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April 30, 2021

Working in Virbela: Interviewing Candidates

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If you work in a virtual campus, it makes sense you’d interview job candidates there. A virtual interview signals to top candidates that your company values innovation and work-life balance. 

But remote work options are a basic part of the package at today’s leading companies—so you need to show your company offers more. 

A virtual interview highlights an online work environment where personality and teamwork still matter. And getting rid of video meetings? Consider it a built-in perk.

Candidates don’t need any high-tech equipment: They just have to download an app to their computer. From there, they can enter your campus and start sharing their career highlights or ideas for your company. 

Here, Virbela Director of Human Resources Bryan Reese helps you prepare for a seamless virtual interview.

Bryan Reese, Virbela Director of Human Resources

Bryan has helped companies develop HR capabilities for more than 20 years. He’s an expert in organizational growth, recruiting, training, and more. Take your cues from how he interviews in Virbela to create your own best practices.

Keep Initial Conversations Easy

Bryan kicks off new candidate relationships with a phone interview. Old school? Sure, but it’s a simple way for everyone to introduce themselves before diving deeper.

After a successful phone interview, candidates come in for a virtual campus tour, including a more detailed interview with a hiring manager.

Bryan takes the pressure off candidates by making sure they can access the campus with no issues. Downloading the app is pretty self-explanatory: Users follow prompts and can customize their avatars’ appearance when they enter campus.

“The best way to learn about our culture, environment, and what we provide is to show our candidates firsthand.  When I mention that our next meeting will take place in our Open Campus, candidates are so excited to have the chance to work in the environment right out of the gate.”  

“With the ease of downloading the application and setting up their avatar, it takes no time to get the candidate acclimated to the environment—and virtual culture.” 

At the entrance to the Virbela Open Campus, a concierge team greets new arrivals. The concierge team can answer questions just like a receptionist would. If you don’t have a staffed entrance, you can just head over to meet candidates yourself.

While walking to the interview room or during the tour, Bryan can introduce candidates to people on the team they might join or other key employees who happen to be passing by.

“By popping into different offices in our Open Campus, we know we’re communicating clearly. We get to clarify details real-time without the back-and-forth of email. And it lets candidates meet more of the team, like people from other departments who wouldn’t usually join a video interview.” 

This breadth of interaction is exactly what you’d get in a physical office. But in a virtual campus, you’re helping candidates get used to a new kind of environment at the same time.

Stick to What Matters Most

Even though Virbela might be new to them, candidates tend to feel more confident than they would on Zoom or in person.

That’s because, as more companies shift online, remote workforces are redefining meeting etiquette. 

Before, candidates may have felt they had to dress a certain part. Some people love the confidence they get from putting on a sharp outfit—but others think of it as another set of tasks to perform when they could be preparing answers and ideas.

Even now, on video, candidates can stress about a living room view over their shoulder or whether or not the cat will make a guest appearance.  

But underneath the social conventions, when it comes to doing a great job, what your hair looks like or how you decorate your home office doesn’t matter.

In a virtual interview, candidates can relax, because the focus stays on their work, their ideas, and their personality. 

A merit-based evaluation is definitely better than worrying about superficial details.

Get to Know More About Every Candidate

The questions or activities you’d use in a physical office usually translate in your virtual interview, too.

“Our recruiting process is extremely flexible and is meant to adapt to each team and Hiring Manager,” explains Bryan. ‘That said, our main priority is that each candidate feels comfortable in our unique environment, so they can really show their stuff. The process is much more of a conversation than a formal encounter.”

Bryan likes to mix the icebreakers and pointed questions of a one-on-one interview with panel interviews. During the one-on-ones, he might ask about background, qualifications, and expectations for the role.

A panel interview can get more in-depth. Panels mean a candidate has progressed through at least a couple rounds of interviews, so the questions get more advanced.

This is a great opportunity to see how candidates connect with your company’s objectives in a virtual work environment. 

Your virtual campus might be inspired by gaming—Virbela is built on the world-class Unity game engine—but it’s definitely a workplace. Use this portion of the interview to get on the same page about planning, process, and outcomes.

By now, candidates are starting to get the hang of your virtual campus, too. Tune into how they express themselves, just like you would in person. Where they’re looking, whether they follow presenters, what they share in chat, and other everyday moves let you know more about them.

“A common challenge in a remote environment is how to really connect with candidates. In the Virbela Open Campus, we’ve overcome that. Our department has its own HR suite, so we have offices for in-depth conversations. Other staff are outside in their offices. It feels natural and lets us talk about regular work stuff.”

Making Your Final Decisions

Once you’ve finished interviewing, you can meet with your team in private offices or boardrooms to choose the best candidate for the role. 

Spaces can be customized with just a few clicks by an administrator. Easy reconfiguring lets you create more seating to bring in additional decision makers or pull up multiple candidate materials for comparison. 

“The job market is competitive, so decisions can be tough—but there’s competition for the best candidates, too!” shares Bryan. “To source and hire the best talent, we stay agile. We know we have something unique to offer, but lots of companies are going remote. 

“When we make our final decisions, we think about who is genuinely best for the role, based on what we know about the candidate and how virtual work powers a company’s objectives.

“At Virbela, we’re effectively connected across our company, we do great work together, and we’re excited about showing candidates they can have some of the best years of their career in our virtual campus.”

Be sure to catch more of our Working in Virbela series to make the most of your virtual campus. Follow Virbela on LinkedIn and @VirbelaHQ on Twitter to see when new guides debut. 

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