Virtual Interview

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Virtual Interview

As the corporate landscape changes and more companies are faced with a shift to digital, virtual interviews have become a cornerstone in the hiring process. Once a niche option reserved solely for remote candidates or initial screening calls, virtual interviews took center stage due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses and candidates alike needed to adapt quickly to changes that came at them in real time and discovered that these digital interview interactions not only successfully mirrored in-person interviews but offered distinct advantages in efficiency, flexibility, and global reach.

Success in virtual interviews was largely driven by sophisticated platforms facilitating seamless communication. A few years ago, the best video platforms were Skype and Facetime, which offered many of the benefits of online communications but with a huge downside- connection. As innovative and useful as these platforms were, they would constantly freeze, disconnect, try to reconnect, and require a grandmotherly amount of patience to use. 

Then, platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams came to market- Laying the groundwork for global corporate communication that was (for the most part) stable and effective. It was the emergence of specialized video interview platforms like these that truly revolutionized online recruitment and gave HR teams, recruiters, and hiring managers access to global talent. These two became the best interview platforms offering features specifically tailored to hiring and integrating with advanced scheduling tools, AI-assisted analytics, interview intelligence, ATS, onboarding software, and more.

In any technological revolution, the adoption rate of the technology and the development of supporting systems drive the market saturation and success of the overall product- and this is what we're experiencing today with virtual interviews. Businesses are discovering the best video interview software is driving an efficient and effective virtual interviewing process that identifies top candidates faster, engages them on a personal level, collects precise and valuable data for analysis, and ultimately leads to smarter hiring decisions.

At Pillar, we're proud to offer a leading virtual interview platform that combines AI-powered interview intelligence with powerful analytic models to help you make the best hiring decisions for your team. Our suite of tools includes an interview questions library, customizable assessments, candidate scorecards, and personalized feedback to create a comprehensive hiring process that saves time and promotes equitable hiring practices - and, speaking of equitable hiring, Pillar's interview intelligence software is also programmed for diversity and backed by interviewer coaching tools that help you create a fair and equitable hiring process for all. But enough about us - let's talk about virtual interview questions so you can find the right people for your open roles.

Virtual Interview Questions

The Paradigm Shift from In-Person to Virtual Interviews:

In the past, in-person interviews provided an opportunity for candidates to make a face-to-face aka, personal impression- with conversational brevity, firm handshakes, and eye contact forming an invaluable part of the evaluation process- the "first impression." Today, virtual interviews showcase more about a candidate's adaptability and technological proficiency, two competencies that have become increasingly valuable in the modern high-tech workforce. In a virtual setting, candidates must demonstrate their ability to communicate effectively through a screen, illustrating how they can contribute to a team's success in a digital-first world. Although many companies offer a mix of remote and in-office arrangements, the vast majority of many employee's time will be spent online- so this is a vital proficiency test.

Successful Virtual Interview Preparation:

As an interviewer, preparation is paramount in the virtual space. This includes ensuring a stable internet connection, testing audio and video equipment, and familiarizing oneself with the functionality of the video interview platform and interview intelligence software well before the meeting. It's also essential to create an environment free from distractions, both for the interviewer and the candidate. Additionally, preparation extends to reviewing the candidate's work experience, understanding the role, and creating a tailored interview experience that is both thorough and efficient without feeling robotic.

Virtual Interview Questions Example - Account Executive:

Since you will all be hiring for different roles, let's begin on the same page. For this example, you're hiring an AE, and you need to prepare for the interview - now, if you're a Pillar customer, this is as simple as logging into our platform and adding a few questions to the interview - if not, it will take a bit longer to come up with questions that fit your needs.

When interviewing for an Account Executive position, it is vital to ask strategic questions that can unveil a candidate's ability to build relationships, manage accounts, and drive sales. Questions such as "Can you describe how you've managed and grown enterprise accounts in the past?" or "How do you approach negotiation challenges with a difficult client on a tight budget?" focus on the crucial competencies needed for success in such a role. It is also beneficial to inquire about their familiarity with the tools and sales strategies your team uses - outbound tools, CRM software, and prospect databases are a good start. But, it's also good to ask about their past goals and their strategies for meeting sales targets.

