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Tips for Conducting Online Interviews to Get the Best Candidate for the Job

The majority of us are working from home at the minute and, as you know, the show must go on. We know that hiring new staff usually comes at a time when you are very busy. Here are some tips for conducting online interviews, that will save you time and help you get the best fit for the job and your company.

Online interviews versus face-to-face interviews

We are used to face-to-face interviews and they have their obvious advantages. However, video interviews have their benefits too.

Advantages of online interviews

  • Better candidates: You get to interview candidates that may not have applied for the job normally. Candidates who are not currently living in your area or are working for competitors who couldn’t be seen coming to your offices are more likely to apply.
  • Easier to schedule: While everyone is working from home it is much easier to schedule in an interview during your day. It also makes organising interview times much more convenient. There is much less backward and forward on suitable times.
  • Consistency: It is easier to ask the questions you have prepared. When you are face-to-face you can get side tracked into a conversation. During an online interview it is simpler to stick the same questions, allowing you to choose the best candidate for the job.

1. Make the candidate comfortable

Yes, the interview is online but that doesn’t mean the candidate is not nervous. Interviews whether online or face-to-face are stressful for everyone involved. To get the best out of the candidate make them feel comfortable and let them know you are interested in what they can bring to your company. The perfect fit for you company could suffer from interview nerves so make sure they feel welcome.

2. Dress as you would for a face-to-face interview

While conducting interviews you are representing your company so it is important to adhere to the normal dress code of your company. Your company dress code speaks volumes about your company culture. It also shows the candidate how they are expected to dress in your business if they are successful.

3. Double check you have scheduled the interview correctly

Speaking from experience it is easy to schedule an interview in the middle of the night or in the wrong time zone! It is worth doublechecking that you have scheduled your interview correctly. Otherwise, you could be getting a phone call at 3 am instead of 3pm!!

4. Allow extra time for technical issues

Schedule extra time

When you are scheduling interviews add an extra fifteen minutes in case of any technical issues. This way you will not need to cut an interview short without having all the information you require.

5. Ensure you are distraction free

Tips for Conducting Online Interviews- be distraction free

It is hard at the minute as we are working from home with kids, dogs, family or flatmates all in the one space. Try to conduct the interview in a quiet place with no noise. Turn off your phone notifications and focus on each candidate so you can really understand what they are about and what they can bring to your company.

6. Location, location, location

As a representative of your company nobody wants to see your pile of laundry or your new comfy sofa. Pick a location in your home with a neutral backdrop. Try a clean wall in your house. Don’t sit right up against the wall, sit about 3 foot away from the wall. Make sure it is well light with light coming in towards your face or at the side of your face.

7. Know how to use the software

If you have not used the software that you are conducting the online interview on, practice using it. Candidates invest a lot of time preparing for interviews, this is there time to shine. Double check that you know how to connect to the video and your audio so that you can really concentrate on the interview and glean the most information about the candidate.

8. Eye contact

With an online interview, to make eye contact with the candidate when you are speaking you need to look at the camera not on your screen.

9. Take a breath

Wait a few seconds before speaking after the last person has spoke so that you are not talking over each other. On online video software, if two or more people speak at the one time the software cancels each other out. Then the person not speaking can’t hear what is being said.

If there is a number of interviewers on the call, have a plan of who is asking what questions so the candidate can hear your questions clearly.

10. Preparation is key

Finding the best candidates takes preparation.

  • Have the candidates CV printed out if possible.
  • Have your list of questions you would like to ask each potential employee.
  • Have a pen and paper to take notes.

In addition it is important to prepare for any technical issues that may arise. Have a plan as to what you will do if you or the candidate freezes while speaking. Will you ask the question again? Communicate this to the interviewee so you are both clear on what to do.

11. Be consistent

Ask each candidate similar questions. Have a list of questions and tick them off as you go. This ensures you are comparing like with like when picking the successful candidate.

12. Have a backup plan

As we know, working online things can go wrong. People’s internet can drop, the software can crash, among many other things. Always have a backup plan!

  • Have a phone number for the interviewee.
  • Be clear who will call whom so you are not calling each other at the same time and not getting through.
  • Let the candidate know the backup plan so you are both clear what to do if the situation arises.

13. Pay attention to the candidate’s body language

The advantage of an online video interview is you can read the candidates body language. Watch to see are they interested in the job, are they confident in their ability to do the job and are they the kind of person who will fit in well with the other employees in your business.

14.Finish the interview with clarity

When you finish the interview make sure that the candidate knows what are the next steps, how long it will take and any other important information. Ask the candidate do they have any questions. This is a great way to allow you to see how motivated and knowledgeable the interviewee is.

Now that you have lots of tips for how to conduct online interviews, best of luck in finding the right candidate. If there is anything we can do to help you in your search for the right candidate contact us here. We pride ourselves on working with employers and candidates to find the right match so everybody wins.

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