Kid in home office on zoom

By Bond Collective Staff

A big part of creating the best team for your business is conducting an effective virtual interview. This is especially true when you can’t meet with the candidate face-to-face.

Virtual interviews, however, are different enough from regular interviews that many managers wonder how to go about directing them for best effect.

In this article, the experts at Bond Collective discuss the best tips for running your own successful virtual interview and finding the best hires for your team and your business.

Tips For Running The Best Virtual Interview

Zoom call of a virtual interview

1) Test Your Tech

Before you conduct a virtual interview, test the technology you’re going to use so you know it backward and forward. The easiest way to do this is to run a mock interview where you’re both interviewer and interviewee.

Start a meeting on your laptop or desktop and then connect to that meeting using your phone or other mobile device.

Run through the virtual interview process from both sides and make note of settings you want to change, where features and commands are located, how to get to those features and commands quickly (keyboard shortcuts), as well as the framing of your camera.

When you test your technology thoroughly as both the interviewer and interviewee, you’ll be better prepared to conduct a smooth virtual interview and to troubleshoot should something go wrong.

2) Eliminate Distractions

Few things destroy the effectiveness of a virtual interview like on- and off-screen distractions.

To prevent interruptions that pull you and the interviewee out of the interview, prepare your environment in such a way so as to eliminate distractions.

Take the time to:

  • Close doors

  • Post “Do Not Disturb” signs

  • Turn off notifications and other sounds on your computer

  • Silence your mobile phone

  • Turn down the volume on your landline phone

If you’re conducting the virtual interview in a coworking space, position yourself with a wall at your back — Bond Collective’s private meeting booths are perfect in this situation — so someone doesn’t accidentally walk behind you.

3) Be Mindful Of What’s On Screen

Man in front of computer screen for virtual interview

A key part of eliminating distractions and preserving the professionalism of your virtual meeting is being mindful of what’s on screen.

While you’re testing your technology, take a moment to examine what the camera captures. Look at the borders of the shot and what you see in the background.

If the camera captures your desk, make sure it’s clean and tidy. If desk lamps, computer monitors, plants, or other items appear at the edges of the screen, reposition the camera or move those objects out of the way for the time being.

And, above all, make sure the area behind you is organized, clutter-free, and looks professional. In fact, the less you have in the background the better (that’s why we suggest setting up with a wall behind you).

You don’t want the interviewee spending their time trying to figure out why you have a pile of stuff on the floor and wondering why you couldn’t be bothered to put it away.

4) Exercise Professionalism

When you do most of your work from your couch, kitchen table, or home office, it’s very easy to let your professionalism slip now and then (or even more often).

During a virtual interview, however, exercise the same professionalism you would if you were meeting face-to-face with an investor to secure startup funding.

Here are just a few ways you can portray a professional image during a virtual meeting:

  • Use professional language at all times (skip the swear words)

  • Dress appropriately (professional attire, no jammies)

  • Do your hair (bedhead is a definite no-no)

  • Exercise good grooming (make sure there’s nothing in your teeth, shave if necessary, wash your face, etc.)

  • Look at the camera as much as possible

  • Smile and nod your head

  • Sit up straight

  • Pay attention to what the interviewee is saying

  • Use natural hand gestures

Take the time to perfect your professional image before the virtual interview so that you always convey a good first impression to prospective team members.

5) Review The Job Description

A key part of any effective interview is knowing the job description like you know the back of your hand.

Reviewing the job description beforehand will help you confirm that it’s up-to-date and that no responsibilities have been added or subtracted.

Additionally, familiarizing yourself with the job description will help you match the perfect candidate to the duties and requirements of the position for which you’re hiring.

6) Research The Interviewee

This step in the interview process is all about getting to know the candidate from the material they’ve provided. Reread through all the application materials and make note of any questions you want to ask or points you would like them to clarify.

You can also round out your knowledge of the interviewee by researching their online profile and presence on sites such as:

  • LinkedIn

  • Facebook

  • Twitter

  • Instagram

  • Pinterest

  • YouTube

  • Reddit

  • Snapchat

  • Tumblr

A good way to use what you find on these sites is as a means of verifying the information on the application material and filling in any gaps you may notice.

7) Plan Your Virtual Interview

Facetiming and working on computer

If you don’t plan your virtual interview, it’s very easy to lose track of time. When that happens, you may spend too much time at the beginning of the interview and run out of time at the end.

That can be disastrous for the interview process, virtual or otherwise.

Before the virtual interview, plan the sections (e.g., introductions, small talk, questions, conclusion, etc.) and how long you want to spend on each.

Use the timing of each section as a guide (you don’t have to stick to it exactly) to help you stay on schedule so you can fit the necessary components of the interview into an hour or less.

8) Script Essential Questions

While you’re planning your interview, take a few minutes to script the essential questions you want to ask. Consider putting these questions at the beginning of the interview so you don’t overlook them.

9) Mention Company Culture

Whether you’re managing a remote workforce, an office team, or a combination of the two, company culture is a big part of your success.

Take the time to describe your company culture and ask prospective new hires how they might fit into that culture. Doing so ensures that you find the right person to join your team.

10) Discuss Working From Home

Another key aspect of an effective virtual interview is mentioning the work arrangements under which your business is currently operating.

Are all team members working from home right now? Will that change in the near future? Will the new hire be expected to report to a permanent, temporary, or satellite office at some point in time?

Addressing these details during the interview cuts down on a lot of confusion later on in the hiring process.

The Best Virtual Interview Starts With Bond Collective

space for virtual interview

Prospective candidates aren’t just looking at what your business does or what it makes. They’re also looking at where you work and how it reflects on the business as a whole.

Though you may be building a distributed team — and though the new-hire may be working from home for a while — they want to know that the image your business portrays is professional at all times.

The easiest way to convey such a professional image that sets the tone for everything your business does — and especially your virtual interview — is with help from Bond Collective.

At Bond Collective, we provide flexible office space to fit any size team, from one to 100 or more.

Whether you’re a digital nomad, a solopreneur, an entrepreneur running a startup, a small business, or a large corporation, we’ve got the workspace that’s perfect for you.

And because all our spaces are designed and decorated with an eye to making your business look good, you can rest easy that you’ll convey a professional image whether you’re running a virtual interview, a face-to-face interview, or a virtual meeting with investors.

Visit any one of Bond Collective’s many locations in the United States, including workspaces in New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Illinois, Tennessee, and Texas.

Or, call us today to find out more about everything we have to offer.

And while you’re at it, schedule a tour to experience first-hand how the boutique coworking environments at Bond Collective can benefit your business.