MB Connection

Conducting a Successful Virtual Panel Interview: Tips for Search Committees

For many of us, stay at home orders have meant adjusting overnight to remote working and virtual meetings.  While we may feel like Zoom Masters by now, virtual interviewing can pose new challenges, particularly when interviewing as a group.  Despite some areas beginning to lift restrictions, the reality of bringing a group of people together in a room to meet with candidates is still unlikely to happen soon.  In the meantime, here are some tips to ensure your panel interviews run smoothly.

  • Password protect the meeting and only share with invited participants so there are no surprise visitors.
  • Allot time prior to the start of the interview to prepare and time following to debrief; and if you have back-to-back interviews scheduled, leave ample time in between for breaks or in case you run over your allotted time.
  • Have the candidate stay in the “waiting room” until you are all ready to begin.  If there is a delay, call the candidate or send a text message to let them know you are running late.
  • Designate a host of the meeting to greet the candidate, facilitate the conversation and act as timekeeper.
  • Exchange cell phone numbers with the candidate in advance to ensure that you can contact one another in the event there are glitches connecting via video.
  • Prepare questions in advance; confirm who will ask which one and in what order.
  • Assign one person to take more detailed notes to ensure that other members of the group can make eye contact with the candidate; it can be difficult to read body language over video – looking up and smiling makes a difference!
  • Be forgiving of candidates and yourselves if the unexpected happens (i.e. dogs barking, children in the background or technology problems).  These are challenging and unprecedented circumstances and we are all learning as we go!