How to Effectively Evaluate Candidates in a Virtual Interview

by | Published on Oct 13, 2020 | Interview Transcription

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Virtual Interview

Businesses have entered a new era of virtual workplaces and remote hiring. With globalization, many organizations already had teams spread across the world and managing remote workers became the norm. Today, in addition to working remotely, recruitment and interviewing have gone virtual. Interviews are conducted on Zoom, WebEx, and Teams, recorded, and documented with the help of a digital transcription service provider. Employers reference and review that transcripts to make the hiring decision. One challenge that companies are facing is identifying the right talent through a virtual interview. Potential candidates could be those with experience in telecommuting and those without. Experts recommend the following strategies for hiring remote employees:

  • Ask the right questions: The interview is about gauging the candidate’s potential to work at home. Here are 5 questions to ask –
    • Do you have access to a computer, reliable internet connection, and workspace: These are the basic requirement for working remotely and it’s important to ensure that the candidate has them.
    • Do you have any experience working remotely? Previous experience with remote work would indicate that the candidate knows what to expect with the arrangement and how to handle it. Candidates who have successfully managed remote work will be self-motivated, have the ability to work independently, and possess strong communication skills.
    • What is the biggest challenge you faced when working remotely? Challenges of telecommuting could range from staying organized, managing time to collaborating with the team. It’s important to ask candidates about their major challenge and how they handled it.
    • What communication tools are you familiar with? Effective communication is one of the most important challenges in virtual workplaces. There are a variety of collaborative technologies to support virtual communication. If the candidate will be expected to use Google Hangouts or Skype to keep in touch with their manager on a daily basis, they need to be familiar with the platform.
    • Can you stay motivated without direct supervision? A Harvard Business Review report noted that managing employees without “line of sight” is a major concern with remote work. The right candidate will be able to stay on task even it no one is checking up on them.
  • Mind camera positioning: Both interviewer and candidate should make sure that the webcam sits at eye level and placed in an angle that lets your head and shoulders are visible. A Forbes article goes a step further and recommends positioning the camera at a distance that also makes the upper arms and hand movements at least partially visible. Candidates should be urged to adopt this positioning as it will make it easier to assess their body language.
  • Conduct tests: In addition to video interviews to assess verbal communication skills, the hiring process should include tests to evaluate writing abilities and critical thinking skills. Candidates should be able to communicate clearly via email, which is especially important when real-time communication may not be always possible due to time zone differences. To evaluate critical thinking skills, present hypothetical scenarios and study how the candidate handles them. The Muse recommends assigning candidates a pre-interview research exercise to gauge traits like resourcefulness, time management and communication skills, with results reported on screen to check if they are technically savvy!
  • Keep candidates relaxed and comfortable: Virtual interviews can be challenging even for the best candidates. Making the procedure less stressful can help them perform well. In a report, recruiter Alyxandra Rodriguez explains how she provides personalized support to candidates by allowing them to meet their recruiter or coordinator prior to the interview to familiarize them with screen sharing and check for audio or video issues. “Connecting with candidates before their interview is a great way to provide support during what sometimes be a nerve-wracking experience. I’ve found it helps my candidates relax and feel more comfortable”, she says. Allowing candidates to refer to the notes and material in front of them can also make the virtual interview less stressful for them, according to a Forbes article.

As virtual hiring soars, timely documentation of interviews is necessary. Reliable audio transcription support is available to ensure that all the information is captured accurately in a timely manner, allowing employers to evaluate the sessions and make the hiring decision.

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