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Virtual Insanity! 5 Tips on Virtual Interviews

Graduate RecruitmentStudent Recruitment

Interest in virtual interviews is reaching fever pitch amongst graduate recruiters in the UK right now. In order for you to get the results you want, our advice is to carefully consider several factors before jumping in. Let us walk you through five ways to make sure you avoid common pitfalls and mistakes and enjoy a shorter learning curve with easy-to-implement tips and suggestions. All the following information below can hosted on your website for ease and serves to benefit both interviewee and interviewer who may be new to the idea.

Interest in virtual interviews is reaching fever pitch amongst graduate recruiters in the UK right now. In order for you to get the results you want, our advice is to carefully consider several factors before jumping in. Let us walk you through seven ways to make sure you avoid common pitfalls and mistakes and enjoy a shorter learning curve with easy-to-implement tips and suggestions. All the following information below can hosted on your website for ease and serves to benefit both interviewee and interviewer who may be new to the idea.

1. Protect your employer (and personal) brand. First impressions count to graduates when they first engage with an employer - in person or remotely - so stay true to your brand. With many recruiters now working from home, it’s critical to immediately take notice of the way you are presented from your appearance to your background as these can negatively impact judgments. Remember to prepare the interviewer so that they understand cultural and greeting differences.

2. Prepare the candidate…and the interviewer! Most candidates are uncomfortable during any graduate job interview but anxiety levels rise when they are done remotely. Reassurance is key. Prior to the interview make sure you start by explaining the goals and benefits of remote interviews. The major one is that remote interviews speed up hiring decisions. Other benefits are self-scheduling functions, reducing time away from work and adding to environmental sustainability.

Next, describe exactly what the candidate should expect at each step of the interview process (including who will likely be participating in the interview).

If the candidate has never performed a video interview then point them to other online resources and suggest they do a mock virtual interview with a relative or friend.

Lastly, provide a FAQ which covers everything else!

3. Minimise distractions. Whenever an interview is held remotely there are likely to be many distractions during the interview. Extra consideration is needed if you have several interviewers at once. Distractions could be poor sound quality, screen freezes, wrong levels of lighting, wonky camera placement and broadband drop outs. Background sounds including street sounds, music, pet or child noises can also be highly distracting. You can buy high-quality microphones, noise filters or cameras to ensure you are projecting a professional image. For backup, have your smart phone with the software ready so you can rejoin the meeting. Have a tripod to attach your phone to give consistent quality.

4. Be you. Not a robot. Recruiters and graduates often feedback that the experience of a virtual interview lacked the human touch. By reaching out in a personal way before the interview you make an important first step on the relationship ladder and miminise the likelihood of a no show or reneged offer. Examples include having the hiring manager personally invite each graduate to the interview. One step further could be to send a short video from each team member using their smart phone.

5. Remember to record the interview. The beauty of virtual interviews is they can be recorded which can bring several benefits - but you may need to convince graduates. They are likely to be even more nervous so try and explain the benefits. Firstly, if they have mental health or mobility issues it saves the stress of travelling beforehand so they can be more relaxed. Secondly, recording the interview will reduce any illegal or inappropriate questions by the interviewer. Thirdly, the process enables the use of post-it reminders to minimise anxiety. If they are unsuccessful, and with their consent, the recording can easily be passed to other hiring managers for other job openings instead. Finally, why not show them a pre-recorded version for them to watch beforehand (without revealing too many questions of course!).

The recruiter can benefit in the following ways. Firstly, when a candidate knows they are being recorded, they may be more truthful with their answers. Secondly, once you have taken references it can be helpful to go back over their statements to see if they match. Thirdly, the recording means that other line mangers who missed the interview or wish to consider the graduate for a new role needn’t interview the candidate again. Finally, the recording can be used as a training tool for interviewers who have development needs.

Finally, if you successfully switch to remote interviews, you’ll want to consider which other parts of the hiring process could also be virtualised. Start with your graduate job offer process. You can’t assume graduates have a printer for instance, so all paperwork needs to be sent electronically and signed digitally. You could improve the experience by integrating your CRM or ATS platform to follow up with candidates. Next, your onboarding will need to be revised so that it works flawlessly for remote workers so see what you can timetable remotely using technology.

We’d love to hear your journey over the next few months about how you are transitioning to the new normal post-Covid19.

Dan Hawes is the Marketing Director at Graduate Recruitment Bureau. He hopes to enlighten students, graduates and employers with his wisdom from over 20 years in the industry.  

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