Product
Articles 7 Expert Tips for Virtual Interviews

7 Expert Tips for Virtual Interviews

HR
Bitrix24 Team
11 min
1304
Updated: May 28, 2024
Bitrix24 Team
Updated: May 28, 2024
7 Expert Tips for Virtual Interviews

The rise of remote teams allows organizations to choose talent from across the globe, but this can be a tricky task if you’re not used to virtual interviews. From time zone confusion and tech mishaps to connection issues and background noise, we’re still in the teething phase of online meetings. 

However, the advantages of interviewing in virtual environments are well worth the learning curve:

  • Reduced costs on travel and office space

  • Faster time to hire due to more mutually available time slots

  • Less bias through standardized processes

One thing for sure is that it’s not simply about replicating face-to-face interviews. Instead, you need to leverage the digital format to make smart, successful placements.

That’s why the team at Bitrix24 has put together seven expert tips for virtual interviews. We’ll cover how to prepare, personal skills, technological tips, and virtual interview questions to ask potential recruits to give you an edge in the hiring process. 

Whether you’re starting your transition to a remote team, or your online recruitment just needs an extra boost, these strategies could be the game-changers you need. 

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1. Set the stage for successful virtual interviews

Before you even send out calendar invites to applicants on your shortlist, creating the right environment for your interview is an essential first step. A good impression is one of the most overlooked virtual interview tips for employers, even though failing to do it can lead to you losing out on top candidates. 

Let’s get specific with a brief checklist on how to do a virtual interview as an employer.

  • Choose a professional background that reflects your company’s integrity. Nobody wants to see their future employer’s washing on the drying rack. If possible, use real or virtual backgrounds with your company branding to remove any distractions.

  • Set your lights and camera before calling “action”. Ring lights aren’t just toys for influencers, so there’s no excuse for not lighting your face properly. Positioning your camera at eye level helps to maintain eye contact and engagement.

  • Test your technical stability to avoid disruptions during the interview. Find a place with reliable Wi-Fi and close any unnecessary apps to ensure you’ve got enough bandwidth.

  • Experiment with video and audio settings before the interview to enhance your professionalism. Video conferencing apps allow you to tailor your audio, share your screen, and blur your surroundings — just remember to run a test with a colleague or a friend to check everything is running smoothly.

2. Master the extra tech involved with video interviews

The core technology here is professional video call software. You’ll need to choose a reliable platform that is easy to use, is compatible with your company’s infrastructure, and allows you to invite external attendees to your meeting. However, no list of virtual interviewing tips for recruiters would be complete without addressing important supporting apps. 

Calendars are the first port of call here. Integrations display your availability through your video call software, so you never double-book interviews. You can send invites directly from the video tool and set reminders for you and your guests to avoid no-shows. At the start of every day, you can open up your calendar, see your daily schedule at a glance, and arrive at every meeting fully prepared.

A customer relationship management system (CRM) comes in very useful when interviewing in virtual environments. It’s easy to mistake one candidate for another, so pull up notes, interactions, and the personal information of each interviewee from your CRM to mitigate the risk.

Interviewers have even begun using AI to transcribe and summarize conversations. Reflecting on physical meetings relies heavily on emotional impressions, your team’s memory, and handwritten notes — all of which are fallible. AI transcription gives you a full written record of what was said, which you can easily navigate and search for keywords. 

7 Expert Tips for Virtual Interviews

3. Structure virtual interviews for clarity and balance

One of the evergreen physical and virtual interview tips for employers is to structure the session in a way that gathers everything you need to make an informed decision. The clear organization also helps your candidates understand what to expect, which can ease nerves and lead to more authentic, natural responses. 

Here’s a cheat sheet to help you check all the boxes.

  • Develop a clear, consistent format. Follow a logical pathway that addresses personal attributes, job history, motivations for working with you, and a section where candidates can answer their own questions. Set timings for each section to stick to your schedule and give each applicant a fair opportunity.

