Remote workers all over the world are climatising to the new way of life, settling into newly forged daily routines, and getting to grips with the clever technologies that make it all possible. Online video software has allowed us all to not only replicate our old office ways but vastly improve how our meetings work using combinations of an ever-growing number of handy tools and content options. But are you using it appropriately when conducting interviews?
When it comes to meeting prospective new hires online, there are big differences between interviews and our in-house meetings. Put yourself in the shoes of the remote candidate: You’ve read the company website, some press releases and the job description, and been told to attend an online meeting with two people you’ve never met on a laptop, sat in your second bedroom. Sounds cold right? As a Hiring Manager, how are you going to replace the shiny branded signage, the welcoming receptionist, and the touchy-feely, face to face interview experience?
Here is some experienced advice from the Langley James recruitment team to help you get the most from your online interviews.
1 – Test the Tech
The backbone of any successful online meeting is reliable technology. Preventative action and an awareness of the variables that threaten success is key, and never assume people know your tech.
Check your own equipment including software updates, speakers, microphones, headgear, batteries, internet connection, and be certain of your own login credentials. Map the meeting process from invite to close and look for ways it could go wrong. For example, if the candidate hasn’t used your meeting platform before they’ll be invited as a guest. Using an off-network computer and a personal email address, pretend to be a candidate and follow the steps from their side, then write instructions and an equipment checklist that can form part of your interview invitation. This may seem like hard work, but you’ll only need to do it once and will give you the confidence that it’ll work every time.
2 – Have a Plan B
Despite rigorous testing and avid preparation, it might all go horribly wrong. Fear not! Providing you’ve planned ahead and obtained the candidate’s phone number and/or email address you can simply perform a telephone interview.
Sometimes it’s not that serious and the meeting can indeed be salvaged. Build a troubleshooting checklist featuring found and personal experiences so you can take action or offer advice on the spot. For example, in the event of glitchy video, simply switching off other bandwidth-hungry devices on your or their network might help. If not, switching off the camera may result in improved audio. Whatever the problem, try to preempt a workaround.
3 – Be Organised and Leave Nothing to Chance
Having an organised agenda and a planned format should be a standard requirement for all interviews but for online meetings, it is nothing short of essential.
You might want to consider giving candidates the same professional experience you would give a new client. Send out an ‘interview pack’ containing dates and times, an informal statement describing the role and why its important, some company info, the job description, a clear meeting agenda, a list of the interviewers and their roles in the process, and above all, crystal clear instructions on how to attend and what to do if they experience problems. Ask yourself, would you be impressed or bewildered? If its the latter, there’s more work to be done.
4 – Block Out the Time and Avoid Distractions
Remember, you’re trying to simulate a face to face interview. With that in mind, visualise your old interview environment and take note. You probably didn’t have your computer with you and your phone was set to silent, you were somewhere quiet, away from distractions and you looked at the candidate in the eye while talking, aware that you needed to appear alert, interested and engaged at all times.
Being online, you’ll be sat at your computer so, apply the above to the new scenario. Turn off notifications, minimise your email and other message systems, select ‘do not disturb’ on your online meeting software, and put your phone on silent. Remember, this is a live meeting so apply all your usual social graces, look out for facial expressions and signs of engagement, and keep still where possible.
5 – Be Ready
Many Hiring Managers have an intention to plan but often, simply turn up to an interview with a pen, paper, and a largely unread CV, still warm from the printer. Instead, decide to deliver a professional interview. Read your own job description and prepare the questions. Remind yourself of the key skills, traits, and experiences required for the vacancy and read the candidate’s CV making note of any areas to explore. Decide on how you want the interview structured and stick to it. It’s not hard and will yield better results, but it won’t create itself. Book a specific time in your diary to do it.
6 Look the Part
Yes, we’re working from home and yes, many of us have ditched the suits or smart casual gear in favour of jeans and t-shirts. While this may be an accepted, unspoken theme of today’s remote workforce, its important to remember that as a Hiring Manager you are responsible for giving the best possible first impression of your company. As such, dress accordingly. Presumably, you’re expecting the candidate to be well presented so why shouldn’t you?
7 Prepare a Quality Outro
Interested or not, always leave a good taste at the end of the interview. Explain what will happen next and offer some feedback if appropriate. Ask them if they have any questions and take the time to answer them properly. Be certain to thank them for their time and interest in the company.
There you have it. 7 vital tips on how to conduct a good online video interview designed to improve your selection choices and impress the socks off your candidates. Remember, you are likely to be the only person the candidate has ever spoken with from your company so, their impression of the business relies entirely on you. Happy interviewing!
Our expert IT recruitment consultants are here to take the pressure off you when recruiting someone new, permanent or contract. We liaise with candidates with the utmost care to ensure that their candidate experience is a positive one. Call us on 0207 788 6600 and let us help you Recruit Someone Worth Recruiting.