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Conduct a virtual interview: The how, why and best practices.

With around 118 applicants vying for a single job, you need to implement an efficient shortlisting process. Virtual interviews enable recruiters to meet more people as there’s no travel involved. Your team and top candidates can join video calls from anywhere, reducing scheduling conflicts and saving everyone time and energy.

What is a virtual interview?

A virtual interview occurs remotely via a video meeting or phone call. They can include one interviewer or a panel, online presentations and even assessment tests

82% of employers now use virtual interviews to build their teams. All participants can join an interview using a video link rather than travelling to a physical location. This helps recruitment teams to maximize their working hours when shortlisting for multiple roles at once. According to the Economic Times, HR professionals have reported saving up to 14 hours a week with remote interviewing.

Virtual interviews are utilized in a variety of industries.

  • Technology and IT: Assess technical skills through coding challenges or remote whiteboard sessions.
  • Remote work positions (e.g. customer service): Evaluate a candidate’s ability to work independently and manage tasks remotely.
  • Healthcare and telemedicine: Assess bedside manner and remote care skills.
  • Finance and consulting: Test problem-solving skills and strategic thinking through case studies or simulations.
  • Education: Evaluate teaching abilities, subject matter expertise and instructional methodologies.

Why the surge in virtual interviewing?

Over half of the US workforce is now remote due to a combination of circumstances.

  • Tech evolution: High-speed internet and video tools made virtual interviews more convenient.
  • A global workforce: Virtual interviews transcend borders for efficient candidate assessment and hiring.
  • Pandemic push: COVID-19 and social distancing accelerated the adoption of virtual interviewing.
  • Inclusivity: Virtual interviews can offer additional accessibility through eliminating travel.

74% of US recruiters report that online interviews make it easier to meet and shortlist applicants. By offering a choice of video or in-person interview, your business can cater to a candidate’s preferences, personalizing recruitment from the get-go.

A hybrid approach also helps to ensure all relevant decision-makers are able to attend sessions. This streamlines the overall recruitment process and speeds up offer-processing.

The benefits of virtual interviews

Not only are virtual interviews a time-saver, but they also lead to significant savings. These can include up to 67% on travel and 20% on hiring expenses. Here are just some of the noteworthy benefits of virtual interviewing.

  • Flexibility: All participants commit to the interview time only – there’s no need to account for travel and this cuts down on lateness and rescheduling
  • Cost-effective: Reduces expenses especially when interviewing candidates who are based far away from your business location
  • Efficiency: Enables all interviewers to join sessions no matter where they’re based
  • Screen recording: Various video meeting platforms allow interviewers to record sessions for review or sharing
  • Environmental impact: Meeting online cuts travel emissions and reduces your business’ carbon footprint.

Spend more time connecting

Your recruitment team is tasked with finding the ideal candidate for every role – from creating job descriptions and monitoring applications, to reviewing resumes and meeting people. Each team member’s time is valuable, and as your business grows, you’ll want to introduce an automatic interview scheduling system.

This ensures that recruiters can focus on their search and delegate routine calendar management. With Setmore, you’re able to:

  • Share booking links so candidates confirm an interview time online
  • Automate email confirmations that include a video link
  • Include a rescheduling link so there’s zero back-and-forth required
  • Choose between meeting over Zoom or Google Meet
  • Have your availability take other calendars in account – including Google, Microsoft or Apple

How to conduct interviews remotely

To begin, you’ll need to connect your Setmore account to Zoom and/or Google Meet. Next, create a new service in your Setmore account and select a title (e.g. 30-min interview), meeting duration and provider. For the location, choose from Zoom or Google Meet and be sure to update its visibility.

Booking an interview in your calendar

  1. In your Setmore calendar, click on a blank space.
  2. Complete the booking details, ensuring you provide necessary information.
  3. Pay attention to each participant’s time zone to schedule accordingly.
  4. A video meeting link is automatically generated and included in the ‘Location’ field.

