Search Committee Tips for the Virtual Interview

Be Prepared

It is important to consider the position you are recruiting for and discuss with the committee the interview components that would be the most useful to identify the highest qualified candidate. This will help determine the technology you select and how it will be professionally delivered.

  • Determine if a video-based interview is appropriate for the position. There are several options:

    • Phone only
    • On-demand Interview – A selected list of questions provided to candidates for them to discuss and submit as a pre-recorded interview by a deadline. (Candidates are not to be disadvantaged and each should have the same amount of time to prepare their recorded interview for submittal.)
    • One-on-one vs panel interview
      • Zoom/Skype or Microsoft Office Teams without camera.
      • Zoom/Skype or Microsoft Office Teams with camera.
  • If doing On-Demand Interviewing, Pre-recordings or Screening Assessments
    • Consistency across candidates is required.
    • Approval from Human Resource Management (HRM) for all assessments is required in advance for ADA purposes.
  • All committee members should be fully vested and participating in the process.

Space, Attire & Body Language

It is important for interviewers to follow the same expectations as they have of interview candidates. You are as much selling your job opening and the University to a candidate as they are selling their credentials in being the best candidate in your pool. Remember, non-verbal communication influences a decision by a 70% influence – so it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • Dress professionally – (avoid small patterns and choose clothing that does not blend into the background)
  • Choose a Professional Background
    • Avoid having a window behind you or at a location where natural light removes the picture quality of the camera.
    • Look behind you to determine if the background is appropriate, a plain wall works best.
  • Be Engaged & Remove Distractions
    • Have good posture. Being slouched in your sweats at home does not reflect that you value the position or the person’s time they are giving you.
    • Look directly into the camera.
    • Explain your home situation if distractions might be present.
    • Close e-mail, IM functions, and turn off second monitors during the interview.
    • Do not use personal devices during the interview.

Technology & Practice Run

  • Consider raising your monitor or laptop so the camera is at eye level.
  • Have the camera be approximately two feet away from you.
  • Ensure camera placement is appropriate for engagement.
  • Understand the technology you will be using and be sure to test it prior to the interview.
    • Password-protect the meeting
  • Depending upon the size of the search committee, and the length of the engagement, consider how to effectively use the technology selected for interviews:
    • Do you need a moderator/host providing introductions and managing waiting rooms and chats or follow-up questions if a large group
    • Handling mute options
    • Rules of engagement
  • Search committee members should mute their mics when not in use.
  • Recording Interviews
    • Contact HRM in advance if you are wanting to record an interview.
    • State Laws vary and require advance notification and disclosure to candidates.
    • Confidential Storage and File Share needs to be addressed. You do not want your video to end up going viral (i.e., YouTube).
    • Recordings are file records and must be retained for three years.

Interview Importance

  • Be Early. Nothing shows disengagement or lack of value in the position if the committee can’t be on time for the interview.
  • Treat each candidate the same throughout each state of the interview process. Be consistent – if not it could create or allow for bias to enter in the process.
    • If an external candidate is interviewed via Zoom, the internal candidate will interview through Zoom as well.
  • Video and audio can begin unexpectedly or continue when unnoticed – don’t have a “hot mic” moment.
  • Consider pushing out information (video of 30-60 seconds or less) early in the process about the organization and what you are looking for in a candidate – if it is more personal (versus overproduced) it is more likely to be watched and appreciated.
  • Send candidates selected for an interview best practices and tips after scheduling your virtual based interview. Provide a link or contact for help if there are technology issues.
  • Make sure the candidate knows if they are expected to be on camera and has time to prepare.
  • Keep candidates informed about the timing and process.
  • What happens if not all candidates selected for interview has access to technology to participate in a video interview setting?
    • In the event that a candidate was unable to arrange alternate options to participate in a video/virtual setting, it may be possible for the interview to be arranged via phone. The committee needs to consider alternate options to not create an adverse impact to the candidate as well as keeping the interview process as consistent and fair as possible. As a result, the committee may want to do initial interviews for all candidates via phone in this situation. If it is required to have a video interview versus a phone, consult HRM to determine if an alternate solution can be identified.
  • Address if the position you are interviewing for is remote based, reports to the work site or a combination of both.

Virtual Tour of Campus & Community

  • Provide candidates with a virtual tour of campus and a virtual tour of the Lawrence community


  • •Be flexible and empathetic with your candidates – as many individuals are at home with family and pets, it is important to be understanding if a pet or child interrupts the interview.
  • Be careful not to initiate conversations based upon information seen in the background of topics that may lead to inappropriate questions that could violate equal opportunity.
  • Not to judge candidates based upon their personal surroundings.
  • Consider a larger interview pool to ensure that we are taking the opportunity to have as broad as possible pool of applicants.

Be creative in recruiting, identifying talent, cultivate relationships, advertising to bring together diverse applicant pools. This is an opportunity!