Making the Shift to Digital Interviewing


Digital interviews are a great way to keep the hiring process moving along during uncertain times. At Variant Partners we frequently help our clients and candidates prepare for digital interviews, so we thought we would share some insight. Ultimately, with a little preparation, digital interviews can achieve nearly all the goals of an in-person interview with fewer scheduling complications. 

Here are some tips for companies looking to shift to digital interviews: 

Decide what type of digital interview you want. There are a lot of options out there including live one-on-one video, voice call, conference video or call, pre-recorded response to prompts, etc. Each provides certain benefits and difficulties. Make sure you consider which option best fits your interviewing needs. 

Pick your platform. Once you decide on how you will interview it’s time to pick an appropriate platform. Use a platform you’re familiar with if possible, this will make the transition to digital interviewing much easier. If you have to use a new platform, pick a popular platform to increase the chances that your interviewee is familiar and comfortable with the platform. 

Get the right equipment. While it is certainly possible to use your computer or phone’s built-in speakers and microphone, it is a good idea to invest in some external headphones and microphones. Headphones and an external microphone help reduce background noise and distractions and increase the overall quality of digital interviews.    

Run tests, lots of them. Test your platform on multiple devices (computers, tablets, phones) and operating systems if possible. This will help smooth out any bugs or hiccups and gives you an idea of what candidates experience during their interview. Test the internet strength wherever you’ll be holding the interviews to verify it can handle video platforms. Test your equipment including headphones, microphones, and cameras. Make sure you know which levels and settings optimize sound and video quality. 

Write out the process. Some candidates may not be familiar with your platform, or digital interviews at all. Make sure you write out complete instructions for the interview process. Does the candidate need to create an account? If they need to set up an account how long does that take? Which devices can they use to join the interview? Make sure you’re proactively answering as many questions as possible. Also share any tips for optimizing their devices for the platform (should they reduce the volume to avoid feedback, etc.). 

Get feedback. Ask candidates about their experience with the digital interview (Was it easy to sign-in and join the interview? Were our instructions clear? etc.). While many may resist being critical during an interview, candidates are a valuable resource to guide process improvement.              

Are you a candidate preparing for a digital interview? Energy Team Practice Leader Lynda Cooney has some tips for you! 

Make sure to look at the camera, not the screen. This is perhaps the most important advice in terms of maintaining the feel of a face-to-face interview. Looking at the screen will cause you to look as though you’re distracted or not paying attention. Looking at the camera helps maintain at least the appearance of  proper eye contact which is essential to creating a more natural connection. 

Be aware of interruptions. There should be no one else in the room or house. No children walking in the shot asking what mom or dad is doing.   

Practice in the mirror. This will assure you’re aware of facial expressions and not distracted by them during the video interview. 

Add extra enthusiasm. Remember: you’re talking to people, not a computer. 

Choose a proper background. Solid colored, but not white because it may wash you out. No windows or light from behind that will put you in a shadow. 

Plan clothing carefully. No bright colors, flowers, or stripes. They may appear distorted or be distracting on the other end. 

Conduct a practice interview!   

Test audio and video equipment and settings. Become aware of programs and equipment. 

Make sure you know how far away from the camera to sit. It is important to sit so there’s not distracting movement – and remain sitting. The view changes when you stand up. 

Change can be intimidating but the transition to digital interviews has a lot of upsides! Even outside of current restrictions and recommendations, digital interviews can increase the efficiency and convenience of your interview process. Now is a great time to set the groundwork for digital interviews both to keep interviews rolling in the short-term and to establish a more candidate (and interviewer) friendly process for the future. 

Written by Gabe Murillo – Research Manager

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