<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >Hire Remote Workers: Structuring the Virtual Interview</span>

If you’re hiring remote workers, interviewing candidates who are relocating, or just choosing a less cumbersome interview method, virtual interviews are becoming commonplace in today’s recruitment and hiring process. If you’re unfamiliar with virtual interviewing—whether video interview or phone interview—it can be difficult to feel comfortable. 


Whether necessary or by choice, research shows that candidates actually prefer virtual interviews. One study found that 45% of respondents liked being able to interview without travel, while 37% felt less intimidated than they would by in-person interviews. It can help the interviewing organization save time and resources as well. 


One of the complaints often made about the virtual interview process is that remote interviews are not as effective as previous in-person efforts. If that’s the case, the problem may not be the type of interview but your interview structure. 

Phone Interview vs Video Interview

When you hear the term virtual interview, it is likely referring to video interviews. There are those that lump all remote interview types under the virtual interview header, so phone interviews may be included. Is there a benefit to one over the other? Not necessarily. 


Both phone interviews and video interviews give you one-on-one time with the candidate. Some of the interpersonal benefits of in-person interviews may get lost with remote interviews. For instance, phone interviews do eliminate face-to-face interaction, and both can limit the interviewer’s ability to read body language.


One thing many may forget is that you don’t need to choose phone or video when it comes to virtual interviews. Instead, you can use both during the recruitment process. In fact, phone interviews are often used for initial interviews or candidate screenings—even when interviewing in person for the follow-up. 

Technology Matters for Remote Interviews

It is important to remember that technology is a very large part of the virtual interview process. This is especially true for video interviews. So, managing your technology ahead of time is an important step if you plan to interview remotely. How can you do this?

  1. Know Your Platform. Choose a video interviewing platform ahead of time. It will give you the opportunity to ensure that it works well with your current setup and allow you to familiarize yourself with the software. 
  2. Test, Test, Test. Test the connection and software before the interview. Then, test it again. Connectivity and software issues can derail the interview from both sides. 
  3. Check Your Equipment. The software is not the only thing you need to worry about. You should also be checking your equipment. Make sure your mic and other equipment work before the interview time.


Structuring A Virtual Interview

Structuring your interview can make a difference for both the interviewer and interviewee. Research has shown that structured interviews hold many benefits, something that is true for both in-person and virtual interviews. Structured interviews can limit bias. An extra added benefit to virtual interviews? They can save organizations time and money, improve the candidate experience, and even reduce the time-to-hire. 


How can you structure your virtual interviews to work for you?


Communicate instructions and expectations. First and foremost, treat this similarly to your in-person interviews. There should be a specified and documented process that can be shared among interviewers, as well as a documented process that includes expectations to be shared with the candidates. 


Ensure that you remain professional. Dress appropriately and ensure that the background is clean and distraction-free. You should also maintain eye contact throughout the interview and avoid other distractions. Don’t click around from tab to tab or window to window. Don’t answer messages or emails on your computer or your phone during the interview. Plan to give the candidate your undivided attention. Stay focused on the interview, and be sure to practice active listening the same as you would for an in-person interview. 


Map out your questions ahead of time. Virtual interviews tend to be more concise than in-person interviews. So, be sure to choose your questions wisely. If you are hiring remote workers, you will also want to ensure that you are assessing their ability to work remotely. What is their communication style, how do they structure their time, and can they self-manage? This is one of the most important steps for delivering a structured interview. 


Pay attention to the interviewee. More than just their answers, pay attention to their reactions–and their distractions. It can be hard to read body language through a computer screen, so it is important to watch for subtle clues. One of the benefits of the in-person interview is the interpersonal connection and the access to their subtle non-verbal cues. You’re more limited during a video interview, but you can still glean insight. 


Don’t monologue; hold a conversation. Things can be harder to read over video. And, it can be easier to talk over each other. Give a long enough pause to ensure the interviewer is done speaking before moving on to the next question. Be sure that you are making this a two-way conversation and not a monologue. 


We may not be able to help with the interview process, but we can help ensure that you are hiring quickly and compliantly. Outsource employment to The Payroll Edge. Contact us today!