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What is a virtual interview? Online Job Interview Tips

Team AckoApr 24, 2024

Due to the changing dynamics of the workforce, mainly brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual interviews have become the norm in the recruitment process. Conducting interviews remotely has become increasingly popular, saving time, effort and resources. However, as with any new technology, it takes time and effort to master the art of virtual interviews. But don't worry; we are here to help. Read ahead as this article provides vital tips and tricks to help you conduct virtual interviews effectively and find the right talent for your organisation.




What is a virtual interview?

A virtual interview is an online meeting between a potential employer and a job applicant. It is typically conducted over video or audio-conferencing platforms, such as Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts. This type of interviewing is becoming increasingly popular, as it eliminates the need for in-person meetings and allows employers to reach out to a larger pool of candidates. During a virtual interview, employers can ask the same questions they would in a face-to-face interview, and the applicant can respond in real time.

Importance of virtual interviews in today's world

Virtual interviews have become an important part of the hiring process in today's world. They offer employers the ability to quickly and easily connect with potential candidates from anywhere in the world. 

They also provide employers with the opportunity to get an accurate assessment of a candidate's skills, qualifications, and knowledge base without the need to incur any extra travel costs. For example, there’s no need to arrange transportation for the interviewing manager from his current Work From Home location to the office Headquarters just for an interview. The candidates also save on travel costs. 

Additionally, virtual interviews can save employers time and money, as they don't require the same amount of in-person preparation or setup as traditional interviews do.

Advantages of interviewing virtually

In this section, we have listed some of the advantages of interviewing job candidates virtually.

Time and cost savings

Virtual interviews provide numerous cost and time-saving benefits. From reducing travel costs to eliminating the need to book a physical meeting space, virtual interviews can help save money and time while still providing an in-depth interview experience. Additionally, virtual interviews are much easier to schedule, allowing employers to quickly find the best candidate for the job.

Greater reach and accessibility

Virtual interviews are a great way to expand your talent search and increase the reach and accessibility of your company. By eliminating geographical barriers and allowing candidates to interview from anywhere, you can expand the talent pool to include qualified individuals from all over the country as well as the world. Furthermore, the convenience factor of virtual interviews can appeal to busy candidates and interviewers, making the recruitment process easier for everyone involved.

Enhanced candidate experience

Virtual interviews offer candidates the benefits of increased convenience, comfort and cost saving. The employers have the flexibility to conduct interviews as per their preferred schedule, allowing for greater time management and scheduling flexibility. Also, candidates get the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and abilities in a more relaxed and comfortable setting.

Types of virtual interviews

In this section, we will go over some of the popular types of virtual interviews.

  • Video interviews: Video interviews are a type of virtual interview that allows employers to connect with candidates over video conferencing platforms. In this format, employers can ask questions and observe the candidate's demeanour and responses.

  • Phone interviews: Phone interviews are a type of virtual interview that allows employers to ask candidates a set of pre-determined questions over the phone. This allows employers to get a better idea of the candidate’s experience and qualifications.

  • Chat Interviews: Chat interviews are a type of virtual interview that allow employers to communicate with candidates over an online message platform. This allows employers to ask questions and get instant feedback from the candidate in text format.

  • Automated Interviews: Automated interviews are a type of virtual interview that uses artificial intelligence to ask a series of questions to the candidate. This allows employers to quickly assess the candidate and make a decision on whether they are suitable for the role.

Preparing for virtual interviews

The following tips can come in handy while preparing for conducting virtual interviews.

  • Understand the technology: It is important to understand the technology that will be used for the virtual interview. This includes familiarising yourself with the platform, internet connection, audio and video settings, and any other technical requirements that may be needed.

  • Prepare the candidate: You must ensure that the candidate is adequately prepared for the virtual interview. This includes providing the candidate with information about the interview process, the platform that will be used, and any special instructions or tips.

  • Test the technology: It is important to test the audio and video settings beforehand to make sure that the interview can proceed without any technical issues. This also helps to ensure that the candidate can be heard and seen clearly.

  • Set the expectations: Before the virtual interview, ensure that the candidate is aware of the expectations. This includes providing the candidate with a clear timeline, any required materials, and any other relevant information.

  • Create an engaging atmosphere: To make the virtual interview more engaging, consider providing the candidate with visuals, such as slides or videos. This helps to keep the candidate engaged and makes the interview experience more memorable.

