June 22, 2020
AN INSIDERS’ ADVICE – THE VIRTUAL INTERVIEW
The coronavirus outbreak forced many companies to rely on online meetings. This had a dramatic impact on the hiring process. Now that the COVID-19 restrictions are starting to lift, there will still be a significant place for a digital strategy in your recruitment program. Leverage the skills you mastered during the lockdowns to include virtual interview capabilities to your long-term hiring process.
As part of the push to make these meetings part of your normal routine, here are five tips for conducting a flawless virtual interview:
Have a Plan
Everyone should be on the same page going into the virtual conversation. Imagine the relatively easy back-and-forth of a traditional interview, where everyone is physically assembled in the same room. Now think about how hard it is to replicate that online. Controlling the flow of a virtual conversation is much more difficult.
Create a game plan before the meeting starts, and make sure everyone knows how things should unfold. At the same time, have one person lead the discussion. It helps to have a single voice conducting the meeting, making sure everyone has their chance to talk.
A lot more can go wrong with a virtual interview than one that takes place in person. In a traditional setting, you might have someone conferencing in or maybe a PowerPoint presentation to orchestrate. But, generally, the table and some chairs represent the most heavily used equipment.
Not so when you take the interview into the digital realm. Not only do you have to choose the right software, but you also have to make sure that every person can operate it effectively (and that it’s compatible with every device people are trying to use). Test the software extensively before attempting to use it during a live interview. As part of this, make sure everyone participating in the meeting knows what they are doing.
Prepare Your Candidate
The warning about technology includes the job candidate as well. Remember: they don’t have a dedicated IT team there to troubleshoot any problems. As a result, you should take additional steps to ensure that their link up is trouble-free.
Build in a few minutes at the beginning of the interview in case there is a glitch. Also, provide your candidates with a contact number they can call if they run into problems.
Get Others Involved
Bringing job candidates into the office has many quiet benefits. One of these is their ability to interact casually with other members of your team. You can learn a lot from a candidate for how they treat security guards and receptionists. You can also take them on a tour, letting them chat with their prospective future coworkers.
These “secondary interviewers” can provide interesting insights about the candidates. These are lost in a virtual environment. Do what you can to replace these different perspectives. For example, you can set up separate interviews with potential coworkers to get a peer response to your top applicants.
Virtual interviews can feel more casual than the in-person variety. This fact is even more acute when you have multiple people conferencing in from locations outside the office. With many people communicating from their kitchens and their spare bedrooms, the normal customs surrounding a meeting can sometimes disappear. Make sure this doesn’t happen. Remind all participants about meeting protocols and keep the mood as professional as possible. Technology might change the trappings of the recruitment process, but the goal remains the same: to find the best people to fill out your team.