5 Tips for Conducting Virtual Job Interviews

Schools across the country are having to adapt to new ways of working and how they approach their traditional methods of recruitment. Standard recruitment procedures would have changed over time to include more use of online services but the coronavirus pandemic has expedited our use of technology and made virtual interviews the norm. 

You may find interviewing remotely a new and daunting experience, but this doesn’t have to be the case. If you have never conducted a virtual interview, and you’re not quite sure where to begin, here are our 5 tips to help you get started:  

1) Plan and Prepare

There are several video conferencing tools you can use to conduct your interviews, with many of them offering free trial periods. You may want to explore and trial what platform works best for you.

Liaise and coordinate with staff and candidates involved as to how the interview will play out. Create a clear structure for your virtual interview, just as you would for a face-to-face interview.

It is important to maximise the candidate experience, so we recommend you carry out a test run before you set sail and don’t forget to provide your candidates with a contact number, should you experience any glitches with the technology and vice versa.

2) Put Your Candidates at Ease

Interviews are generally nerve-racking for both the interviewer and candidate on any given day, however, during these unprecedented times there may be some added stress and anxiety for all involved. Don’t be afraid to communicate with your candidate that little bit more than you usually would.

Communicate the structure of the interview and provide them with all the information you usually would if they were coming into the school for a face-to face interview. For example, you could provide guidance on how to access the video conferencing software you will use or provide a detailed timeline containing a format for the interview, including the names of all those they will come into contact with during the virtual interview.

3) Set the Scene

You may be conducting your interview virtually, however, this should still be carried out with the same level of professionalism and care that you would give to a face-to-face interview.

It is possible that you will be conducting the interview from your own home and will need to find space where you can give your candidate your full attention. Choose a location that is free from any distractions in the background and is quiet, so you won’t get interrupted. You could even place an ‘interview in progress’ sign on your door to make others in your household or your colleagues aware that you are conducting an interview.

Ensure your phone is on silent or turned off and any programmes not being used for the purpose of the interview are shut down, this will ensure that notifications aren’t pinging through and interrupting the interview.

4) Sell Your Opportunity

Normally candidates will visit the school prior to applying for the vacancy so it will be more challenging to get a real feel for the culture and environment of the school.

Consider anything visually you can share about the school. Can you offer a virtual tour? Could you provide images of displays or testimonials from staff and students?

Whist you may be conducting the interview under different circumstances, trying to ascertain if the candidate is the right fit; the candidate will also be doing the same. So, as you would with a face-to-face job interview, ensure you have your pitch prepared. Focus on all the positives, your school’s vision, values, the key benefits of working for your school, career progression, rewards etc.

5) Be Professional

First impressions are just as important, so dress appropriately; you wouldn’t be sat conducting an interview in your pyjamas if you were in a school setting.

Monitor your body language, the best way to communicate with your candidate is to sit up straight, smile, speak clearly, and look directly into the camera at eye level. Use hand gestures where necessary and nod to inform the candidate that you are engaged and listening.

Take notes during the interview as you usually would, but ensure you track what the candidate is saying, how they perform and also make notes of any issues that may have encountered  during the interview as this will help you to prepare more effectively next time round.

Other considerations:

Ensure your adverts are updated with the correct information advising candidates of how you intend to carry out your interview, and contact details for the interviewer should the candidates have any questions or concerns.

If you are a candidate and are preparing for an online interview then read these 12 ways to prepare for a virtual interview and secure the job of your dreams.

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