Virtual Interviewing Tips For Hiring Managers

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Virtual Interviewing Tips For Hiring Managers

Virtual interviews have become the norm in today's post-COVID world. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of this interview. When assessing candidates, hiring managers often rely on virtual interviews to get a sense of a person’s qualifications. However, conducting an effective virtual interview can be challenging if you're not prepared. There are quite a few differences between virtual and in-person interviews, and most of them are nuanced. Many hiring managers have been video interviewing for years, some are brand new to the concept. So, here are some virtual interview tips for hiring managers to get you started and make the most of this type of interview:

1. Prepare well in advance. Just as you would for an in-person interview, take time to review the candidate's LinkedIn profile, resume, and cover letter. Quite often, the best way to understand the qualifications necessary for a role would be to chat with the team a candidate will be joining. Consider what qualifications are absolutely necessary for the person to be successful in the role. You'll want to create a list of semi-structured, open-ended questions that will allow the candidate to showcase their hard skills, soft skills, cultural fit, and past performance. You're looking for in a candidate and prepare questions that will elicit responses that will give you insight into whether or not the candidate has those qualities.

2. Make sure the technology is working well in advance of the interview. Test your microphone and webcam ahead of time so there are no surprises on interview day. If you're using a laptop, make sure it's plugged in or fully charged, that your headphones are connected and working properly and that you have a strong and stable internet connection. It's also a good idea to have a backup plan, just in case there are technical difficulties.

3. Set up the environment in which you'll be conducting the interview. Choose a quiet room with good lighting and no distractions. If you have pets, make sure they are out of the way and will not be a distraction during the interview. You want the candidate to feel like they have your full attention, so it's important to remove any potential distractions.

4. Use interview intelligence software or pay close attention to nonverbal cues. It can be more difficult to read nonverbal cues virtually, but it's still important to pay attention to them. Look for signs of engagement, such as nodding or leaning forward. If a candidate seems disengaged, it may be a sign that they're not interested in the role or that they're not a good fit for the culture.

5. Ask follow-up questions. Asking follow-up questions shows that you're engaged in the conversation and that you're really listening to the candidate's answers. It also gives the candidate a chance to elaborate on their responses and to provide additional information that may not have been covered in the initial question.

6. Take notes. Just as you would in an in-person interview, take notes during the virtual interview. This will help you remember what was said and will also come in handy when you're writing up your interview notes afterward.

7. End the interview on a positive note. Thank the candidate for their time and let them know what the next steps are in the process. This is also a good time to reiterate your interest in their qualifications and experience or let them know that you don't think that there's a fit and you're grateful for their time but won't be moving forward.

By following these virtual interview tips, you can set yourself up for success and ensure that you're making the most of your time with the candidate.

Tips for Conducting Interviews

So, lets you've found a qualified candidate, now you need some tips for conducting the job interview. This is your chance to really get to know the candidate, their qualifications, and if they would be a good fit for your team. If we start with the end result in mind, we're looking for someone who will fit our pre-set criteria but also be someone we look forward to having on a team. Some great interviewing techniques for interviewers are:

1. Pre-Interview Research: This is a great way to make sure you are really prepared when the candidate enters the virtual interview. It also allows you to get familiar with their work so you can ask more pointed questions. We like to recommend having the job posting available as you're reviewing their resume, LinkedIn Profile, and portfolio of work (if relevant) so you can start to get an idea of how they see themselves in the role.

2. Prepare a List of Questions: This is critical. If you do not have a list of questions ahead of time, you're likely to veer off course and not learn what you need to know about the candidate. We recommend a semi-structured line of questioning so that you're creating a fair and equitable candidate experience.

3. Keep your diversity hiring goals in mind. If you're realizing that you're only seeing resumes from one particular group, widen your sourcing horizons a bit to include organizations that focus on underserved communities. You can also look at job boards that focus on diversity hirings, such as Power to Fly, InHerSight, and The Muse.

4. Introduce Yourself and set the agenda: How you start an interview as an interviewer sets the stage for the interaction. So begin on the right foot by introducing yourself and your role in the company. This will help the candidate feel more comfortable and at ease. You can also use this time to set the agenda for the interview and let the candidate know what to expect.

5. Make the candidate feel comfortable. The interview process can be a nerve-wracking process, especially with all the layoffs we've seen in recent months. This is a great tip for conducting interviews. We like to start interviews with a couple of icebreakers. Our favorites are recognition of influencers you both follow, recent posts, references to an alma mater, or friends you share in common. These are the best light-hearted conversation starters that build rapport.

6. Never leave a candidate hanging. Even if the answer is no, it's always good to send a follow-up note to the candidate. You never know when you might need them again or when they might be in a position to refer someone great to you, so you'll want to leave them feeling like they were cared for.

