HR employee resources - Virtual interview best practices
This document provides search and screen committees as well as panels, advice, and guidance for best practices in conducting virtual interviews.
All UWL employees involved in the interview process should:
- Dress and act as they would for an on-campus interview – following UWL, UW System, WI state and federal policies and procedures
- Introduce themselves (name and role) at each new virtual interaction
- Ensure that you are participating from a professional area (at work or at home)
- Consider using a virtual background if you don’t what your physical surroundings to be visible or you want a more generic look. UWL backgrounds are available.
- Test your technology prior to the first event.
- Stay with the same platform throughout the interview (WebEx, Teams, Zoom)
- Keep your video on if you can do so. It is understandable that the technology and bandwidth may not allow for this.
- Be sure to make eye contact with the candidate, as you would if you were in-person. Also, make sure to use good posture, and smile and nod often to show you are fully engaged with the interview. Please make sure your camera, laptop or phone is positioned so the candidate can see you properly
- Ensure that all participants have muted their microphones when they are not speaking to reduce feedback and distractions during the interview.
- Have the candidate’s phone number readily available in case there are technology difficulties during the interview, and you need to communicate with the candidate by phone.
Search and Screen Committee Advice:
- As with on-campus interviews, create an itinerary with contact information and link information. Clearly communicate expectations and instructions. If there will be a general forum, please make sure the prompt and time limit is explicit.
- Let each candidate know if/when something will be recorded and let the candidate know how this recording will be used during the application process and our obligations under the Open Records Act to retain the recording for the duration of the applicable retention period.
- Ensure that all committee members know which question(s) they are asking so the interview flows as seamlessly as possible.
- Prior to the interviews, you should also decide who is initiating the conversation for the committee to start the interview (explaining how the interview will go, starting introductions of the committee, etc.).
- It is helpful to overcommunicate with the candidates. When everyone is remote, they may not feel as connected to the role or UWL when they cannot come in person. Make sure they are aware of the interview process and hiring timeline, especially as things have slowed down.
- Even though it is virtual, please make sure to build in 5-10-minute breaks between events.
- Think about spreading out events over two days rather than one long day if that would be helpful.
- Schedule in time for eating for the committee and the candidate.
- Traditionally, meals are a time for more casual interaction – build in similar types of interactions with a smaller group of the Search and Screen committee a couple of different times.
- Follow open meetings guidelines linked at the top of the page.
- A UWL employee (preferably a Search and Screen member) should monitor the session and the chat and be the person who conveys questions to the candidate. This allows the candidate to focus on the questions and answers rather than the technology.
- Taping of interviews/open forums
- If components of the online interview are taped
- The same component(s) of the interview must be taped for all finalists
- The recording must be archived and kept the length of other Search and Screen materials (~ 7 years).
- HR will require a copy of the recording as part of the recruitment closing. This can be a link to the video stored in the streaming video site, or on a thumb drive, etc.
- Be sure to conclude the recording once the formal meeting has ended.
Prior to the interview
- Ask the candidate if there are any topics not addressed in the job announcement that they would like to discuss with someone (work or community questions). Tell them you are happy to arrange a virtual meeting with someone and it can be a person outside of the committee or the hiring unit.
- For faculty positions, you may want to offer options such as contacts with CATL or ORSP.
- How to convey UWL to the candidate(s)?
- Think about sending a UWL branded small item to each finalist prior to their interview (e.g., a branded notebook from the bookstore).
- This falls under the Gifts, Prizes, & Awards Policy that allows the gift of minimal value (recommended to have the university's logo) to convey a gesture of goodwill/appreciation. Using Fund 233 is preferred. GPR funds cannot be used.
Send each candidate the following links:
- Virtual tour of UWL (designed for Admissions) - https://www.uwlax.edu/admissions/explore/visit-us/#
- click the gray “X” is the upper right corner of the inquiry form and that will allow you to proceed directly to the virtual tour.
- YouTube Video Tour of the exterior of campus -
- Benefits at a glance - https://www.uwlax.edu/human-resources/common-requests/benefits/benefits-employee-wellness-and-work-life/
- Employee Well-Being Resources - https://www.uwlax.edu/info/well-being/
- The university cannot endorse a realtor – but you can ask if they would like the names of some and you can provide names.
- Regional information - https://explorelacrosse.com/
Resources used in creating this document: