Unit Guide for Virtual Interviews for Faculty, Executive Leaders, and Director Level Positions

An individual uses a laptop and cell phone

Conducting a Virtual Interview

  • Interviews may be conducted via Skype, Zoom, MS Teams, or Phone
    • If using Zoom, consider having candidates “wait” in a waiting room until search committee is all present and ready.
    • Committees may want to discuss the utilization of the camera feature options.  For example, instead of a two-way visual, the candidate could be asked to keep the camera turned off so the committee would not be able to see the candidate (similar to a phone interview) to possibly reduce unconscious bias.
  • Determine that time frame for the initial interview and agree upon the number of questions that should be asked that would be appropriate for the given time period.
    • For a first interview, it is suggested to identify up to 10 questions for a 45-minute period.  The timeframe can be adjusted if the number of questions are either reduced or expanded,
    • In the event that there will only be one interview, identifying a 60 to 90-minute period may be appropriate depending upon the position that is being filled,
  • Create interview questions meeting equal opportunity policy guidelines.
    • Behavioral based interview questions are encouraged.
    • Explore the KU HR Interview Question Builder for sample interview questions to share and discuss with the committee.
    • Email finalized questions to search committee after input is acquired.
    • Decide how the questions are going to be asked if interview will be conducted in a format other than On-Demand.  (i.e., each search committee member assigned specific questions, have one person asks all the questions, etc.)
    • On-Demand interviewing provides the candidates the questions in advance with instructions of how to record and submit responses by a deadline. 
      • Candidates must have the same length of time to review and respond to the questions identified.
    • If conducting a virtual interview, decide if you will email questions to candidates prior to the scheduled interview. 
      • Be sure to give each candidate the same amount of time to review the questions if search committee decides to follow this format.
  • Collect search committee feedback to determine finalists.
    • Meet to discuss all applicants via Skype, Zoom or MS Teams.
    • Develop a Qualtrics survey or other feedback tool to be delivered immediately following the interview.
      • Committee chair may want to schedule a meeting with the full committee to discuss feedback received prior to selecting candidates invited to a second interview.

Virtual interviewing often reduces interview fatigue through gained efficiencies and accomplishes second-round interviews with the search committee, campus partners, affinity groups, etc.

  • Break meetings into 30-minute or one-hour increments to make the all-day event more manageable.
    • Provide the candidate an itinerary for the all-day event and how it will be spent (i.e., introductions, description of interest, questions to the candidate and time for candidate to ask questions of the group).
  • Have 15-minute breaks between meetings to allow time for candidate to refresh for next round.
  • A lunch break may or may not be possible depending upon the committee agenda.  If an extended lunch break is not possible, be sure to build in several break sessions for the candidate to be off camera to reduce Zoom fatigue.
  • Have someone meet each candidate as the “Host” for that session/interview. 
    • 1 or 2 people may act as host.
    • The Host would give the candidate, prior to the start of the meeting, an overview of the meeting and a warm transition to the meeting participants.
  • It is recommended that the host(s) should be search committee members.
  • Based upon the resources available and the level of position recruiting for a search committee may want to offer the candidates a practice session prior to the interview (generally not earlier than one week in advance) to familiarize themselves with the functionality of the product being used.
  • Instruct candidates to log-in early to the event (10 minutes prior to each meeting start time) to ensure connectivity.  Inform them that they will be greeted by a host and given an overview for that particular session/interview.  Also provide the candidate with a contact point that they can reach out to if connectivity issues are present.  If connectivity issues are unable to be resolved timely, the committee should identify an alternate time and reschedule the interview.
  • Have at least one host and the candidate stay on Zoom after the session has finished (and everyone else has exited the session).
    • This will help make sure candidate is doing okay and to answer any questions or concerns prior to their next meeting.
    • If the last meeting of the day, it will allow the host to thank the candidate and go over next steps.
    • If host is unable to attend the entire session, be sure to hand off this end of session process to another member of the interview/search committee team.
  • Have other meeting participants/search committee members held in the waiting room until the interview starts so the host can give the candidate the interview process for that meeting.
  • Example of Day of Virtual Interviewing as opposed to On-Campus Day of Interviewing:
    • 30 minutes with VP/Dean/Administrative Office
    • 30 minutes with academic partners
    • 30 minutes with campus partners
    • One hour with department
    • One hour with combined search committee members/leadership
    • 30-60 minutes with affinity group discussions.
    • 30 minutes with International Programs (if applicable)
    • 15-30 minutes with Human Resources (if desired) to discuss Total Rewards and benefits of the position.
    • 30 minutes with the VP for Faculty Development (if position is tenured)

