When a position has opened up within your business or company, you now must go through the processes of looking for that perfect replacement. But did you know that finding the right person for the job can ultimately come down to how you conduct the interview? Not everyone is as they seem in an interview. It’s your job to find the real person beneath that nervous exterior.
Below are some great tips on how to conduct a successful virtual staffing job interview.
Prepare your questions based on your requirements
As you’ve now reached the interview stage, you will have a good idea of how your potential new staff members meet your exact requirements. On paper, they seem like the real deal. However, you will now need to ascertain whether they fit the bill as the person they claim to be. At this point, you should be basing your questions largely around the job description your applicants will have read. Find out how exactly they meet your requirements.
For example, you asked for someone who could work on their own and as part of a team. So, your question should be: in the past, how have you worked well on your own, and as part of a team? Do you have examples?
If you also asked for someone who had experience leading a team, a good question would be: how did you know you were successful in leading a team?
By using the word ‘how’, it becomes an open-ended question which requires much explanation. You don’t want people to say they are something but not follow it up with proof. Your applicants need to back their statements up with past examples. The best virtual assistant is one who can confidently and accurately provide real life examples that show their skillset.
Make your applicant feel at ease
It can be difficult to break through the nervy exterior of a potential applicant. After all, this entire interview could help them become a virtual assistant, or it could not. It’s a nerve-wracking process. You can help your applicant feel at ease by providing them with a list of things prior to their interview that will help them in the process.
This could include:
- The topics going to be covered – this can reduce their stress levels if they know the exact questions and topics being covered in the interview. It can also help them prepare better.
- Providing them with the names of the people who are going to be interviewing them. This can help them become more familiar with your workplace.
- Informing them about the need to undertake an example task to show their skillset.
These simple things could help you see your applicant for the person they really are, not a nervous wreck with temporarily poor social skills.
Provide real life situations for the applicant to find solutions for
Anyone can lie on their resume. You could be a scientist, or a doctor or an astronaut. Anyone can be anything in written form. But as they say, the proof is in the pudding. In order to know whether your applicant is really up to the job, provide them with a task. This has become common practice in several industries. Within the food industry, chefs are often asked to prepare a meal. In journalism, applicants need to write a story. In graphic design, applicants are asked to create a flyer or a brochure. If you can’t do virtual administrative assistant tasks in the job interview, how can you do it in the actual job?
Actions speak louder than words.
Have no more than three staff members present
As the main interviewer, you need to make sure it’s not just you that likes a potential applicant. You alone should not determine whether a staff member is fit for a virtual staffing position within your company. This is why it’s important to have 1-2 other staff members present to help you make an informed decision. This could include your boss, and potentially someone that has to work with that person. It pays to include no more than two other people as this can not only overwhelm the applicant, but it can also take longer to come to a decision on who to choose.
Find out about the applicant
Finding out about the applicant is not only for your benefit, but for the applicant as well. There’s no better way to make an applicant feel at ease than by asking them to talk about themselves, their hobbies and their passions. This is an opportunity for them to talk about something other than a job. It’s also an opportunity for you to find out who they are in a social capacity. Do they enjoy sports? Do they like gardening or reading or movies? When a person talks about their passions, they are often able to break free of their professional restraints to become a very relatable person, just like you. This can help relieve the tension substantially.
Take your time
There’s no need to rush interviews, people know they take a while and expect it. Don’t feel under pressure to make it short and sweet. You need to ask the applicant as many questions as possible in order to find that one person who will fit into the dynamics of your workplace with ease. Many job interviews for virtual staffing positions take, on average, 90 minutes to two hours. This is plenty of time to ascertain whether someone is fit for the role or is not. You should also factor in more time if your applicant is to undertake a task during the interview. This in itself can add on an additional 30 minutes to one hour. You want them to feel as comfortable as possible in an unfamiliar environment, even if it is virtual.
Have you conducted a job interview for a virtual staffing position? How did you know an applicant was ‘the one’? We would love to hear your special tips and tricks for conducting the perfect job interview.