  • Prepare questions in advance. Choose a list of standard virtual interview questions to ask potential recruits that assess their required skills for the position. Yes, you can probe deeper into interesting responses, but this preparation ensures you hit all the main topics during the interview.

  • Implement role plays or simulations. It’s hard to gauge how candidates react to real-life issues, but role-playing scenarios can be very helpful. Take note of their problem-solving and analytical abilities, and monitor their reactions to potentially challenging situations. 

  • Use time-management tools. Simple time trackers allow you to stick to your schedule, prevent you from rushing important sections and respect the candidate’s time.

Following these virtual interview tips for interviewers is the best way to fully and fairly evaluate each candidate’s compatibility with your needs. Looking at the big picture, it saves companies a significant amount of wasted time and resources on disorganized recruitment drives. 

4. Brush up on your online communication skills 

It goes without saying that smart communication is essential in all areas of business, but virtual interviews require you to adapt those skills to an online environment. 

Physical distance and the lack of a welcoming handshake can make it easy to overlook the small, welcoming actions that are second nature in a real-life meeting. To build a rapport and help the candidate feel at ease, start the interview with some light conversation about common interests you have seen on their resume or any experiences you’ve had in the city they are calling from. Creating this friendly atmosphere from the start can lead to more open and honest conversations when the interview gets underway. 

Remember that your body language will affect the interviewee’s confidence even in a virtual space. Keep your camera on at all times and show active listening by nodding, smiling, and following up on their responses. This is a two-way street, so pay close attention to the candidate’s body language. Do they look interested? Are they confident in what they’re saying? 

From a more technical perspective, learn how to use video conferencing technology to your advantage. Screen sharing is an excellent supplement for displaying instructions for a practical test as candidates can refer back to them rather than asking you to repeat yourself. If they suit your needs, whiteboards are a fantastic way of presenting ideas that aren’t pre-prepared. 

By streamlining your communication, both parties leave the interview with a clearer understanding of each other and a more positive impression of the interview itself.

7 Expert Tips for Virtual Interviews

5. Reduce your biases to a minimum

Removing biases in your hiring processes isn’t just an ethical imperative. It’s a way of cutting through the noise to select the best candidate based purely on merit and their fit for the role. Like in-person interviews, you need to design virtual interviews that promote consistency and equity. 

Here are some virtual interviewing tips for recruiters to ensure fairness.

  • Standardize the evaluation process by using the same set of criteria for all candidates. Create a workflow of tasks and a scoring system based on the job requirements and key skills needed so you assess each applicant by the same metrics.

  • Use smart apps for documentation to help compare candidates post-interview. As mentioned earlier, AI transcription is an ideal tool for digital note-taking that bypasses human error, allowing you to focus on responses in real time.

  • Build structured feedback forms that address uniform criteria and prompt interviewers to give specific examples and reasons for their ratings. This encourages more impartial assessment, better hiring decisions, and a more unified company culture.

  • Train your internal team on how to do a virtual interview as an employer, covering digital tools, questioning techniques, and how to avoid common biases in online settings. 

It may be impossible to remove biases from recruitment processes completely, but following these tips is a giant leap in the right direction. AI transcription, for instance, shows that virtual interviews can actually be more impartial than face-to-face evaluation. 

6. Prioritize privacy and security during virtual interviews

It’s no secret that the online space is a dangerous one for data security, and with so much sensitive information exchanged, remote interviews are particularly vulnerable. Privacy measures not only protect the company and the candidate in the short term but also build trust in your organization. 

Having a secure internet connection is step one in protecting against breaches. Public Wi-Fi networks can’t guarantee online safety in the same way as company or home systems, so aim for networks with end-to-end encryption for peace of mind. Most video call technology will allow you to password-protect your virtual interviews too, which prevents any bad actors from hacking into your conversations.

