Gartner Research

Managing a Virtual Interview Process

Published: 08 April 2020


Recruiting functions throughout organizations face the challenge to modify recruitment processes to adapt to the changing external environment. This resource will help HR professionals help hiring managers and candidates adapt to the virtual interviewing process.

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The need for technology that aids virtual working is becoming even more important as organizations are transitioning to virtual operations or being required to do so due to external factors, such as a global pandemic. Recruiting functions are not insulated from being affected by these changes; hence these functions must ensure they make the best use of available technology to continue to operate smoothly. The disruptive nature of these changes has pushed recruiters to make quick decisions and find ways to help interviewers and candidates sail smoothly through the recruiting process.

Recruiters were already using video interviews for remotely located candidates; however, this now needs to be the norm for all candidates, given the current changes in the environment. For example, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon canceled most in-person interviews and set up virtual interview portals for candidates to connect with recruiters, complete necessary documents and take part in interviews via Amazon Chime, the company’s videoconferencing software. Google informed its candidates that interviews were to be conducted in Google Hangouts or using videoconferencing service BlueJeans.

Our research indicates about half of recruiting functions have already adopted video interviewing, and a similar proportion see the importance of video interviewing continuing to increase in the next two years.

Here are a few things that recruiters can do to ensure a smooth video interview experience for candidates and hiring managers.

Provide context to interviewers and candidates about the need for a virtual interview as well as what is expected of the interview. Ensure they are prepared for any issues that could disrupt the interview and that they should inform the other person if the video freezes or they have an unexpected interruption. Provide solutions or backup options, such as sharing an alternate phone number in case of call failure or providing a list of responses in case of disruptions such as background noise.

Ensure candidates and interviewers have the necessary information required to have a successful virtual interview experience. Recruiters must have separate communications with the interviewers and candidates.

Share the must-haves for a virtual interview, such as good network connectivity, good camera quality, steps to join the call, alternative numbers or the need for headphones. For candidates who don’t have the technology access for a video call, recommend using their phone for an audio call or platforms such as WhatsApp or Skype for video calls. This might also include candidates who have never participated in a virtual interview. Talk to them before scheduling an interview and ensure they are comfortable with the idea of a virtual interview. Share tips on how to present themselves in the best manner.

Ensure candidates who are participating in a video interview know the appropriate attire and the physical setting they must take the interview in.

Share virtual interviewing tips with interviewers to ensure they help candidates feel confident and comfortable before starting the interview. Coach them on how to set expectations at the beginning of the call to ensure both parties are comfortable with sharing any technical or nontechnical issues they face during the call.

Provide them with assessment sheets or a link to the platform where they can input their feedback and timelines within which they need to share their feedback with the recruiter. Prompt them to expect technical difficulties and be sure to focus on the candidate’s responses rather than any technical issues that arise, which could bias their assessment of the candidate.

Ensure candidates and interviewers are comfortable with using the video/audio platform and have a point of contact in case they face technical issues. Share a troubleshooting guide (prepared with IT’s help) with candidates and interviewers. In case you are planning to use a public platform for interviews, ensure the required information, such as the account name, has been shared. Facilitating dry runs with candidates and hiring managers can help acclimate them to the technology and preempt any technical issues.

Collect feedback on the virtual interview experience after the interview is complete to make the required changes and improve the quality of virtual interviews for subsequent candidates.

Ensure that virtual interviews are not a challenge for candidates with disabilities and that they have the necessary information, means and training to be a part of a virtual interview. Choose an alternative method if these candidates are not comfortable with a virtual interview. Also, make sure, even if this will be a virtual interview, you have a diverse group of panelists/interviewers to mitigate potential biases.

2019 Gartner Recruiting Innovations Survey; n = 134 recruiting leaders

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HR Practitioner Research Team

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