It is not recommended that the interview be recorded.  Committee members should make every effort to be present for all interview activities so that they can be engaged in the conversation and ask appropriate follow-up questions as needed. If recording is necessary, reach out to HR for guidance. Each state has unique recording laws, in which applicant consent must be acquired. All recordings are also required to be included with search documents and retained for a period of three years on a secured drive prior to destruction.

You can ask candidates to pre-record a presentation or conduct a live on-line seminar/presentation. A recording will allow the search committee to mitigate any technology/bandwidth issues that may occur and can help reduce the amount of time they are on Zoom during the day.

  • If pre-recorded, all candidates should be given the same deadline to send in their presentations.
  • Length of time should be determined based upon the type of position. Faculty presentations may require 45 minutes, however other positions may require less.
  • Recordings may provide greater flexibility for other campus partners to view the presentation, however the committee needs to determine if a recording or a presentation in real time is most beneficial for the search.
    • Ask candidates to record in a specific format, (i.e. PowerPoint or something similar)
      • Be sure to provide instructions on how to record the presentation.
      • If you have them use PowerPoint, this has the capability of a slide show with narration.
      • Try to be as fair and equitable as possible with the format.
      • Candidates will all have different comfort levels using technology and access to resources and equipment may vary greatly.
      • If using PowerPoint, it will allow candidates to record in small iterations, which makes it much easier to re-record segments if needed.
    • If the candidate does not have technology to complete the presentation portion of the interview or needs an accommodation, contact HR for assistance.
  • Provide instructions to the candidate with details about the structure of a live event, and if a recording is requested, where and how a file should be submitted.
    • If the file is larger than 50mb, candidate may need to “zip” the file.
    • Give the candidate the cloud-based format to send the file as.
  • If the presentation is live, establish the event in a password protected environment. Communicate with campus participants access information to the event, providing a summary of the logistics of the presentation (Introduction, Presentation and how and when Questions may be conducted). Work to identify closed captioning services for accessibility purposes. Please allow for at least one week to procuring such services prior to the event.
  • For recorded presentations, create a special web page that is protected for the campus community under SSO (Single Sign On) to access the presentation.
    • Have the individual that received the presentation load to this specific site.
      • Visit with IT to be sure that the video is embedded with the appropriate form on the webpage for the presentation.
      • Have the presentation dubbed with closed captioning for easy access by everyone.
      • Check closed captioning for any typos and correct.
      • Be sure you can view the presentation on any browser.
    • Be sure that the webinars can be downloaded.
      • For presentations to be downloaded, a different format may need to be used. KU IT can assist with this process to be sure all campus partners can access the information.
  • Advertise the presentation information with emails to campus partners prior to each candidate’s Q&A, along with web page and Q&A registration link.

If the department is going to invite campus partners to the presentations of finalists via Zoom, setting up a website on the department’s webpage under SSO is encouraged, although not required. The webpage creates an easily accessible location for all search committee members and campus partners to access information about each candidate and the search process.  