  • Use the right questions: You should prepare the right questions to ensure that the candidate is able to effectively communicate their skills and experiences. The questions should be tailored to the specific role and should allow the candidate to provide detailed answers.

Tips for conducting virtual interviews

Here are some tips for conducting a successful virtual interview. 

Establish rapport with candidates

Virtual interviews can be intimidating for candidates, so it’s important to create an environment where they feel comfortable and relaxed. Start the conversation by introducing yourself, explaining the role and the company, and asking the candidate about their background and experiences. Remember to be friendly and make sure to ask open-ended questions to get the candidate talking.

Ensure a comfortable and distraction-free environment

Before the interview starts, make sure the candidate is in a quiet, well-lit area with minimal background noise. It’s also important to make sure that the candidate has a good internet connection and a working webcam (for video interviews). Additionally, turn off any other applications or programs that might create distractions during the call.

Ask effective interview questions

When crafting questions for the virtual interview, it’s important to make sure they are relevant to the role and are phrased in a way that allows the candidate to provide more than a yes or no answer. Also, make sure to ask questions that will help you get a better understanding of the candidate’s qualifications and work style.

Assessing candidate skills and cultural fit

It is also important to assess how the candidate would fit in with the company's culture. Ask questions about the candidate's values and how they would handle certain workplace scenarios. You can also ask the candidate to discuss their experience working in a team environment and their ability to collaborate and communicate effectively. By assessing both the candidate's skills and cultural fit, you can ensure that you make the right hire.

Overcoming challenges while conducting virtual interviews

Here are some of the common challenges you may face while conducting a virtual interview. This section also highlights ways to overcome them. 

Technical difficulties

Virtual interviews can be challenging due to technical difficulties. Thus, It is important to take the time to familiarise yourself with the video conferencing software and make sure your device is properly set up and functioning correctly before the interview. If technical difficulties arise during the interview, it is important to stay calm and be prepared to troubleshoot.

Distractions and interruptions

Virtual interviews can be easily disrupted by unexpected distractions and interruptions. It is important to set up a quiet and private space for the interview and make sure that there are no distractions, such as loud noises, that could interrupt the interview. It is also important to be aware of your environment and be prepared to pause or postpone the interview by a few minutes if unexpected interruptions arise.

Difficulty in reading body language

Body language can be difficult to read in a virtual interview. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to your interviewer’s tone of voice, facial expressions, and other nonverbal cues that can help you understand their attitude and feelings. Additionally, it is important to practise good body language yourself, such as sitting up straight and making eye contact with the camera, in order to make a good impression.

Also, read: Employee Branding: Meaning, Strategies and Examples

Embrace virtual interviews

Virtual interviews can provide an efficient and effective way to quickly assess potential candidates from anywhere in the world. They also offer greater flexibility, allowing you to conduct interviews with multiple candidates without having to worry about travel logistics. Additionally, virtual interviews are time efficient, enabling you to review more candidates in less time. By taking advantage of this, you can increase your company’s talent pool rapidly and make it more diverse.

Frequently asked questions

In this section, we will go over some of the most frequently asked questions about virtual interviews.


What is a virtual interview?

A virtual interview is a job interview that is usually conducted over a video conferencing platform.

What are the benefits of online interviews?

Virtual interviews save time and money, allow for remote hiring, and provide a more flexible scheduling option.

How do virtual interviews save time and money for employers?

Employers save on travel costs and time as they do not have to arrange for in-person interviews. Virtual interviews also allow employers to conduct more interviews in a shorter time frame.

How do virtual interviews provide greater flexibility?

Virtual interviews can be scheduled at a time that is convenient for both the employer and the candidate, and can be conducted from anywhere with an internet connection.

How do virtual interviews widen the pool of applicants?

Virtual interviews allow employers to interview candidates from anywhere in the world, giving them access to a wider pool of applicants with diverse skill sets and backgrounds.

How do virtual interviews make the interview process more efficient?

Apart from the direct time and money-saving advantages, virtual interviews also allow employers to record and review interviews at a later time, reducing the need for multiple interviews and increasing the efficiency of the hiring process.

What are the potential drawbacks of virtual interviews?

Technical issues such as poor internet connection or malfunctioning equipment can pose challenges during virtual interviews. Additionally, virtual interviews can lack the personal touch of in-person interviews.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet and is subject to changes.


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