Insights & Ideas

Virtual job interviews: Even better than the real thing

man on laptop

Conducting an online job interview? Here’s how to get it right.

One of the workplace’s most praised rituals—the in-person job interview—is in decline. Although making candidates don their best attire and come into your office is a long-standing tradition, when organizations try virtual job interviews, they’re often surprised at how easy and effective they are.

Online interviews are convenient for organizations and candidates alike

With the advent of easy and affordable video conferencing technology, virtual interviews provide most of the benefits of in-person interviews with less complexity.

Virtual interviews are:

  • Easy to setup: Coordinating times is easier when participants can take calls from any location or time zone.
  • Sharable and comparable: Virtual meetings can be recorded, transcribed, shared, and compared easily—increasing opportunities for team involvement and fairness in hiring decisions.
  • Less stressful for the candidates: Applicants can do the interview from a familiar environment without worrying about transportation issues and other logistics—allowing them to focus on the interview itself.
  • Attractive to passive candidates: Passive candidates—who may not have space for the in-person interview rigamarole—are more likely to say “yes” to the more convenient online interview.
  • Cost-effective: Bringing out-of-town candidates to your office (when you can do that again) is expensive. Virtual interviews make it unnecessary.

Tips for making virtual interviews successful

Conducting an online interview is pretty similar to conducting an in-person interview, with a few slight adjustments. Check out the following tips to help your virtual interview go smoothly.

Before the interview:

  • Don’t skimp on preparation: Just because this interview is online doesn’t mean you can wing it. Create an interview plan, review the candidate’s qualifications in advance, etc.
  • Let the candidate know what to expect: Give the candidate information they need to be successful during the interview—from how to download/use the meeting software to how the interview process will work.
  • Test the tech: Set up the technology in advance and then test it again before the interview. Make sure you know how to use all the features and functions.
  • Plan for glitches: We’ve all been in the situation when the technology goes on the fritz right in the middle of an important meeting. Avoid wasted time and panic, by having a backup plan (like a non-video conference line) in place and share that plan with the candidate.

During the interview:

  • Minimize the number of interviewers: Having a large panel of interviewers can get chaotic on a screen. Limit the number of people who talk to the candidate (even if others are listening).
  • Stay focused: Just because you’re not in the room with the candidate doesn’t mean you can multitask or allow interruptions. Be sure to be in a quiet professional environment.
  • Try to keep eye contact: Candidates can’t tell what you’re doing if you’re looking down at your notes or looking at another person in the room. Put reference materials (i.e., resumes, notes, interview questions) near to the camera, so you look at them without breaking eye contact for too long.
  • Give the candidate extra time to respond: Online lag times can sometimes make it seem like the candidate is taking longer than normal to respond. Be sure to allow for lag time before asking a follow-up question.
  • Tell the candidate what’s next: At the end of the call, make sure the candidate is clear on what to expect going forward and how you will communicate with them (e.g., email, text, phone call, video chat) in the future.

The future (of interviewing) is now

Both the pandemic and the global economy have really propelled many organizations to try tradition-busting processes for the first time. Not all of these tactics have worked, but virtual interviews might be here to stay.

At Salo, we match consultants in finance, accounting, and HR with the organizations that need their expertise. That means we facilitate hundreds of job interviews each year. Let us know if we can help your organization with its next challenge.

Korn Ferry logo

Salo is now part of Korn Ferry

Salo connects senior finance, accounting, and HR professionals with organizations that need their expertise. Joining Korn Ferry’s Interim Executive & Professional practice enables us to continue our twofold, people-focused approach: connecting people with meaningful careers where they can make a positive impact and offering innovative and customized business solutions for clients looking to tackle big challenges. Together with Korn Ferry, we are committed to putting people first, to build a world that works better together.

Learn more at

Explore meaningful careers

Salo specializes in connecting finance, accounting, and HR experts with meaningful work. We know that being empowered to pursue work that matters means endless career possibilities. Therefore, we find roles tailored to your interests and goals, whether you want to advance your career, mentor and lead teams, innovate and collaborate with new partners, or work with clients of all sizes across industries. Find out how we can be your career partners.

Looking for a meaningful career? Learn more here.

Solve business needs

Combining Korn Ferry’s global reach with Salo’s customized client approach means we’re able to deliver world-class service to organizations of all sizes and in all industries. Because our people have functional backgrounds in finance, accounting, and HR, we have a holistic understanding of your business needs and challenges. Our pool of executive and professional talent is uniquely motivated to do the best work they can. No matter your business talent need, we are your trusted partner.

Looking for interim talent? Learn more here.