7 Tips for Conducting Effective Virtual Interviews

By September 21, 2021HR

It’s a job-seeker’s market right now, with more jobs open than people applying for them. In June 2021, for example, job openings in the United States rose to slightly over 10 million, an unprecedented surge.

Accounting and finance are already highly competitive job markets, with companies and nonprofits vying for the most talented professionals. In this atmosphere, employers must understand the differences between interviewing job candidates in person and through teleconferencing. More and more, companies are using technology to screen applicants, first by screening resumes and then throughout the interview process. By understanding and using the virtual interview process effectively, you can shorten the time it takes to find and hire great candidates.

7 Tips to Host Effective Virtual Interviews

  1. Invest in the right software.
  2. Send instructions to the candidate.
  3. Leave 5 minutes for a test run of the software.
  4. Prepare for the interview.
  5. Ensure adequate light.
  6. Check the sound quality.
  7. Minimize distractions.
  1. Invest in the right software.

You don’t need an expensive platform, but you do need a platform that allows for adequate time for the interview. Zoom, GoToMeeting, JoinMe, and other virtual meeting software often limits the amount of time or the number of people on a free virtual call. Investing in a simple hosted plan can help you ensure you have adequate time for the interview. If you do opt for a free package, be sure to have a backup plan ready if you decide to go over the time limit. There’s nothing worse than getting cut off in the middle of a conversation!

  1. Send instructions to the candidate.

Don’t assume that the candidate has the software downloaded or even knows how to use it. Send them simple instructions and a link to where they can download the software free of charge. Make sure to send such instructions at least twice, once when you schedule the interview and the day of the interview itself.

  1. Leave 5 minutes to test the software.

Leave at least 5 minutes between interview appointments so that you can test the software and your connection with the candidate. You may need to spend a few minutes at the start of the call getting the candidate familiar with the software, for example, if they want to do a screen share to show you samples of their work.

  1. Prepare for the interview.

Just because the interview is virtual does not make it any less important than an in-person interview. Hiring managers should prep for the interview the same as they would an in-person interview. Have the job description and the candidate’s resume in front of you, either on a second screen or printed out. Be sure to introduce yourself and explain how your position interacts with the position the candidate is interviewing for and add any information that will help the candidate understand the role, the company, or the interview process. Develop your questions beforehand and keep them handy, jotting down notes or asking permission to record the interview for reference later.

  1. Ensure adequate light.

It’s off-putting for both candidates and interviewers to speak with someone who looks like they’re working in a cave. Make sure you have a good light source illuminating your face from in front or the side. If you do not have access to natural light, invest in a ring light, a simple gadget that provides better lighting for virtual calls. These can be found in many online stores for a nominal fee and attach directly to the computer monitor to provide good lighting. Candidates need to see your facial expressions and you need to see theirs to help you both feel at ease.

  1. Check the sound quality.

Computer microphones vary in sound quality. Put on your headset, if you have one, if the candidate cannot hear you easily. Make sure you both know where the “mute” button is on the screen as well in the (likely) event of background noises: pets and children both seem to sense an important call and crash it accordingly!

  1. Minimize distractions.

Check your software to see if it has a “blur” feature for the background. If you are interviewing the candidate from home and wish to maintain more privacy, blurring the background can remove any identifying pictures of family or children or simply blur out a distraction, like interviewing from the kitchen and showing your sink full of breakfast dishes in the background. Minimize distractions by closing your office door, moving your computer to a quieter location in your home, and asking a spouse to watch young children while you’re on your call. And of course, turn your cellphone to mute, and turn off instant messaging to avoid being interrupted.

With the right software and preparation, you’re well on your way to hosting successful video interviews and finding great accounting and finance professionals.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.