Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 47 – Virtual Interview & Hybrid Hiring Tips 

Virtual Interviews & Hybrid Hiring Tips 

3rd May 2021,

Dear Leaders, 

Over the past couple of months, I have been working with a number of businesses that are in a good position to grow and invest in their staff and ramp up hiring again. 

I have been lucky to interview a number of great candidates virtually, it was something I experienced before I created Focus, as a c-suite candidate you have a large number of rounds of interviews, with numerous committees, the experience was long, complicated and challenging for both parties, especially with time zones. 

Although I have not perfected the art yet, here are a few ways you can improve virtual interviews and hybrid hiring to improve the experience for both you and your candidates. 

  1. Set out expectations of the interview and the layout before the interview, if it is going to be 60 minutes, it will be 60 minutes, a get to know each other section, a series of questions and a task etc. Allow the candidate to know the process and agreement in the room 
  2. An interview agenda can be a good way for lesser experienced interviewers (can work similarly to advise point 1)
  3. Let the candidate ask questions, even block out time for them to do so. It is an interview for both parties. I have observed coaching clients virtually not allow candidates to ask questions and takes more interviews and communications than in owning the interview experience   
  4. If the connection is bad or has a lag, call this out as quickly as possible. Offer to restart or turn off cameras for a while.  WiFi fails and poor connections are most often out of our hands
  5. Encourage the interviewee to have their preferred screen with their camera on top of it, eye contact and cues are essential in interviews and looking at one screen while you appear on another will be offputting
  6. If you are going to take notes, go on mute or use a notepad and pen, saves typing noises and it can appear you are on email or slack, call out if you are taking notes 
  7. Set a time for the meeting to start and a time for you and the interview panel to meet and discuss the flow of the meeting 
  8. Use software that enables waiting rooms, this sounds obvious however many companies do not enable this and someone is waiting starring at a browser screen with no context 
  9. If you are asking for presentations to be created, it is important to frame the presentation, the expectations, the timing, when the questions might be and how to handle the flow. Also, allow the candidate to use their software of choice, Google Slides, PowerPoint, Keynote, Canva etc are all options for them to showcase their skills 
  10. If you have returned to the office and working together but the candidate is remote, ensure you do not get feedback on the microphones and share signals to talk and who will operate going on mute, this can ultimately ruin the interview experience for the candidate  
  11. Take time at the start of the interview with getting to know each other questions, small talk is best to settle both sides down 
  12. If you reference something or talk about a project, a campaign or a site, use the chatbox (instant messenger) to enable the candidate to have context 
  13. Use headphones and a mic & use mute, the echo is offputting, the background noise can be reduced by using headphones and using mute 
  14. Always feedback, many interviewers especially senior interviewers do not provide feedback, provide feedback especially with virtual interviews as the feedback cycle and understanding cues can be harder to interrupt and understand 
  15. Go on do not disturb on mac or use Focus Assist on PC, there is nothing more frustrating than slack notifications, email noises and browsers pop ups ruining the interview flow 

Best of luck virtually interviewing, I know I enjoy interviewing new candidates but for others, it can be challenging and intimidating. 
If someone is quite new to interviewing help them layout questions and have a set of questions they want to ask before the interview.
We all have our own style but it is important to bring up those around you, a nervous interviewer can be very offputting.

On the other hand, if you are going to be interviewing for a new role yourself, here is the focus virtual interview guide

If you have any questions or tips you’d like to share, hit reply and I’ll happily come back to you.


Danny Denhard – Focus Founder

— Ever thought about improving professionally? I offer dedicated 1:2:1 coaching, coaching Marketing Directors to CEO’s. Get in touch.

PS The most popular post recently is 25 meeting recommendations definitely check them out. Also, I am expanding my one to one leadership coaching and mentoring services, hit reply for more specific information.