One of the most effective ways for HR professionals to enhance candidate experience is to offer them a pleasant and comfortable interview experience. Virtual interviews that made a strong appearance during the pandemic are here to stay because of the multitude of benefits they offer to both candidates and recruiters. Besides, technological interventions have made the interviewing process seamless.
Virtual interviews are held online through interview platforms or video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Google Meet, etc. Virtual interviews offer candidates the option to attend an interview from any location of their convenience. The time of the interview is fixed based on the convenience of the interviewer and interviewee.
Types of virtual interviews:
Recorded interview: The interviewer can record the questions and provide these to the candidates. Candidates can record their answers and send them back.
Live interview: In this type of interview, the interviewer and interviewee are present and communicate with each other in real-time.
Video resumes: This is a format where candidates provide an overview of their education, experience, etc. in a video format. A video resume is not exactly an interview because the candidate is not answering questions in a typical interview format.
The basic requirements for a virtual interview are a microphone, camera, computer/smartphone, and access to interview software. Although interviews are conducted online, interview platforms offer a real life in-person interview experience.
Interview platforms offer a host of features to streamline virtual interviews. Some of them are:
Support different question formats: Some video platforms allow interviewers to provide pre-established questions. These questions can be provided in the text, audio, or video formats.
Interview scheduling: Many video interview platforms have an integrated appointment scheduling feature. This feature not only schedules interviews but can also reschedule them if required. The software also intimates the concerned parties about any changes.
Applicant assessment: Interviewing platforms facilitate applicant assessment by scanning applications from job seekers and shortlisting candidates.
Support panel interviewing: Some interview platforms support panel interviews wherein multiple interviewers or interviewees can attend the interview at the same time.
Sending reminders: Video software includes the feature to send notifications to candidates reminding them to furnish any details/documents required. It also sends reminder alerts to candidates to attend the interview.
Seeking feedback: Some video interviewing platforms include an automated feedback form through which recruiters can ask for feedback from the candidate. The feedback form can also be customised for each candidate.
Recording: Virtual interview platforms also include the feature to record and play back video clips of the interview. Some platforms store the recorded interview in cloud storage. Access to recorded interviews makes it easy for recruiters to discuss the hiring process with other colleagues.
Besides these, there are several other features that virtual interview platforms offer. Hence, hiring professionals have the option to choose a platform that includes features relevant to their needs.
At first look, virtual interviewing might seem to be a simple and straightforward process. However, it is a good idea to plan the interview in detail to ensure that the process is seamless for both the interviewer and the interviewee.
- Choose and test the platform
There are different types of virtual interview platforms available in the market. Compare the features of different platforms and choose the one that best meets your needs. Also, you will need to familiarise yourself with the software before you use it. Ideally, test the software before using it.
- Structure your interview
Structuring the interview entails establishing factors such as whether the interview will be conducted by a panel or an individual, who will be in the panel, the approximate duration of the interview, the sequence in which questions will be asked, and more. Simply put, the recruiters will need to prepare a roadmap for the interview.
Once the structure is prepared, everyone who is a part of the process will need to be informed about their roles and responsibilities in the process.
- Prepare the interview questions in advance
Based on what you want to assess through the interview process, prepare a list of questions that will provide you with the answers you are looking for. Having a list of questions in advance ensures that you do not waste time and the process is completed fast. Besides, preparing the questions well in advance ensures that you do not miss out on any vital point while conducting the interview. Moreover, having a pre-determined list of questions ensures that the interview progresses in the right direction without too many digressions.
- Send invitations to candidates
Once you have done all the preparations from your side, you can send invitations to candidates based on a mutually convenient date and time.
- Provide clear directions to candidates
Inform the candidate well in advance about the interview software that will be used so that they have the time to download it and familiarise themselves with the tool. Also, you can resolve any queries that the candidate may have regarding the process. You can inform the candidate if anything specific is required from their side.
- Give a clear idea about the job role and company culture to the candidate
An interview is a time when the interviewee and interviewer come face-to-face for the first time. It is an opportunity for the interviewer to introduce the company and job to the candidate. The interviewer can explain what the job role entails and what is expected from the candidate. Importantly, the interviewer should describe the company culture to candidates so that they have an idea of what to expect upon joining. These details will also help candidates assess if they are genuinely interested in working for the organisation or not.
- Maintain consistent communication with the candidate
One aspect of interviews that candidates dislike is long waits with no updates from the recruiter. Inconsistent communication offers a bad candidate experience. Hence, recruiters must ensure that they maintain clear and consistent communication with the candidate via text messages/emails. A transparent process helps candidates understand how they are progressing. It is a good practice to inform candidates even if they have been rejected.
- Invite feedback from the candidate
Feedback from candidates helps recruiters understand the positive and negative aspects of the hiring process. This will help you develop better interviewing processes for the future to enhance the candidate experience. If you are using virtual interview software, the process becomes easy because the platform generates a customised feedback form for different candidates.
- Explain the next steps to the candidate
Inform the candidates who have been selected and explain what is to follow. This will include details such as any documents required from their side, the onboarding process, etc.
If you are uncertain whether to opt for virtual interviewing or in-person interviewing for your company, do weigh the pros and cons of both before choosing the option that seems right for you.
Advantages and disadvantages of virtual interviews
Minimises costs: Virtual interviews save costs for recruiters because they do not need to invest in a venue for the interview. The candidate does not have to spend on commuting, lodging, etc.
Offers a large resource pool: Virtual interviews enable recruiters to interview candidates from any location across the globe.
Convenience: Remote interviews are convenient for both the interviewer and interviewee because the interview can be conducted from any location of their preference.
Easy to schedule: Interviewing platforms automate the scheduling process. The software makes it easy to schedule or reschedule interviews.
Saves time: Virtual interviews proceed faster than in-person interviews. They cut down on the travel time for the candidate. Besides, virtual interviewing platforms offer recruiters the facility to go back and watch the interview again to get a better understanding of the candidate. Recorded interviews also enable interviewers to watch the video with other colleagues if required.
Minimises stress for candidates: In a formal interview setup, many candidates tend to get nervous. This impacts their performance and in some instances, candidates may even back out from the interview. Many candidates are not comfortable in an in-person interview and may not give their best performance. However, in a virtual interview, since candidates appear from a location of their convenience, they tend to be more at ease and perform better.
Disadvantages of virtual interviews
Technology issues: The success of a virtual interview depends on the seamless functioning of technology. Often virtual interviews may suffer from snags such as poor video quality, network issues, and more.
Limitations due to candidates’ lack of IT expertise: Virtual interviews require the candidate to have an understanding of and access to technology. A lack of expertise in working with video conferencing tools might prove to be a deterrent for many capable candidates.
Distractions: An interviewer/interviewee could get distracted by unforeseen disturbances in their immediate environment. Besides, factors such as noise and improper lighting may impact outcomes.
Missing non-verbal cues: During an interview process, interviewers can assess the candidate through non-verbal cues like body language, style of communication, dressing style, etc. In a virtual interview, the interviewer gets a brief glimpse of the candidate and hence, may find it difficult to assess many non-verbal aspects.
Notwithstanding these minor disadvantages, virtual interviewing is expected to be the preferred mode of conducting interviews in the future. If you are looking to recruit the best talent ahead of your competitors, invest in a reliable virtual interviewing platform to leverage its many benefits. HirePro is among the leading virtual interviewing platforms that offer a streamlined interviewing process. The software includes a plethora of features that enhance the candidate experience.