By following these tips for conducting interviews, you can create a positive experience for both yourself and the candidate that will help you find the best person for the job

Tips for Virtual Interviews

There are many benefits to virtual interviews. You can connect with candidates from all over the world, which broadens your talent pool. You can also save time and money by not having to travel to meet with candidates in person. Great virtual interview examples even allow you to read a candidate's body language, which can be helpful in making a hiring decision.

Virtual interviewing tips for hiring managers will vary depending on the industry and role you're hiring for, but there are a few general best practices that apply across the board.

1. Use video conferencing software that's widely used: There are many great options out there, such as Zoom or Google Teams. The reason for this is familiarity and bandwidth. You want to make sure that the candidate is familiar with the software you're using and that they have a good internet connection.

2. Do a test run: Oddly enough, I could've used this piece of advice in a recent meeting. I'd updated the software on my MacBook Pro and my headphones refused to connect. Troubleshooting and solving the problem took 2-3 minutes and by the time I'd explained what had happened, we were 5 minutes into the meeting and nothing had been accomplished. Anytime you make a change or switch connections, do a test run to make sure everything is working correctly.

3. Give the candidate clear instructions. This is a huge tip for virtual interviews. You can tell a lot about a candidate by how well they follow instructions. So make sure to give them clear instructions on how to connect to the meeting and what they need to have prepared.

4. Quality questions are everything. Candidates should be able to speak to their experience, but you also want to ask quality questions that will give you a good sense of their skills and abilities. We've found that the best way to do this is by using a mix of behavioral and situational questions. Virtual interview questions and answers will help you understand how they've handled situations in the past and what they truly bring to the table. Use interview intelligence software so you can record, transcribe, and highlight interview questions and answers to refer back to later.

5. Dress professionally: This is a great tip for virtual interviews, even if you're not going to be seen on camera. Dressing professionally helps you get into the right mindset for an interview. It also sends a signal

These are just a few of our top tips for conducting virtual interviews. By following these best practices, you can set yourself up for success and find the best candidate for the job.

How to Conduct A Virtual Interview

We've already talked about the benefits of virtual interviews, and now let's cover how to conduct a virtual interview. For context, we recommend a 6-step interview process which you can learn more about in our eBook, "How to Hire Great Software Engineers." A short summary of the hiring process would look like this:

  1. Screening interview
  2. First interview
  3. Panel or team interview
  4. Task or an assessment interview
  5. Final interview
  6. Reference checks

Each virtual interview example we've reviewed has taught us more about a quality hiring experience. Virtual interview questions and answers make up around 70% of your time with a candidate so we'll focus the rest of this article on these questions.

At Pillar, we break our interview questions down into 4 or 5 categories (depending on the role).

  1. Behavioral or Situational Questions
  2. Technical Questions
  3. Past Performance Questions
  4. Cultural Fit Questions

The reason for this is to gain a well-rounded perspective of the candidate. We want to know how they think, how they work under pressure, what their experience is like, and if they will be a good fit for our company culture. Let's break each category down further with some examples in the next section.

Virtual Interview Script

Creating your virtual interview script is vital to keeping the interview on track. If you're a Pillar customer, this is done for you for each role and is easily accessible in your dashboard before an interview.

You may also want to create a document that's stored in your company's cloud called, "How to interview a candidate, script." This can be used as a resource for your team when they're conducting interviews and will help to keep the process consistent.

When creating your virtual interview script, we recommend that you start by asking yourself these questions:

What qualities or skills are we looking for in a candidate?

What questions will help us identify those qualities or skills?

What are some red flags we should be on the lookout for?

Once you have a good understanding of what you're looking for, you can start to build out your questions. We recommend using a mix of behavioral and situational questions to get a well-rounded perspective of the candidate. Here are some examples:

Behavioral or situational questions:

  • What was a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer?
  • How do you handle working on multiple projects at once?
  • What was a time when you had to go above and beyond to get the job done?

Technical questions:

  • What is your experience with (x) software?
  • What are some of the challenges you've faced with (x) software?
  • How would you go about solving the (x) problem?

Past performance questions:

  • Tell me about a time when you delivered results that exceeded expectations.
  • What was a time when you had to troubleshoot and solve a difficult problem?
  • Can you tell me about a project you spearheaded? How do you feel the project went? What could you have done better?

Cultural fit questions:

  • How do you like working remotely? Do you have a way of staying connected with your team?
  • How would you describe your ideal team environment?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult co-worker? Were you able to become friends and create a positive work environment?

Once you have your questions finalized, it's time to start thinking about the format of your virtual interview. We recommend a simple virtual interview format: Intro, agenda, role details, semi-structured questions, candidate questions, next steps, and close.

If you're outside of an organization, you may have different questions to ask. For instance, a recruiter's interview script may look slightly different, but this should be a great resource to help get started!

If you're currently building your interview process and would like to see how we've helped customers cut hiring costs and lower employee turnover by more than 50%, schedule a demo to chat with our team. We'd love to show you how our interview intelligence software can be a force multiplier in your hiring efforts.