Hiring Managers – Are you making the most of video interviews?

Video interviews, alongside technologies such as VR and gaming, have been widely used by employers for a while, especially in IT and big banking. For companies, they mean remote access to candidates, time savings, less scheduling headaches. During this time, as companies across the world make adjustments to protect the health and safety of their employees, they are also providing a secure way to hire new staff. But while the hiring landscape is fast evolving, and with it the nature of interviews, it’s important to get the process right.

While video interviews may be an established part of the hiring process for recruiters and hiring managers in certain industries, for many others it’s still a relatively new area to be explored. Many companies have had to adapt quickly to new technologies while reassessing and adjusting their normal operations due to the coronavirus pandemic, which alongside new exciting and/or daunting configurations has meant transitioning from face-to-face interviews to virtual ones.

At a time of social distancing, here are six tips you can keep close to hand to help you make the most of online interviews.

Have a clear process in place

Currently, we are all working hard to cope with the demands of hyperactive group chats, memes and FaceTime calls. During these testing times it’s important to make sure all our communication channels are streamlined.

As you adopt new procedures and means to hire new staff, it’s important that you set in place a clear, updated recruitment strategy, so everyone involved is on the same page.

Is video conferencing how you plan conduct interviews for the next couple of months? Make sure to let all team members and candidates know.

As adopted by LinkedIn, you could make a shared document available so dispersed team members can post questions about the interview process and where they can easily access resources and important information.

Be well-prepped

According to Monster.co.uk, more than two thirds of job seekers turn down a job if their first impression is sub-standard. So it’s a good idea to be prepared:

–      Have a copy of the job description and the candidate’s CV to hand. Make sure you re-read these and jot down questions to ask in advance

–      Let the candidate know who they will be meeting well ahead of the interview and what video conferencing platform they will be using/whether they will need to download any software

–      Let them know what to expect. Is it more an informal chat? Will there be any on-the-spot skills tests?

–      Update the calendars for everyone involved in the hiring process with interview times

–      Make sure everyone in your hiring team knows how they can submit feedback after the interviews

Help candidates feel at ease

Without the comfort of being able to ask candidates about the traffic and if they found you okay, it’s advisable that you have a good intro at the ready.

Introduce yourself, make sure you’re on time and, while they will already be feeling at home, it’s important to make candidates feel at ease. While virtual interviews are becoming increasingly common, not everyone will be used to it. (Not even celebrities are immune to awkward video call exchanges.)

It can be hard to form a strong connection through the screen, just as it can take time to adjust to the idea that you are interviewing for a job from your living room. Job interviews can be nerve-wracking for many people in general, while being on camera might induce new anxieties for a lot people.

Smile, be kind and be patient.

Do a trial run

The internet, far from dragging us from real-world connections, is now bringing us closer together. Who would have thought it?

If you’re new to video conferencing, there are many reliable software solutions available for business: Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, BlueJeans, and Google Hangouts are some of the most popular options.

Unsurprisingly, in the last month there has been a huge surge in demand for teleconference apps and new tech, and many of these services are currently offering free trials/discounts as a result. Have a look at existing options and work out which is best for you.

To prevent technical difficulties, do a trial run before your interviews. Check your internet connectivity in advance and do a sound and video quality test – and close any unnecessary apps and web pages beforehand, especially if you’re planning on sharing your screen (and make sure you know how to share your screen).

Eliminate distractions

There are some weird interview stories out there – and not just for the candidate. From inappropriate t-shirts to candidates turning up with their wife and dog to people being proposed to in the middle of an interview. But while we live in a world that is already uncertain, it’s important to make sure that certain things can proceed in as normal a fashion as possible.

Set up a professional-looking space that is free from distractions. Find a clean, well-lit area and make sure there is nothing compromising on the walls or in the background. Silence notifications, put away your phone and don’t get distracted by emails.

While research shows that 60% of Brits working from home spend the day in their pyjamas, make sure you are dressed professionally, as you would for an interview in-person.

Give candidates your time and undivided attention.

This will help them know that you are taking the interview as seriously as they should take it.

In Britain, we are faced with all kinds of British problems daily, for instance politely nodding and smiling rather than asking someone to repeat the same question three times. Or signing off e-mails with “Regards” rather than “Kind regards” to let people know we’re angry.

During virtual calls and interviews, technical glitches will occur. If the audio skips out or the video freezes and you miss a question or response, be honest and ask the candidate politely to repeat it. It’s not the end of the world.

Hope the tips are of use, please share with colleagues and please get in touch if you have any questions or want more in-depth advice on how to adapt recruitment to the current situation.

Keep safe!

Richard Protherough

Founder of Vivo Talent Solutions

rich@vivotalent.com