A Guide for Conducting a Smooth Virtual Interview

TSP • @myTSPnet


As the world shut down in 2020, employers had to adapt quickly to a new way of talent acquisition by conducting virtual candidate interviews. In-person interviews are typically the final step in the employee recruiting process, so conducting the entire interview process virtually is a new challenge for most companies. Because virtual interviews entail much more than just a simple phone call, we’ve created this helpful guide so you can conduct virtual interviews with ease.

Clear communication with the team and the interviewee should be the top priority before and after the virtual interview. Working virtually creates more of a risk for items to become lost in translation, particularly as most team members’ inboxes are overflowing with information.

Make sure the entire team is aware of the virtual interview process before conducting the interview. Consider sending an email detailing every step of the process or hosting a virtual meeting to discuss each step in-depth to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Additionally, give the interviewee ample amount of time to prepare for the interview. Let the interviewee know the meeting will be virtual as soon as the decision is made so they have the opportunity to make adequate arrangements. It’s also important to inform the interviewee about your company’s processes and expectations for the interview. Provide them with the names and titles of their interviewers, which software they will need to download and what the format of the interview will be.  

As helpful and crucial as technology is for our everyday work, it doesn’t always perform in the manner we need. Choose a reliable video conferencing tool that your team will use for all virtual interviews and meetings. Familiarize yourself with the software before the meeting and make sure your camera and microphone are working properly. Ensure your Wi-Fi is strong whether you are interviewing from your office or home.

Create a test interview with your teammates in advance so that you feel more comfortable during the actual interview. This trial run also allows you to troubleshoot any errors or missteps in your virtual interview process. It can also be helpful to provide a backup phone number in case there are technical difficulties. 

The entire interview team should have the interviewee’s information in front of them during the interview. An in-person interview allows the interviewee to hand the team a printed copy of their resume and/or portfolio for the team to review.

We also encourage all interviewers to study the interviewee’s resume and LinkedIn profile prior to the conversation to eliminate wasted time discussing information already provided.

Working from home and interviewing via technology provides more opportunity for distractions. It’s important for the interviewer to do their best to remove as many distractions as possible. Choose a clean, organized and quiet workspace for the interview.

Additionally, it can be helpful to try to make the interview as professional as an in-person meeting. Turn off any notifications on your phone and computer so you may give your undivided attention to the interviewee. Notifications will not only distract you but could also distract the interviewee.

An in-person interview allows you to properly greet the interviewee and show him or her around the office. This introductory time allows you to be personable and showcase your workspace. Unfortunately, a virtual interview does not naturally allow for the interviewer to demonstrate the company culture and office. Rather than jumping right into the list of prepared questions, converse with the interviewee for a brief time to get to know them personally.

Because the interviewee will not have the opportunity to witness company culture first-hand in their interview, be sure to spend some time discussing the company and what it is like to work there. This is important for the interviewee to have a grasp on company life since the opportunity is not available for in-person experience.

No matter how hard we try, everything cannot be perfect. The dog barks, the children knock on the door or the Wi-Fi glitches. Give yourself and the interviewee grace throughout the virtual interview process.

We're all trying to navigate technology and at-home work. Ask for feedback from the interviewee following the interview to learn the positives and challenges of the virtual interview experience so that you can be best prepared for your next interview.

With the uncertainty of when many companies will return to work in person, your company’s growth may be dependent on the effective execution of virtual interviews. With careful planning and attention to detail, you’ll be equipped to put your candidates and your interview team at ease and thus conduct productive virtual interviews. Who knows? You may find the virtual interview to be a valuable tool in your arsenal for years to come!