If you haven’t already, make sure your company adheres to data protection and privacy regulations. For example, verify that you’ve obtained consent to gather personal data, and if you’re hiring EU-based candidates, check that you comply with GDPR standards. 

For total transparency, compile all of these practices into a privacy policy that you attach to invites to all your interviews. Include information on how an applicant’s data will be used, how long it will be stored, and who will have access to it. There’s no need to set endless reminders to keep to your promise. GDPR apps exist that take care of all your data protection obligations with minimal human intervention. 

7 Expert Tips for Virtual Interviews

7. Follow up professionally to maintain positive relationships

Just as important as security for reinforcing a professional image of your organization is a timely, organized policy of follow-up actions. Failure to seize the moment and make offers can mean you miss out on your top candidates, and snubbing others closes doors and can lead to reputational damage. 

Fortunately, there are some simple workflows you can put in place once your virtual interviews are over. 

  • Provide clear timelines at the end of the interview so your candidates know when to expect decisions or next steps. This clarity helps manage expectations and stops them from giving up hope and accepting other offers. 

  • Use automated tools for communication to reduce the burden on your own team. Generic thank-you emails that use the candidate's name are a polite way of building on the relationships you have developed through the hiring process. 

  • Keep detailed records of all your interactions with each applicant. CRMs work as data sponges that keep all personal details, interview transcriptions, and evaluation forms in one place so you’re always working with accurate information. 

  • Offer candidates a feedback opportunity on their interview experience. This not only helps in improving your processes but also shows that you value the candidate’s input. 

Professional follow-ups aren’t just a courtesy but a strategic component of every recruitment drive, whether online or in person. Earning a reputation as a company that cares about its people is a major advantage for attracting the kind of profiles you want in your team.

Run virtual interviews the easy way with Bitrix24

We hope these tips have shone a light on how to do a virtual interview as an employer and that you now see remote recruitment as a realistic proposal. Meticulous preparation, structured interviews, and refined digital etiquette are all vital pieces of the puzzle, but without the right tools, you’re still stuck at square one.

Enter Bitrix24: An all-in-one platform that gives you all the tech and security you need to run successful virtual interviews.

  • Customizable video conferencing that integrates with your calendars

  • AI-powered Copilot to automate the note-taking

  • A far-reaching CRM to store applicant notes and send out personalized messages

  • Task workflows to standardize your hiring roadmap

  • Extensive data protection and security measures to keep you safe online

So before you order that ring light you’ve been meaning to get, sign up for Bitrix24 and reach an international talent pool with virtual interviews.

Free online collaboration tools and HR in a kit!

Bitrix24 is a safe space where all team members can communicate, collaborate, and manage daily activities. Run interviews with clients and candidates, and meet with colleagues.

Get Started

FAQs

What is a virtual interview?

A virtual interview is a job interview conducted remotely using digital tools such as video conferencing software, allowing interaction between the interviewer and candidate without the need for physical presence.

How to prepare for a virtual interview as an employer

To prepare for a virtual interview as an employer, ensure a professional setting, test your technology, familiarize yourself with the video platform, structure the interview clearly, and plan your questions. 

How can virtual interviews benefit your hiring process? 

Virtual interviews can benefit your hiring process by

  • Expanding your talent pool

  • Increasing the likelihood of candidates finding time to attend

  • Combining a hiring team from different geographies

  • Reducing time and resources associated with in-person interviews

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Table of Content
1. Set the stage for successful virtual interviews 2. Master the extra tech involved with video interviews 3. Structure virtual interviews for clarity and balance 4. Brush up on your online communication skills  5. Reduce your biases to a minimum 6. Prioritize privacy and security during virtual interviews 7. Follow up professionally to maintain positive relationships Run virtual interviews the easy way with Bitrix24 FAQs What is a virtual interview? How to prepare for a virtual interview as an employer How can virtual interviews benefit your hiring process? 
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