As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to reshape and redefine how we live and work, many companies are being challenged to reconsider how they operate. Employees may be working from home, but that doesn’t mean hiring and other important business operations can stop.
While in-person job interviews might seem like a crucial step in the hiring process, they aren’t possible in this moment of social distancing and self-quarantine. Luckily, when done right, video interviews can be just as effective, allowing you to accurately evaluate talent and ensure you hire the right person for your job.
Let’s explore how to conduct a successful video interview, and why you should start using digital interviews in your organization.
Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, you may not have used video conferencing all that often. Most meetings were held in the office, and if you needed to follow up with a colleague, you could always do so in person. Now, times have changed.
Like us, you’ve probably had a lot more experience with video calls in the last few weeks. But that doesn’t mean you are ready to take interviewing online. In order to prepare for the unique challenges of digital interviewing and make sure the whole process proceeds smoothly, follow these five steps.
Hopefully you already have a process for in-person interviews that can be adapted for the digital interview process. For example, is there a presentation you show candidates to provide an overview of your company during the interview? Maybe the presentation can be sent digitally ahead of time or shared via screen share during the video call instead.
Next, what structure will the interview follow and who needs to be involved? Will you have a one-on-one video call, a panel interview, or multiple digital interviews? In an office setting, it’s easy to take a candidate from one interview to the next, but digitally this transition can prove challenging. Can you simplify the process by having key decision makers all join one video interview? No matter what you decide, make sure the right people are invited to the interview and keep everyone in the loop with up-to-date communications.
Okay, you’ve got an internal process figured out. The next step is to choose the technology and software that work best for your team. Does your company use software that includes video collaboration? If so, you might already have Microsoft Teams, Amazon Chime, or Cisco Webex. If none of these are available to you, consider checking out free video conferencing options like Zoom or Skype. All of these platforms make video calls easy to coordinate and most offer options like changing or blurring your background to create a more professional setting.
Once you have the video conferencing software, check your technology. Does the camera on your computer work? How’s the microphone? Often, it is best to have a headset or headphones with a built-in microphone to ensure the best sound quality.
Last, be sure to test your software and technology ahead of time. It’s not uncommon for technical issues to arise during a video interview and these problems can reflect poorly on you and your company. To avoid any mishaps, test your video conferencing software with your team to be sure everyone understands how the platform operates. Prepare for common technical issues and, most importantly, have a backup plan ready to go in case your tech fails.
Once you have confirmed an interview time, let the candidate know what format the interview will follow, who they’ll be speaking with, and what topics or questions will be covered. Providing these details ahead of time allows a candidate to put their best foot forward and ensures everyone is operating from a shared understanding.
It’s also a good practice to set clear guidelines for the call itself. What software or application will be used to conduct the interview? Will the candidate need log-in credentials, a meeting number, or will you be initiating the call? Be sure to include these details in your communications so that you don’t leave the candidate in the dark.
In addition to figuring out your technology and making the arrangements, you will need to prepare for the interview itself. However, video interviews require a little more preparation and practice than in-person interviews. When a candidate is sitting in the room, you have the opportunity to assess factors like body language and how they present themselves. This is much more challenging to do when a candidate is on video and all you can observe is what you see on screen.
In order to learn more about a candidate, how they behave in various situations, and what soft skills and personal qualities they possess, it’s a good idea to include a mix of behavioral and situational questions into your interview. The idea behind these questions is that past behavior can be a great predictor of future performance. Asking a candidate to talk about a time they took initiative or showed leadership, for example, can be a good way to determine whether they are truly a good fit for your team and organization.
Like in-person interviews, video interviews aren’t just about your company and the job you are trying to fill. They are also an opportunity for the candidate to learn more about the role and decide if it’s a good match. Make sure they have the chance to do this by leaving time for questions and feedback during the interview.
You might also consider sending a post-interview survey asking for the candidate’s feedback. How did they feel during the interview? Were there any software or technical challenges they encountered that need to be fixed? What could you have done better? The information you collect from these surveys can be invaluable as you continue to improve your remote hiring process and how you conduct video interviews.
Utilizing video interviews to screen and hire top talent makes sense during the current COVID-19 outbreak. But digital interviewing and hiring will also have a future in the workplace after this crisis concludes thanks in part to the many benefits video interviews offer. Besides saving time and lowering costs for both candidates and companies, video interviews make it easier to consider candidates from other locations, expanding the talent pool and allowing you to cast a wider net to find the perfect employee.