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How to Conduct an Interview Online
By Matt Hyde, Managing Consultant, Mosaic Search & Selection Ltd
Virtual interviews are the present and future of recruitment, so you need to understand how to conduct one correctly. These tips will point you in the right direction.
The last two years have forced many executive recruitment agencies into changing their approach to common tasks – like conducting interviews. For many people within this sector, interviews had been conducted in the same way for decades. As the pandemic took a firm grip over society, things had to change, leading to a rise in remote/online interviews. In fact, there was a 67% spike in video interviews since March 2020, showing just how critical it is for recruiters to get to grips with this ‘new normal’.
If you have never conducted an online interview before, it can feel very foreign and alien to you. However, you’ll be pleased to know that much of the preparation is similar to a regular face-to-face interview. You still need to research the candidates and look through their applications, picking out key bits of information you wish to quiz them on. You also need a firm understanding of the role, allowing you to formulate your interview questions.
With that being said, there are some unique preparations you must make when the interview takes place online, rather than in-person. We’ve listed some of the top tips for you to conduct online interviews for your next hire:
Take care of the logistics
With online interviews, there’s arguably a greater deal of logistics to take care of beforehand. It’s crucial that everything is set out in stone before the interview takes place, allowing you and the interviewee to both know what’s happening.
Some of the key things to take care of include:
Deciding what platform the interview will be conducted on – Zoom, Teams, etc.
Selecting the time of the interview
Choosing who will initiate the call – it usually makes sense for the interviewer to do this
Deciding who will attend the interview – will it be one interviewer, or will you bring others along? If others will be present, you must explain this to the interviewees
When these things are taken care of, both the interviewer and the interviewee understands what’s going on, so things can start off smoothly.
Create a professional setting
Make sure you conduct the video interview in a setting that looks as professional as possible. Ideally, you want a plain backdrop behind you, in a quiet place without any background noise. It’s a good idea to purchase screens that you can place behind you, giving you a blank background to appear more professional as an interviewer.
Ensure all your tech is working correctly
Be sure to check all the technology you’ll use to ensure it works correctly for the interview. Conduct some test interviews with members of your team beforehand, so you understand how the platform works. This also gives you a chance to tweak your microphone and camera settings to ensure they work properly and provide a clear voice and video for the interviewee.
Put a contingency plan in place
What happens if, during your testing, you realise that things aren’t working? You need a backup in place just in case there are tech glitches. For example, have a 4G or 5G hub/dongle to use if your internet connection goes down before or during the interview. It’s always smart to have more than one microphone and camera handy, in case one breaks. Little steps like this ensure that tech issues are minor bumps rather than issues that cause the whole interview to be stopped and pushed to a later date.
Armed with these tips, executive recruitment agencies and their clients can start making use of online interviews. Are they as effective as face-to-face ones? That remains to be seen, but remote interviews are certainly here to stay, so you need to learn how to conduct them effectively.
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