Job interview 2.0 – the online edition

almost 4 years ago by Charlie Wood
Virtual Interview Blog 0920

Sweaty palms. A new tie or scarf. Arriving 15 minutes early. These are some of the norms we associate with a job interview. Even though it can be a daunting experience for many interviewees (and interviewers) we all take comfort in the safety of routine; better the devil you know. Isn’t that what they say? But, here we are over half-way through 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for real digital adoption to lightning speed.

The good old days

Over the last decade we have seen a significant rise in digital tools since the widespread roll-out of broadband internet and the 3G, 4G and soon to be 5G mobile networks. This infrastructure has allowed online tools to flourish. Suddenly a video call wasn’t just the preserve of the international board meeting, but an affordable and accessible 1:1 or group to group meeting tool.

However, we humans are social beings and we like to meet in person. Most job interview processes tend to follow the same structure – an initial telephone call, face to face interview one and then a final face to face interview. In this process all parties get to meet up and have a fully immersive experience. We can shake hands, observe every movement and feel secure that neither party is something they didn’t appear to be. We all met the real person and that makes us feel safe.

So, what’s changed?

Well, the good old days maybe weren’t all that good. How many people felt they wasted precious time going to meet someone who wasn’t right? What were the financial costs for candidates and interviewers travelling to face to face interviews? And we all know the challenge of fitting an interview into a workday, with many feigning dentist appointments or illness to get time off their existing job.

The Covid-19 pandemic has abruptly put all of that on hold - and possibly forever. We are at a point in time where we can design an interview experience that works for all parties. At Head Resourcing we are a big advocate of digital technologies. We work with IT, digital and tech clients & candidates so it’s only natural that we champion the fruits of their labour.

What does a virtual interview process look like?

There are a wide variety of tools out in the market and it can be challenging deciding where to start. We are also in a time when all businesses are very cautious about extra spend in ever tightening budgets. Regardless of how much is invested, the benefits of a virtual interview process are endless. Most businesses will have Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams and these are perfect for virtual interviews. Failing that, platforms like Zoom & Google Meet have free options for those not ready to commit budget just yet.

Top five tips
  1. Invest in a technology that works for your business and is easy to use and maintain. If it is a tool like Microsoft Teams that can be used flexibly across the business for more than online interviews, then even better.

  2. Practice faux sessions with colleagues to ensure the actual interview is seamless for the interviewees. Decide amongst the interviewers who is the lead so that you aren’t all talking over each other and bombarding the candidates. Many tools have in-built messaging and “hand raising” features. Decide how you will use these to facilitate a smooth interview.

  3. Ensure your pre and post interview communications with the candidates or your agency are clear. These should confirm what all the interview touchpoints will look like and which stages will be virtual. As we move into the post-pandemic period you can mix up the virtual and physical elements.

  4. Consider a digital-first approach to embed time and cost efficiencies into your interview processes long-term. For example, conducting the initial stages online will provide the candidates with greater scheduling flexibility of when the interview can take place around their existing work commitments. This will also be more efficient for your senior managers and leaders taking time out of their hectic schedules who may also need to travel to another city for the interview.

  5. Listen to feedback around how the virtual interview process is working. Are the interviews going smoothly? Is the technology easy to use? Monitoring the adoption will help shape the success.

It is surprising how easy it is to get comfortable with online interviews. We are all using more online technology to keep in touch with friends and family, so half the battle is already won. If we can use it out of work, then we can use it at work too. At Head Resourcing we’re doing virtual end-to-end interview and onboarding processes for our own staff and we’re seeing more clients doing this too. Keeping talent flowing into your business should be part of your success strategy and digital adoption is a key tool to deliver this safely. As we move from the crisis phase to a reset of plans, processes and ways of working, we need to be responsive to the tools that can help us achieve success.

Let’s talk

To chat further about keeping your talent pipeline flowing and interviewing online, please get in touch with me over here.

The information contained in this article does not constitute business advice and should not be acted on as such. This content is based on our understanding in September 2020. Head Resourcing are not liable for the information contained on any third-party websites linked to this article.

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