Virtual Interview Questions and Answers to Find the Right Candidate:

A great way to gauge if you’ve found the right candidate is through their responses to scenario-based questions. For instance, ask "How would you resolve a situation where a key account is dissatisfied with their purchase?" The right candidate will show how they can empathize, propose a solution, and turn the situation around to retain the client. Another example might involve their approach to a new market entry, “Tell me how you would research and approach a new industry vertical that our company is looking to target?" Their answer should reveal strategic planning, industry insight, and a proactive mindset. These insights help in assessing not only a candidate's experience level but also their potential cultural fit and alignment with company values.

The virtual interview questions that you ask candidates should cover as many of the skills, tools, personality traits, and cultural fit questions that your hiring team deems essential to perform well in the role. While the right virtual interview platform can help you create an efficient and fair process, it is ultimately up to the interviewer's expertise to ask the right questions that will lead to finding the best fit for your organization.

Virtual Interview Example

Now that we've covered some basic virtual interview tips and questions to ask candidates let's go over a virtual interview example that you can use as a guide - we'll use the AE role discussed earlier.

Virtual Interview Example for an Account Executive Role:

Interviewer: "Good morning. Thank you for joining me today. My name is Alex, and I'm the Sales Director at our company. Before we begin, can we just confirm that you can hear me well and that my video is clear on your end?"

Candidate: "Yes, both audio and video are coming through perfectly."

Interviewer: "Great! I've reviewed your resume and I'm impressed with your track record in sales, particularly your experience with enterprise accounts. Today, I'd like to discuss your past roles, understand your sales strategies, and get a sense of how you'd fit into our team here at XYZ Corp. Let's dive right in. Can you start by telling me about a time you overcame a significant challenge in acquiring and closing a large account?"

Candidate responds

Interviewer: "That's insightful, thank you. Now, suppose you're dealing with a high-value client who is considering a competitor due to a tight budget. How would you persuade them to stay with us without compromising our pricing standards?"

Candidate responds

Interviewer: "Interesting approach- I like how you handled that! Moving on, we're always exploring new market verticals. Can you discuss a strategy you would employ to break into an unfamiliar industry?"

Candidate responds

Once you've completed your questions, you can dive into the candidate's questions for you - remember this is a two-way interview.

Interviewer: "Thank you for sharing that strategy. Now, I'd like to offer you the chance to ask any questions you might have about the role, our team, or the company."

Candidate asks their questions and you answer them

Interviewer: "Those are some great questions and I hope my responses have provided you with a clearer picture of what working with us would be like. As for the next steps, our hiring team will review your interview along with others this week. You can expect to hear back from us regarding a follow-up or any further requirements by next Monday at the latest. Regardless of the outcome, we'll ensure to provide you with feedback. Is there anything else you'd like to discuss or any final thoughts you want to share?"

The candidate provides final thoughts or asks additional questions

Interviewer: "Thank you once again for your time today. I appreciate your detailed answers and the thoughtfulness of your questions. It was a pleasure speaking with you, and we'll be in touch soon. Have a great day!"

Candidate: "Thank you, Alex. I'm looking forward to hearing from you. Have a good day as well."

The interview concludes

If you're not using interview intelligence software, it's now time to score the candidate based on their responses, body language, and overall fit for the role. You can also make any additional notes to share with your team and review them later before making a final decision. Remember to take into consideration not only the candidate's technical skills but also their cultural fit, potential for growth, and alignment with company values.

In conclusion, virtual interview platforms are an excellent tool for assessing and hiring top talent remotely. By asking the right questions and listening carefully to their responses, you can gain valuable insights into a candidate's competencies, experience, and potential for success in the role. If you're struggling to find the right talent quickly and efficiently, we'd love to help. Book a demo with someone from Pillar to see how our interview intelligence can help you make better hiring decisions faster and cheaper. Happy Hiring!