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5 Tips for Personalizing the Virtual Interview Process

Virtual recruitment practices come with numerous benefits, but candidates express that one of the most significant drawbacks is the process isn’t personable. They strongly dislike not being able to meet with a recruiter in person. 

According to our recent survey, more than 20% of respondents feel that the virtual recruitment process is not at all personable, and nearly 60% list not meeting with a recruiter in person as their least favorite part of the experience.

The virtual interview process doesn’t have to be so stale. There are many ways you can make the experience more personal:

Personalize your communication

Even before the interview itself, your communication throughout the virtual recruitment process is a great opportunity. From the time a candidate applies to your job until after you’ve made an offer, you should make every applicant feel like a priority. Do this by personalizing each piece of communication in the process:

“Thank you for applying!” As soon as a candidate applies, they should receive an automatic email from your applicant tracking system (ATS). But just because it’s automated doesn’t mean it can’t feel personal. Create a template that allows your system to customize the candidate’s name, the job title to which they applied, and maybe even the job description. Too often, the first automatic email is so vague that candidates applying to many jobs can’t tell which email is for which application. These small touches can make the email feel like they’re coming from a real person, instead of an ATS black hole.

“We’d like to interview you!” When you reach out to a candidate to set up a virtual interview, use this opportunity to demystify your company and the team. In addition to the interview details, provide the candidate with engaging videos or blog articles that pique their interest. Materials that showcase your company culture will make them feel like you already want them to be part of your team.

“Thank you for interviewing!” After a candidate’s virtual interview, send them an email that details the timeline of the rest of your process. This shows the candidate that you value their time. Make the experience more personal by demonstrating your respect for the candidate.

“We picked someone else!” As soon as you know you’re not going to hire an applicant, let them off the hook right away. Nothing is worse than waiting around to hear about a job for weeks or months with no communication at all. If the candidate doesn’t make it to the interview, let them off earlier with an email. If you do interview them, call the candidate to let them down over the phone. It’s more personal, and it gives them the chance to ask for feedback.

“We picked you!” This step is most likely the one in which you’re already pretty personable since you’re excited to make the offer. Make it even more personal by inviting the candidate back to a video chat, instead of a phone call. It’s always fun to give a job seeker good news face-to-face!

Be as welcoming as you would be in-person

When it comes to the virtual interview itself, remember all of the efforts you take to “wow” the candidate in person. Then, translate them into a virtual version. Remember that you want to impress the candidate, so they feel excited about joining your team.

To start, if you were in an office, would you kick off the interview with a tour? Offer to give them a virtual tour instead. You can get creative here. For example, ask your team members who aren’t on the panel to film themselves saying “hello” to the interviewee. If your team spends the whole day on a virtual chat, screen record a conversation about how excited you are to meet the candidate. Have fun with it!

In addition to a tour, you don’t usually jump right into your list of interview questions when you meet someone in person. More often, you might start with small talk about something topical or that you have in common. Don’t skip this step just because you’re on a video call. Make the candidate feel at ease before you dive into a virtual interview.

Be aware of your body language 

Body language is essential in any interview, but it becomes even more important in a virtual setting. The candidate can only see you from the chest up, so eye contact means everything. People can tell when you’re not engaged in a video call. It’s easy to see your eyes dart around the computer screen or away from the screen entirely. Stay focused on the interviewee as they’re speaking.

Everyone has been in a video meeting where they got distracted by an instant message or an email. Because we’ve all done it, we can usually guess when it happens to the person on the other end of the call. If you plan to take notes during the interview, let them know at the beginning, so they don’t think you’re multitasking. 

Provide them with feedback

Leaving candidates with a good feeling about their experience is an essential final step. Even if you don’t plan to hire a candidate right now, they may be the right fit for a job in the future. Personalize that final step by sharing some feedback with the candidates you interviewed but you didn’t hire.

You don’t need to spend a lot of time coaching them, but give each candidate some direction as to why they were not the most qualified person for the job. What skills did they not have? What experiences do they need? Give them something actionable that they can improve for next time. Go the extra mile to make each candidate feel like they gained something valuable from their virtual interview experience.


Find out what you can learn from these other reasons medical sales candidates are frustrated with your recruitment process! 

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