The Art Of Conducting Online Interviews

The interview process can be excruciating for employers and prospective employees alike. Interviews take up precious time during the day, and when you’ve sat through enough of them, you can start to feel a bit hopeless that you’ll ever find the right candidate. Because let’s be honest; for every one candidate that seems like a good fit, there are at least two more that don’t.

Virtual interviews have begun to gain popularity as technology advances, and conference calling services have made the online interview process easier than ever. Now, you don’t have to worry about being in your office at a certain time. You can conduct an online interview from pretty much anywhere in the world! This level of flexibility is great for both the employer and prospective candidates.

The art of conducting online interviews is something that anyone can master with just a bit of practice and a few tips. Let’s look closer at the process and learn what it takes to conduct the perfect online interview.

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Online Vs. Offline Interviews

Aside from the obvious, there are some important differences between online and offline interviews. Since your candidate isn’t sitting in the office, some feel that a certain level of communication is lost due to the distance factor. With HD video conferencing services, however, it’s almost as if they’re in the same room with you!

The ultimate goal of conducting an interview is to choose the right candidate. Choosing the wrong person for the job goes far beyond the initial problems of poor qualifications or the candidate not fitting into the work culture. The cost of hiring the wrong candidate can be as much as 30% of the candidate’s first-year earnings. At the end of the day, hiring is an investment for your company, so you’ll need to be as prudent as possible in choosing the exact fit you’re looking for.

Ultimately, online interviews will be more cost-effective and efficient. Paper applications are not only difficult to keep track of, but they’re wasteful and costly. Printer paper, ink, and filing costs can add up quickly, and who wants to sift through hundreds of paper documents, anyway?

Providing an online application and questionnaire can save you hours of time. By eliminating certain candidates early on, you won’t have to schedule time in your day for someone you know nothing about.

Virtual interviews will soon become the standard of practice in the business world. It’s both cost-effective and convenient, and a must for social distancing practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asking The Right Questions

The key to a successful online interview is to craft the right questions. The first step to doing so is to understand the position and identify the needs of the company/what you want from your candidates. If you’re not familiar with the responsibilities of the position, you’ll want to update yourself before conducting an interview. Things can get pretty awkward if your candidate asks “What are the responsibilities of this position?” and you can’t answer completely.

Identifying your company’s wants and needs starts with a few simple questions. What are your company values? How does your ideal candidate embody or support these values? What skills is your team currently lacking that a new (qualified) candidate could bring to the table? Why is your organization hiring right now? Is it because you lack help, are driving innovation, or looking to expand?

This isn’t the time to regurgitate information on your candidate’s resume. They’ll expect that you’ve read their resume, but you can ask questions about their hard and soft skills, and how these applied to previous positions. Hard skills refer to the candidate’s technical knowledge, such as their specific experience in coding languages or operating machinery, and soft skills are personality traits like good communication, time management, etc.

References can provide an excellent resource for learning about a candidate’s hard and soft skills. Be sure to prepare the right questions for your candidate’s references as well. Ask questions that pertain to the candidate’s ability to work under pressure, how their technical skills hold up under a deadline, and how they work with a team.

Your Interview System

When you think of online interviews, you likely imagine someone sitting in front of a webcam, answering questions directly as if they were in the same room. While this is certainly the most popular method of online interviewing, it’s not for everyone, and there are other options you can consider.

  • You can provide candidates with a list of questions and ask them to answer them in their own time while recording themselves. This helps reduce the pressure of the on-the-spot approach and may help with nervousness and stress during the interview process.
  • Interviewing with several organization members at once can help familiarize a candidate with the team and provide an extra set of eyes and ears for the interview process.
  • A multi-step interview process can help eliminate candidates quickly and only advance those with specific skillsets.

The best talent isn’t always in your geographic area. Using video tools to interview remotely can also grant you access to candidates you otherwise couldn’t interview due to geographic restrictions. Make the most of these tools to give your business an edge in the hiring process.

Panel Interviews

One of the best ways to screen a candidate is via a panel interview. This usually involves four or more people from your organization interviewing the candidate sequentially, or all at once.

Not only does this provide a more complete picture of the candidate, but it also helps you see how well your candidate will fit into the culture of your organization. Make no mistake; skills alone are simply not enough when it comes to hiring. You’ll want a candidate that fits into the work culture, stands by your company’s values, and doesn’t immediately have problems with your team.

Be passionate about your company and your vision. A candidate will want to see passion and drive in an employer as much as you want to see these qualities in your candidates. Imagine attending an interview with someone who clearly disliked their job and position; would that be very inspiring to you as a potential hire?

The Bottom Line

The secret to conducting online interviews is to use the right tools, craft good questions, and be patient. Finding the right candidate might take weeks or even months, but it’s always better to wait for that perfect fit than to rush in. The cost of hiring the wrong person can add up quickly, and your company will be footing the bill.

Take careful measure of what your company needs and wants in a new candidate, and try the panel interview method to gain a more complete picture of how your possible hire will fit into the work culture.

Author Bio: Jamie Davidson is the Marketing Communications Manager for Vast Conference, a meeting solution providing HD-audio, video conferencing with screen sharing, and a mobile app to easily and reliably get work done.

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