Ask SGO: 3 Tips for Successful Virtual Interviewing

Ask SGO: 3 Tips for Successful Virtual Interviewing

In Ask SGO, Blog, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion by She+ Geeks Out

If you’re involved in hiring or recruiting for your company, you might be thinking to yourself that you knew how to go about interviewing candidates in “normal,” pre-pandemic times before we were all virtual, but what do we do now that we’re interviewing remotely for virtual positions and conducting virtual interviews? Felicia Jadczak, Co-CEO and Head of Training for She+ Geeks Out, shares three of her favorite tips around best practices for conducting and prepping for virtual, remote interviewing.

View the full video transcript below.

Felicia: Alright, so a lot of you might be hiring in this day and age which is wonderful and you might be thinking to yourself, okay, I knew how to go about interviewing and running through all my candidates before I was a hundred percent remote or virtual but what do I do now that I’m interviewing remotely for virtual positions and conducting virtual interviews.

I have a whole bunch of tips and ideas around best practices. I’m going to share three of my favorites around how to best conduct and prep for virtual, remote interviewing. 

My first tip is just communicate, and really, over communicate because you want to make sure that you are setting the expectations before you ever get onto that phone call or that Zoom or that Microsoft Team hang out, whatever platform you’re using. And a lot of times it does come down to platform, and so you want to make sure that you have shared the appropriate links, that the candidate knows what to click on, what they should be prepping, if anything, and maybe even some tips around what they should wear or how they should show up in that virtual space. I just finished doing a whole round of virtual interviewing myself and I can tell you that even with the best of prepping and taking my own advice, I still ran into situations where candidates were looking at calendar invites and thinking that I would call them, or I was thinking that they would hop on a Zoom link, and there was still miscommunication. So really try to over communicate as much as possible. This can also include things like sharing a background. So if you know that you might have certain assumptions about somebody based off of the physical space that they are dialing in from you could maybe even share a virtual background image with them beforehand so that way you’re leveling the playing field.

And that takes me to my second tip, which is check your biases. And so I just shared that example around backgrounds and physical space. And so we know at this point in time for a lot of us, we’ve been working remotely for at least a year, if not longer, and so we know that we might make assumptions or tell stories about somebody based off of the books that they have in their bookshelf or if a door opens while the call is happening, or maybe there’s laundry in the corner. And so make sure that if you are aware of some potential biases you might hold or that might pop up during an interview, that you take steps to mitigate or address them before you ever even get into the interview. This could also look like making sure that you have consistent questions and/or scorecards that you’re using for each individual candidate so that you’re not going off track or allowing your affinity biases to kick in.

My third tip is have a back-up plan. And I think this is a tip that you should use in your life no matter what, but especially for remote and virtual interviewing. Make sure you have a back-up plan because we know that nothing is perfect including technology. And so you’ll really want to make sure that in addition to just communicating out what to expect and how to join a call to your candidate, that you’re also sharing with them what happens if they lose power, or what happens if the link just doesn’t work, or what happens if you’re in the call and then something goes wrong. So make sure that you think through potential scenarios and that you have that back-up plan. So you shared your cell phone number with them beforehand, you know how to get in touch with them. You know that if something comes up that we can’t anticipate, that you have a way to adjust and react to that appropriately.

So those are just a few of our best practices. I’d love to hear what your best practices are for virtual interviewing at this point.


Are you ready to find out more about how bias can show up and have an impact in the workplace? Learn about our online course, Unconscious Bias in the Workplace!