  • Decide when each candidate’s info should be posted to the website. 
    • One or two business days in advance of the presentation is recommended.
    • You can also preschedule on the website when to publish if needed.
  • The webpage should include the candidate’s prerecorded presentations (if relevant), resumes/CVs, and bios. It may also include information about the position, search process and campus participation steps.
    • Notify the candidate as to what will be posted online and when. Be as transparent as possible about the announcement. For Faculty tenure/tenure track positions a unit should determine if a website is the appropriate format or if they prefer to use a web address behind single sign-on, Microsoft Teams or SharePoint for candidate confidentiality purposes.
    • Contact HR to verify what information from the resume/CV can be posted (please note that all personal attributes such as personal email, address, and phone number will be removed to protect candidate privacy).
  • Notify campus partners with an email notification about the candidate’s presentation.
    • Include the times for the Q&A sessions, information as to when a campus feedback survey will be active and the deadline for response.
  • Be sure to remove all candidate information from the website when finished with the search or the feedback surveys have been collected.
    • This prevents a google search to find old information about candidate’s interview process.
  • Zoom Sessions should be around 45 minutes.
    • Time is needed for introductions and housekeeping items, so be sure to allow plenty of time for all the questions that campus partners want to ask.
      • Provide a landing page that can be shared on screen outlining the ground rules/instructions on how ground rules/instructions of how questions should be submitted, mute, mics, camera options, etc. A common protocol is helpful. See resources below for an example.
  • Hosts are needed during the Q&A session for optimal Zoom process. Here are some recommendations for how hosts can be utilized during the Q&A process.
    • 2-3 total hosts. It is advisable if you can outline a script for the hosts to follow in advance, so roles are defined, and the event goes smoothly.
      • One to manage the waiting room.
      • One to do the welcome and handle any housekeeping items (format to initiate questions).
      • One to read the candidates’ bios.
    • Hosts should alternate calling on people or reading submitted questions.
    • All hosts should be ready and prepared to step in should one person have technology issues.
  • Utilize the registration with automatic approval feature in Zoom.
    • Helps protect the meeting from potential Zoom bombing.
  • Utilize a waiting room
    • Allows hosts to greet candidates.
    • Allows candidate to arrive early.
    • Allows hosts to give access to participants and let anyone arriving late to enter.
  • Select Speaker View
  • Be sure the “raise hand” feature is on
    • Have host give participants instructions in the beginning on how to find and use the function.
    • Host will need to monitor the feature to address questions being asked or to assist with technology issues.
    • This allows participants to have the host ask their question.
    • This feature allows participants at the end of the presentation to also show their appreciation to the candidate by using the “applause” or “thumbs-up” button. Be sure to let the participants know about the feature when instructions are given.
  • Features that should be disabled:
    • Chat for everyone – participants can only chat with hosts. This allows the candidate to focus on answering the questions and to not have to monitor the questions coming in via chat.
    • Cameras and microphones should be disabled on entry. Host can share instructions with participants to have the option to turn their cameras on when asking questions, but should not be required.
  • Announce the Q&A session to campus partners/participants.
    • Send an email to campus partners and include administrative notes about Zoom usage and then brief participants at the beginning of the presentation.
    • Include information on the website with the candidate’s information on how to receive the registration link.
      • KU strongly recommends that the Zoom link NOT be listed on the website to be sure complete security is being utilized and to prevent Zoom bombing.
    • Include in the email to campus partners, the candidates’ bios.  Be sure to also include the candidates’ bios on the website and to read the bio as part of candidate introduction.
    • Be sure to add in your campus partner outreach any accommodation requests.  Knowing this a week or more in advance is helpful to ensure that accessibility can be captured for all participants.
  • Create a survey for the presentation that all participants can submit. KU offers Qualtrics as a survey tool.
    • It is advised to create a survey for each candidate – utilizing the same questions and ranking scales. Comments should be a section made available on the survey tool. This method is preferable over one survey per search and can give the search committee more information and feedback for each candidate.
    • House the survey for participants to fill out on the website created for the application information or send out survey to participants via email.
  • Establish and announce when surveys must be submitted by participants for the search committee to consider.

Additional Resources for Search Committees

In addition to the helpful tips above in how to administer a virtual interview, we recommend that search committee members take the following trainings:

For questions or more information, please contact hrrecruiting@ku.edu to speak with the Talent Acquisition Team

 

For substituting the on-campus experience, we would recommend emailing the candidates some general information about the University of Kansas and the community. Please note the sample example below:

Sample Letter:

There are several Faculty and Staff Councils that may be of interest to you. Please coordinate with your interview host if you would like to meet with any of the councils during your interview. For a quick glimpse into the vibrance of the KU research community, visit Red Hot Research at The Commons.

The University of Kansas has a rich history located in a vibrant community providing its employees with a competitive Benefits/Total Rewards package. Several of the links below are available to give you a glimpse as to why becoming a Jayhawk is truly special.

Information on Lawrence, KS

We look forward to discussing our position opening with you.

Sincerely,

<Insert Name of Search Committee Chair or Designated Representative>

For more information or to request a PDF copy of the information provided on this site, please contact the Talent Acquisition team at hrrecruiting@ku.edu