to smile, make eye contact, speak clearly, and give signals so the candidate knows you are listening.  Make and sustain eye contact. Speak clearly. Nod when the candidate talks to show that you’re being attentive. If your team is using the video conferencing tool for regular internal meetings, this will help increase comfort level and ability to appear more natural when conducting interviews as well.

You don’t have to compromise candidate experience during this time. Properly preparing for and executing video interviews can still provide a great experience and will showcase your company’s ability to pivot and be flexible during precarious times.