Booking an interview from your Booking Page

  1. Add a virtual interview as one of your services. Learn how to add a service.
  2. Go to Settings > Booking Page > Overview. You’ll see your current booking link under ‘Your Booking Page URL’.
  3. Copy and paste your booking link in emails, messages, SMS, or however you’re communicating with the candidate. 
  4. Before you share the link, detail your preferred interview times with the candidate
  5. Candidates use the link to schedule their virtual interview on your Booking Page.
  6. After booking, both you and the candidate get a confirmation with the meeting link.

Keeping virtual interviews on track

  • Confirm technical requirements: Ensure everyone has what’s necessary to participate (e.g. webcams, microphones and a stable internet connection) and advise on any specific software or settings needed for the interview.
  • Prepare an interview structure: Plan the interview format and questions. Let candidates know what to expect, like whether it’s a panel interview and whether there will be a skill assessment.
  • Test run: Conduct a test call to check audio, video and connection quality. This helps to identify and resolve any technical issues beforehand.
  • No more no-shows: Automate reminders a day before the interview to reiterate any essential details.
  • Be flexible: Even if you’ve created an interview schedule, be ready to move things around in case of equipment failures or unexpected circumstances.

Best practices to conduct virtual interviews

  • Set the stage: Pick a distraction-free, well-lit spot.
  • Break the ice: Start with friendly conversation to build rapport. Eye contact with the camera is essential.
  • Structure is key: Lay out the game plan to keep everyone on the same page.
  • Use visual cues: Screen-share to illustrate complex points using presentations and pre-recorded video.
  • Exit with style: Summarize, set expectations and show gratitude.
  • Upgrade: Gather feedback to improve future interviews and experiment to find what works best.

Share your booking link with candidates

Sending your candidates a booking link enables them to reserve an interview slot independently. When a candidate books online, you both receive an email confirmation and the details appear in your calendar automatically.

If you reschedule or cancel an interview, your app automatically notifies the candidate and anyone else participating.

You can drop booking links in emails, DMs and even WhatsApp messages. If you’re open to meet and greets, considering adding a link to your business card, LinkedIn profile and social media posts.

Crafting the perfect invitation email

For 81% of candidates, consistent status updates from employers significantly enhance their overall experience (Starred). Your invitation email sets the tone for your hiring process. Clearly communicate the interview format and other details (like who the interviewer(s) will be), share relevant attachments, offer a choice of times and include your booking link.

Here’s an example:

Subject: Invitation to interview for [Job title] – Virtual meeting details inside

Dear [Candidate’s first name],

Thank you for your interest in the [Job title] position at [Business name]. We would like to extend an invitation for a virtual interview.

Please select from the following times. A booking portal will guide you through confirming your interview slot.
1. [date & time 1]
2. [date & time 2]
3. [date & time 3]

Details of the interview are as follows:
Platform: [Google Meet/Zoom] (You’ll receive the video link in a interview confirmation email)
Access Instructions: [Any helpful instructions]

The interview will include [briefly outline format or structure]. Attached, you’ll find [any necessary documents or materials].

If you have any questions or need further information, please reach out. We look forward to meeting you.

Best regards,
[Your Name]
[Your Title]
[Contact Information]

Gather feedback to schedule job interviews efficiently

Candidates looking for their next big opportunity may attend several virtual interviews. Ask how they found your session to utilize their insights and comparisons. This engagement boosts your brand image too – candidates asked for post-interview feedback are 65% more inclined to recommend your business (SmartRecruiters).

Consider sending feedback forms within an hour post-interview to capture initial thoughts. However, if your recruitment process for a role involves multiple rounds of interviews, you may receive more comprehensive feedback closer to the conclusion.

Meet with one click

Organizing and conducting interviews remotely is easier than ever. Create your free account in seconds and offer extra convenience to your team and talent pool.

Happy scheduling!

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