In times of social distancing, online interviews suit potential hires as they take up less time and are more convenient. Charlene Tay, Recruitment expert at Robert Walters in an interview with BBC mentioned that job candidates are happy to use this approach (online job searching and interview) because it saves both travelling time and minimises human contact amidst the Covid-19 outbreak.
With online interviews becoming more preferable, HR leaders should take precautions in order to conduct smooth and efficient online interviews – especially given that its nature is completely different from in-person interviews. In an offline interview, hiring managers could directly observe a candidate’s behaviour and gestures. Meanwhile, online interviews often turn out to be inconvenient and create more challenges due to poor internet access/connection or external distraction. As a result, they might lead to any miscommunication and misunderstanding during the interview process. That said, make sure to implement these tips to excel your online interview experience.
Albeit it is an online interview that might be conducted from home, you can still conduct a group interview. Team interviews will not only remove bias during the process but will also give you peace of mind when one of the interviewer’s connections is slow. Thus, it will not inhibit the process of the interview.
Online interview guidelines do not need to differ from an on-site interview. Hence, before the D-day, make sure to set a specific day and time that works for your team and candidate. Make sure you give all information necessary, such as the name of the interviewers, estimated interview duration, whether it will be a group or one-on-one interview, and which platform you will all use e.g. Zoom, Webex, or Skype. If you and your candidate have different time zones, point out correct time zones to avoid confusion.
A good interviewer is the one who is always ready for any situation. Make sure your online interview does not have any interference from a family member or unnecessary noises. Choose a room with good lighting and have your camera as well as a microphone ready. Test the tools before using them.
After everything is set, it is crucial to prepare interview questions and know your candidate’s background. Surfing through a candidate’s online presence will give you a glance on how to approach them. For example, if your candidates like to discuss books, you might want to start discussing each of your favourite books for the ice-breaker. This way, an online interview can also be as fun and professional as an on-site interview.
This would be necessary if you do not conduct a group interview, thus, your team can help you evaluate the candidate and avoid hiring bias. Before recording, make sure to obtain the candidate’s permission first. It is best to inform them through email or get written consent for the recording to avoid legal consequences.
When you speak, you should directly gaze at the webcam, hence, your eyes are more likely to align with the candidate’s eyes on the other end.
You should explain your role and highlight what you’ll be covering in the interview. Having small talk before, during, or after the interview might strengthen the bond between you and your candidate. Small talk also helps build rapport and differentiate your approach from other organisations.
To win the heart of talents, empathy and professionalism should be a concern. Especially in today’s situation, putting people first is much encouraged. Be an active listener while digging information about your candidate further through questions you prepare beforehand. You might also want to address your candidate’s biggest questions, such as how the employer addresses a crisis like today.
Thank you and wishing good luck are common notes to end an interview, but it might not stay longer in interviewee’s mind. Therefore, it is advisable to end an interview with better notes, such as explaining the next step if the candidate passes the interview or information about when you will get back to deliver the result. Ending an interview with good notes will not only create a better impression for you but also create a better candidate experience that will boost the overall company’s image.
Last but not least, recruiter and line hiring managers should cooperatively discuss the interview process to get the final hiring decision. In this phase, you and your team should watch out for red flags, such as impoliteness, external distractions from candidates, lateness or absence, too casual appearance and behaviour, visible discomfort, and overall attitude of candidates during the interview process. These red flags, however, should not be your only measurements to create final decisions. Physical meetings are still needed to get authentic judgments of the overall hiring process – this is especially important for a crucial position, such as senior manager, CTO, CEO, etc.