How to Perfect Your Structured Virtual Interview Process

When it comes to hiring methods, interviews are notorious for being one of the least predictive measures of candidate competency. Researchers estimate that unstructured interviews explain as little as 14% of an employee’s performance. However, interviews have been an integral part of the hiring process for decades, and many hiring managers enjoy getting to know top candidates before extending one an offer.

So, how can you limit implicit biases while still giving managers the opportunity to connect with applicants face-to-face? Research has shown that structured interviews are the way to go. Either created in-house or outsourced, structured interviews are a set of predetermined questions that every candidate is asked, in the same order, the answers to which are evaluated on the same scale. The questions are often validated and are always relevant to the particular job a company is hiring for. All questions are designed to look for certain competencies, skills, or character traits that would make an individual a good fit for the position.

However, even structured interviews sometimes miss the mark when appraising candidates, especially during this new age of virtual interviews. Moving interviews to remote platforms like Zoom can create a host of other issues that can induce bias. Factors like lighting, internet connection, and backdrop are all factors that can play into virtual interview success. Furthermore, in the age of COVID-19, you’ll likely have to change up your interview questions to help you find candidates that will work well from home.

To make sure your company’s structured interview process succeeds when meeting candidates remotely, try to standardize the process whenever possible. Offer candidates a general Zoom background for their virtual interview, or request that they use a plain room with few decorations and noise distractions. Also, try adding some questions related to remote work to your structured list. Consider asking all candidates about their preferred work environment, history working from home, technical abilities, and communication style.

Successful companies like Google and Facebook rely on structured interviews to reduce bias and identify top candidates. Structured interviews encourage hiring managers to select applicants based on qualities that will predict their performance in prospective roles, not more subjective qualities like hobbies or beliefs. To ensure that virtual interviews uphold this structure, try to standardize virtual interview duration, platform, and setting to the best of your ability and try to factor in questions related to your candidates’ propensity for remote work. It’s no secret that structured interviews are integral to hiring success; make sure to preserve their integrity when transitioning them online.