5 Qualities to Look For During Virtual Interviews
How the ROCS Team selects ROCStars
It is safe to say that most companies had to make adjustments throughout the year of 2020. It may have been the way in which the company operates, communicates, expands or put simply, works. Here at ROCS, our team conducts over fifty interviews per week and while we miss meeting candidates in person, we quickly learned to adjust our recruitment process and conduct the ever popular, video interview. Our interview process may have shifted but our goal remained the same; recruit the best and the brightest candidates for our clients. Throughout this article we will provide insight on 5 qualities to look for during a virtual interview and how we select ROCStars among thousands of applicants.
One of the top attributes that is evaluated during any interview is professionalism. But how do you do that when you’re only looking at someone through a computer screen? The answer is simple, work with what you have. Evaluate what the candidate is wearing. Sure, you may assume they are wearing sweatpants with their suit jacket, but you probably are too. If you dare, you could ask them to stand up, but we suggest looking for other minor details. Is their shirt ironed? Is their hair combed and orderly?
Looking beyond the candidate’s apparel, what is going on behind them? Professional candidates will make sure they are in a quiet room with limited distractions. Are there kids and pets running around? Strange posters and photographs hanging on the wall? The nice part about a video interview is that you truly get to evaluate someone on a more personal level. While some of these can be distracting, they can also help break the ice and become conversation starters!
Our favorite way to evaluate someone’s confidence level used to be the old-fashioned handshake. Within the first ten seconds of meeting someone we were able to tell if they were confident and ready to go or a complete Nervous Nellie. But is that gesture gone for good? It’s hard to say.
During a video interview the greatest way to gauge a candidate’s confidence level is through eye contact and verbal communication. Top candidates will know, in order to exhibit direct eye contact, one must look directly into the webcam. It is very common for people to look at the other person on the screen but on the receiving end, it may seem that they are looking down and not paying full attention.
As the interviewer, even if you were to close your eyes and not look at the candidate at all, you should be able to tell a great deal of their confidence simply by listening. It’s natural for someone to feel nervous during an interview, it usually means that they care. The candidates who can speak clearly, engage with you by asking questions, and truly show they are listening will display the most confidence.
Attitude is everything. A candidate could have all the right answers, meet all the desired qualifications and check every single box. But if they don’t have a positive attitude, the rest means nothing. Luckily, we’ve found that the video interview does not interfere with one’s ability to assess another’s attitude. You can uncover a candidate’s attitude by simply asking the right questions:
- What would your professional references or previous employers say about you?
- What are the top three things you’re looking for in your next position?
- How would you describe the perfect work environment?
These types of questions will shed light on how they evaluate themselves and work within a team setting. Do they only care about themselves or are they interested in adding value to your company?
Attention to Detail and Ability to Follow Instructions:
A simple and easy way to test a candidate’s attention to detail during a video interview is to provide them with certain tasks to achieve prior or during the interview. For example, due to our internal applicant tracking system we require candidates to submit their resume as a Microsoft Word document format. It is amazing how many candidates either don’t submit a resume at all or send in a PDF version thinking they nailed it. This simple requirement tells us everything we need to know before we even meet them.
Get creative and have a little fun with this one. Doesn’t a little fun sound good after the year we’ve experienced? Tell the candidate to have something blue in the background of their screen or to be prepared to show an item from their room that shows you more about them outside of work. Little details like this can go a long way. Did they catch it or skim your confirmation email too quickly?
When an interview is booked for 11:00am that does not mean to show up at 11:00am. It also does not mean to show up at 10:30am. Punctual candidates will know to arrive ten to fifteen minutes early for their interview. Conducting a video interview is no different. Sure, they may not have to arrive at the office, check in with reception and sit down all before the interview, but those most prepared will be seated at their computer, phone off, ready to go at least five to ten minutes before the interview time. No more are we in the land of excuses based around car troubles, traffic, parking or loss of direction. At ROCS we pride ourselves on our one-minute late policy. As written in our confirmation email, it states, “Late candidates (even if it's by one minute) who don't give prior notice will be dismissed and asked to reschedule.” We follow that same expectation virtually. If we are expecting a candidate in the video at 11:00am we will ask to reschedule if they log on at 11:01am. Top candidates will know to notify the employer via phone if they are running late due to technical difficulties.
Things to Remember:
Conducting an interview and being on a hiring panel sure does bring a sense of confidence and empowerment but employers should never abuse it. As an employer, we encourage you to hold yourself accountable and set these standards for yourself as well. You represent your company and as eager candidates hit the market, there are things they are looking for too. While conducting a virtual interview we suggest you dress to impress, eliminate distractions, initiate eye contact, be punctual and most importantly, have a welcoming attitude. Remember to keep an open mind; not all job seekers have access to high speed internet, private rooms and nice clothes. If you draw your attention to what the candidate can control and look for the ones who have a positive attitude, the rest can be taught, and your team will continue to expand.
We’re looking forward to the start of the new year. As ROCS puts 2020 behind us, we are proud to say that we have conducted over 1,000 video interviews and placed over 200 candidates in new jobs through our virtual interview process.
For more information on conducting virtual interviews or how to grow your team during these unprecedented times, give us a call at 703-579-6677 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.