Know how to best conduct a video interview? One of SweetRush’s top recruiters shares her experience and advice for conducting a successful virtual interview—including job interview questions and other interview tips.
Have you ever experienced an interview process that makes you want to sign a contract and join the company immediately? On the contrary, have you interviewed with a company and left never wanting to hear from them again in your life? We’ve all had positive and negative experiences when it comes to job interviews.
This becomes a particular challenge when conducting a virtual interview. But as organizations shift toward supporting virtual teams and remote workers, the need to develop remote interview skills is becoming vital. As a virtual company, SweetRush is all about creating a positive experience—ensuring that every interview is enjoyable for everyone involved! I hope these tips help you to develop a remote interview process that is as fun and successful as ours.
Simulating Face-to-Face at a Virtual Company
I’ve been a recruiter for nearly 10 years now, and although I enjoy the entire process of my work with candidates, one of the most exciting steps for me is actually meeting a candidate. Every interview process is a whole different experience! After a few email exchanges, if it feels like a good mutual fit, I finally have the opportunity to get “in front” of (at least virtually) the potential new hires for the role I’ve been working so hard to fill.
In the past, I’d interview people in person, but a number of years ago I shifted from an onsite position to a remote role with SweetRush. When I started at SweetRush, I said to myself, “How am I going to have these ‘final’ and ‘decisive’ interviews via a video call? It won’t be the same as having the candidates in front of you.” Getting to know SweetRush’s culture and core values did help me get a better sense of how I wanted to share the information with everyone I spoke with. But what really hit me was a message shared by Arturo Schwartzberg, our Chairman and Cofounder, on interviewing “SweetRush style.” (You can find a few of his main points from that communication later in this article in bold.) And immediately after reading his message, I realized I was more than ready for it!
So what happened when I began interviewing remotely? How was I able to interview candidates by applying the SweetRush style?
The Shifting Landscape of Virtual Work
Let’s start with the highlights of managing the remote interview process. Today, more and more people are seeking to change their work mode from on-site to remote, taking advantage of all the benefits it can offer them (no commute, flexibility, proximity to family, etc.). Emerging technologies have a great deal to do with this increasingly common trend. These apps and tools—including Skype® and Google Hangouts™—make us feel more connected than ever and, even more importantly, they make communication far more personal by allowing us to see each other’s faces and expressions during a conversation.
The convenience of conducting an interview from almost anywhere is undeniable for interviewers and candidates alike. Interviewees definitely need to be discreet—especially when they don’t know if the company is a good fit or if they’ll be offered the job in the end. Bottom line: There’s more flexibility and availability during the whole process, which makes everything run much smoother.
Now, let’s get to the good stuff: interviewing “SweetRush style.” How do we ensure that every video interview is an engaging, fun, and always-respectful encounter?
How We Approach the Virtual Interview
We are equals. This means acknowledging that both the candidate and I as the recruiter are on the same level. Being the interviewer doesn’t give you a special power; rather, it gives you the opportunity to be a kind and helpful guide through the conversation. Understanding this really is a change in mindset. We’ve all been on the other side of the seat, and no matter what the final outcome might be, we want everyone to end the remote interview feeling respected.
It’s a conversation. We like to have an actual conversation instead of asking a list of common interview questions in a formal setting. You might be wondering, “What’s the difference?” The reality is that one really stands out from the other. Being able to break the ice and make someone feel comfortable when conducting a virtual interview is always a must. But when you can reach a point where you have a fluid, enjoyable, and engaging exchange of ideas while gathering relevant information, you know you’ve nailed it. For us it’s not about what you asked; it’s about how you asked.
Make it human. We genuinely care about every single person we talk to. Taking the time to read their résumés, pore over their professional and portfolio sites, look into the little details, find out more about the person outside of their work experience—these are all things we enjoy doing. It also lets us break the formal interview structure by exchanging points of view and getting to know the person on a different level.
Find the sweet spot. For almost every single work interview, of course we have to ask the candidate, “Why are you a good fit for SweetRush and this role?” And, yes, nearly every time the candidate is prepared with a clear answer to that query. But we also like to ask the other way: “Why are we a good fit for you?” This is a question that perhaps candidates haven’t even asked themselves. It’s an eye-opener for both parties. In the end, it’s not only about our success; we want you to be happy and excited about joining SweetRush and for this to be the best job—for you the individual—you’ve ever had. (And if you are perfect for us, and we are perfect for you, then indeed we have found the “sweet spot” and our mutual success is likely to follow.)
We’d Love to Hear from You
Interviewing for a job can be stressful and nerve-racking. Having to join a video call can make things worse! We understand that. But we also understand the value of a good conversation with talented and creative people from all over the world. We love to hear about your work, your ideas, and your objectives. We love when we find that sweet spot, and if it’s not the right fit at this moment for whatever reason, we hope the candidate feels respected and ideally has grown through the process—and we sincerely wish each of them well.
And guess what? After these many years at SweetRush and being immersed in our culture, interviewing “SweetRush style” feels perfectly natural!
Melissa Chacon is a talent sourcer at SweetRush, working in the Talent Solutions team. If you are interested in open positions at SweetRush, please visit our Join Us page!