The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly affected the labor market and economy in numerous ways. Despite many organizations having the difficult task of laying off or furloughing employees, there are companies actively hiring. And hiring top talent right now is more crucial than ever. While millions of individuals continue to work from home, interviews and hiring decisions still need to be made. Hiring remotely does present its challenges, especially for employers who are navigating this experience for the first time. You may be hesitant to hire someone who you’ve never met in person. At JOHNLEONARD, in addition to in-person interviews, we have experience conducting video interviews and screening candidates.
Below are tips, we as staffing professionals, have found successful when conducting virtual interviews. Try these steps the next time you conduct an interview remotely.
Set expectations of the interview
When preparing for a virtual interview, email the interviewee beforehand to give clear details about what to expect for the upcoming interview. You should mention if the interview will be an audio or video interview, which video conferencing tool you will be using, what time the interview will take place, who (name and job title) they will be talking with, and any other important information they need to know. For the interview to run smoothly, both parties must be on the same page before the call.
Test your technology
It’s good practice to test the video conferencing tool you will be using to conduct the interview. We suggest Zoom, Skype for Business, or Microsoft Teams. Before the call, familiarize yourself with the tool so when it’s time to contact the candidate you’re knowledgeable on how it works. Be sure to check that you have a strong Wi-Fi connection and cellular reception. Also, double check your audio and camera on your laptop or desktop. Most conferencing tools allow you to test this right before you start your meeting.
Keep in mind that technology isn’t perfect, and glitches may occur. If there is a disconnection, reach out and try the meeting again or reschedule. Being accommodating and empathic will help the candidate feel more confident. Technical issues happen all the time!
What to ask
Just like you would for an in-person interview, have the candidate’s resume or anything else they may have sent in front of you. Ask them questions and address any of their questions or concerns. Remember to use this time wisely. If you feel that the interview is dragging on, you may need to interrupt to keep the interview moving forward.
If your team is fully working remote due to the pandemic, ask questions to gauge how well the individual would work from home. Also, be prepared to answer any questions regarding COVID-19 and how it has affected your organization. Being transparent is key.
Humanize the experience
Typically, the interviewee would be able to physically go into the office and get a feel for the company culture and the layout of the office. If you’re working remotely, get creative when showcasing your organization. Share pictures or videos of the office and any past company activities that best depict your office’s culture.
Remember to smile
It’s challenging to truly get to know someone over video. You can’t shake their hand or gauge their enthusiasm as easily as you could if you were in person. As the one conducting the interview, try you’re best to keep it professional but also let your personality shine through. If you’re calm and personable, the candidate will feel more at ease and will do the same. Positive body language is still important even though they can’t see you fully. Be sure to maintain ‘virtual eye contact’ by looking into the camera…not at yourself…sit up straight, and smile!
During uncertain times, the candidate experience is extremely important. While conducting an interview remotely, you want to best present your company and the position but also determine if the candidate is a good fit. To help you hire top talent for your organization from the comfort of your home, follow this advice!
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