Have you ever been on a bad Zoom call? It's the epitome of frustration when you can't connect due to some unforeseen glitch or the connection lags, making you move and sound like a robot.
Technical issues are frustrating but the flexibility you gain from these video chats is undeniably invaluable. If you think you'll lose out on key details on video calls compared to in-person, we've got you covered. In this guide, we will cover some tips and tricks to help you prepare for conducting the job interview itself and include a few interview questions that translate well no matter what your internet bandwidth is.
Here are my top tips for every hiring manager who wants to conduct professional, enjoyable virtual job interviews without sacrificing on quality or human touch.
The 4 Pillars for All Zoom and Skype Interviews
Did you check your teeth for poppy seeds after you wolfed down that everything bagel in this morning's stand up? No judgment here but with HD level cameras in almost every device we own nowadays, you're going to want to take a quick scan in the mirror for these things.
Aside from the obvious, these tips will help you bring your A-game to your video call.
1. Set the Bar
Go the extra mile to show up professionally on- and off-camera. Yes, as the hiring manager you're the boss and are ultimately deciding who you extend the job offer to. Still, you have to consider that every candidate is meticulously scanning for information about you too and potentially measuring you against the other teams they’re interviewing with. First impressions matter as much for them as they do for you.
Setting the bar virtually includes everything from body language to eye contact to what's going on behind you. In the cases where you are interviewing from the comfort of your own home, you should find somewhere quiet and undistracting as you ask about the deliverables in their previous role. Just as you would like them to be somewhere well-lit so that you don’t have to squint to see their face. Both parties need to have a professional approach in the video interview.
Try to act like the webcam doesn’t even exist. You should perform the job interview as if they are sitting across from you in an office. You wouldn't hold a job interview in the middle of the break room during lunchtime, so take a moment to scope out a productive space.
2. Be Understanding of Technical Challenges
Be mindful of the candidate’s professional etiquette online but give grace for technical errors. If you are conducting the interview via Zoom, they might struggle with launching it, entering the chat, or calculating time zones properly. With a slew of emerging technology options out there, they may be accustomed to a different program. Try to exercise patience and understanding. Give them some extra time at the start of the interview, help them turn their audio on, and allow them to complete the tasks during the interview without judgment.
3. Adapt the Process
Depending on your business, there are any number of interview activities that would normally be done in person that will now need to be done virtually. It may seem overwhelming but don’t worry, you don’t exactly have to reinvent the wheel here. As long as you keep an open mind, it can be easier than you think to bring these same activities online effectively.
For example, whiteboarding is an aspect of our interview process that we usually love doing in-person. This is when we give the candidate a problem or task to solve while we observe them working it out on a giant whiteboard. We have learned to adapt this process for virtual interviewing by allowing candidates to perform it over video with a smaller whiteboard or by using programs like Miro that make it just as easy as if we were observing them in real-time.
You can find all kinds of programs that support all stages and roles that you may be hiring for – for design projects there’s Figma, for pair coding there’s Teletype, and for everything else there’s the G Suite.
As long as you’re thoughtful and curious, the sky's the limit in bringing the same quality level to your Zoom or Skype interview.
4. Record and Review Later
Distraction is a major con to the video interview method, so pay extra attention to the conversation. With in-person interviews we are naturally held to a certain etiquette. In Zoom or Skype interviews it can be a lot easier to take an extra glance at your cell phone or scan for new tweets mid-conversation. On the flip side, you can become so consumed by analyzing body language that you miss what they are saying in their responses altogether.
The simple trick of recording of your video job interview makes it easy to relax a bit initially so that you’re focusing on getting to know the candidate. Having a recording of the interview provides the safety net where you can go and review later and even share with your colleagues for their input.
Questions to Ask During Zoom or Skype Interviews
Harvard Business Review advocates against trying to trick candidates on the spot with interview questions since websites like Glassdoor list commonly asked questions and suggested answers. With an online study guide, it's virtually impossible to catch candidates by surprise with crafty questions so it's time to go back to basics.
The following interview questions will help you to assess a candidate's verbal and nonverbal communication skills and screen for red flags — no over-the-top theatrics or trick questions required.
What about this role inspires you? You want to know that there is a genuine desire to pursue the role. You should be able to detect a certain level of keenness from this question that will let you know their vision for the role.
How do your values align with our company values? This can reveal to you how much research and reflection they have done on your company. The right candidate will be able to articulately align with your brand and mission. It will become quite clear whether they can implement those values in their work through additional clarifying questions during the interview process.
What are your salary expectations? Skype or Zoom interviews are designed to save time. There is not a lot of sense to bringing a job seeker into an in-person interview when they are priced wildly outside the salary range you've laid out for the role. It’s better to get this info out in the open to avoid disappointment on both ends at a later stage.
Why Prep Is Paramount for Your Virtual Interview
Whether you choose Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, or FaceTime for interviews, first impressions matter.
There's a learning curve to making the most out of the virtual connection (Wi-Fi and otherwise). A checklist can guarantee the interview process runs according to plan. It may seem a bit over the top, but getting granular with what steps you need to take to set up each call can ensure quality and control.
Outline the specifics you need to cover with your candidate from start to finish for them to make the cut to the second round of interviews. This helps you steer the conversation and cover all the most important elements in a shorter time frame. Technology platforms can go a long way in adding additional details on a candidate’s profile to support an easy, breezy virtual experience that leads to a successful new hire.
Want to hire more high performers and increase retention?
Serchlight’s Talent Intelligence has got you covered