Virtual Interviews-The Wave of the Future

Virtual interviews are becoming more commonplace in the recruiting process.  Are you prepared?

As a Senior Recruiter with Forrest Johnson Recruiting am currently using virtual interviews for my initial phone screens of candidates.

The individual you see in the photo happens to be my daughter and it illustrates the wave of the future in recruiting-virtual interviews.

Virtual interviews are a great way for recruiters to ascertain the candidate's poise, ability to use technology and ease in responding concisely to questions. You might be surprised by the number of people who are ill-prepared for their virtual interview.

Virtual interviews can be in the form of either pre-recorded videos or live interviews.  During pre-recorded virtual interviews, a candidate must respond in a certain time-frame to pre-recorded questions.  During live interviews a candidate is speaking directly with an interviewer, simply virtually.  In either case, it is easy to become nervous and not perform at your best.
Below are a few tips to keep in mind if you find yourself facing an upcoming virtual interview.
Attire: Dress as you would for an in-person interview.  Unless otherwise specified, attire for a virtual interview should mirror the attire you would wear for an in-person interview, ie. business casual to business attire.  If you are not certain, you can always ask the person who is scheduling the interview about their recommendation for attire.  Your hair should also be presentable for the interview, i.e. not wearing a baseball cap or other item that would obstruct your vision.  
Location, Location, Location: Be certain you are in a space with no distractions.  There should not be a television playing in the background, nor anyone walking back and forth behind you, or people knocking on a door attempting to get your attention.  There should be no interruptions or distractions.  If possible, select a room in your home or office (Not in a bathroom stall. Yes that actually happened!) where the environment can be controlled.  Taking the interview in your car is ok, but not preferable.
You also want to be aware of the backdrop behind you.  Pictures, books, quotes and other items on the wall or bookshelf, all say something about you.  Be certain they are telling the story you want to share at this stage in the process.
Device Positioning: If at all possible, have the device you plan to use in a stationary position, not in your hand.  You run the risk of the device shaking throughout the interview if you are nervous or it slipping from your grip, leaving the interviewer to look at the ceiling, or the side of your face, or worse, up your nose.  A stable position for your device will minimize the chance of any embarrassing situations that could occur. 
Prior Preparation: Do not have your resume near you for you to read directly from it during the interview.  You should be able to concisely convey the most recent 5-10 years of your experience.   Prior to the interview, practice reciting your experience or offering an overview of your experience to anyone who is willing to listen.  Ask them to assess how well you articulate your background and make adjustments as needed.  
For pre-recorded questions, take a deep breath and do your best to respond in the time-frame offered.  It is strongly encouraged that you use the practice feature if offered, to have a sense of how the question should flow within the designated time-frame.  Practicing only helps hone your ability to share your thoughts in a concise manner.
Application Choice: I have used FaceTime, Skype and Google Hangouts for my phone screens.  I have had the best success with FaceTime, and Google Hangouts as there are fewer delays that occur with these two applications.  GotoMeeting, Zoom and are also applications that are being used frequently.  Using these platforms allows the interviewer the ability to type comments during the interview.  If you are not familiar with the application that is selected, please download it and test it a few days before the interview to ensure you are comfortable with how to interact with the application.
Technology Glitches: Be prepared for technology glitches.  Whether the call drops due to connectivity issues or the audio/video clarity wavers, glitches are bound to occur.  Attempt to cover all aspects of what you wanted to share in the time remaining once you have recovered from the glitch.  If too much time elapses in-between recovery time, you can certainly request a time to reschedule the interview.
Username:  If the chosen application requires an user name, it is recommended that you use some variation of your name such as sreese or sreese2018HR for example.  While "dropemlikeitshot1999" may be really cool, it is distracting to the interviewer when they are attempting to locate you within the application.  Use every opportunity to make a good impression.
Notifications:  Turn off your notifications and use the "Do Not Disturb" feature on your device or computer 30 minutes before and during your interview.  There is nothing more distracting than text messages and / or FaceBook or email notifications floating across your screen as you are attempting to describe your best professional assets.  Another distraction can be in the form of the notification sounds.  The “ding” could be so loud it would drown out what you are attempting to share.  Using the "Do Not Disturb" feature should address this concern.
Conclusion: It is recommended that you have a few prepared questions to indicate your interest in the role and highlight your effort to conduct some research on the company / role.  Reiterate your interest and be certain to inquire about next steps in the process.
Even though it is a virtual interview, it is suggested that you still send a follow-up email or a thank you note.  A thank you goes a long way and definitely sets you apart.

Shatanese is the owner of Super Extra Ordinary Mom, LLC, a HR Consultancy that delivers leadership and development training with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

Shatanese resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband and their six children.  She enjoys walks on the beach and colorful sunrises.  Shatanese's goal is to encourage others to find the extraordinary in every day moments.

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