The concept of working remotely has been around for the past decade. The ability to have the most talented workers across time zones and locations has drawn companies to expand their horizons. With the proven success of a remote workforce, more corporations have begun to visit this idea of the virtual workplace.

In these unprecedented times, virtual hiring has become an important step in helping businesses stay ahead of the changes. COVID-19, or coronavirus, presents many challenges. But with challenges, come opportunities. Many corporations who have held their stance on having their teams remain in-office have now realized the advantages of having a remote team in this volatile business economy. For some, this is uncharted territory, with no knowledge of how to effectively manage, let alone hire, team members through virtual channels.

When it comes to hiring, in-person interviews are one of the best ways to get to know a candidate more thoroughly. Social distancing has created a roadblock for this recruitment strategy, causing people to move away from in-person interactions. Video interviewing is a great alternative that gives both parties the ability to have a conversation, see the person they are talking to, and decide whether they might be a match for the company’s team. Read on to discover some best tips for getting to know your candidates virtually, while keeping human interaction as a key part of the hiring process.

Equipment Is Key
Proper equipment is essential to ensure the virtual experience is as seamless as it can be. Using a webcam for interviewing is a must.

“In-person meetings can be replaced with video conferences. One of the best ways to ensure the success of a virtual interview is to prepare accordingly,” Alexandra Clarke, ForceBrands‘ Vice President of Recruiting, said. “Test the technology well in advance and make sure that the connection produces high-quality audio and visual.”

When hiring virtually, you miss a person’s facial expressions and professional appearance when on the phone. Virtual interviews still give hiring managers a glimpse into how polished and professional a candidate may be. Candidates should not appear more relaxed just because they are interviewing from their home. If they don’t put their best foot forward during the interview process, then when will they?

Change Up Your Strategy
In-person interviews are an insightful way of getting to know a person in a limited window of time. For example, a strong handshake may mean more to you than how the person is dressed. Making eye contact, showing up early, bringing extra copies of their résumé; these are all things you may have used as an employer to help you determine quality candidates in your initial screening process. While virtual interviewing may not give you all the insights you are familiar with, it allows you to see the person, hear the person, and get to know them in a more personal way.

Changing up your strategy when interviewing virtually doesn’t have to be challenging. Ask additional questions that give you insight into the candidate’s character. Because you can’t see if they show up early, look for consistency instead. Conduct more than one video interview in the same week and observe whether their appearance, timeliness, and preparedness are consistent in both appointments. If you’re looking for resourcefulness, time management skills, and communication abilities, assign candidates a research exercise prior to the interview and ask them to report their findings on screen. Brainstorm with your team to determine creative alternatives to find the answers you seek.

Define Your Expectations
What do you hope to discover about a candidate during an in-person meeting? What will make a candidate stand out to you during a video interview? Ideally, across all industries, candidates should be self-motivated and self-disciplined. They should be effective communicators and be results-oriented, resourceful, and technologically savvy.

Social media is a powerful tool hiring managers can use to help paint a more complete picture of who the candidate is. Harvard Business Review suggests researching public social media channels to help assess the candidate’s potential cultural fit within the organization. Social media offers a small glimpse into their life so you have a better idea as to who you are interviewing and you come just as prepared as they hopefully will.

Virtual teams have expanded growth opportunities for many successful businesses, including Twitter, Facebook, and Netflix. Human interaction can still exist in a virtual world. Now, more than ever, the ability to work remotely is viewed as an advantage throughout the world. For many companies, it’s possible to create a professional, productive, and efficient remote work environment no matter where their employees are located. Allow your company to thrive in this time by promoting work across all channels. Interested in ensuring your team stays connected? Explore how remote employees can stay connected to the company’s culture here.

For more tips on how to prepare for virtual interviews and gain insight from a candidate’s perspective, read here.