Virtual interviews are so much more than a crisis solution
During the covid-19 lockdown, the use of video conferencing has boomed for everyone as people have had to find new ways to keep in touch now that they can’t meet face to face. In business, it’s not a new tool; many larger, multi-sited organisations have been utilising technology like this for years to conduct internal communications. However, many business operations that would previously have been largely limited to personal contact have now, by necessity, been forced online. Recruitment is one of those.
While some have put recruitment on hold in these uncertain times, many see the value in continuing to look forward and filling the roles they’re going to need when we come out of this period of lockdown. Video conferencing has proved invaluable for this, but should we go back to the usual methods once social distancing rules no longer apply? We believe that there are a number of benefits to video interviewing that have a permanent valid place in recruitment practices.
It’s flexible for candidates
It can be difficult for candidates to attend interviews due to distance or being unable to get time off from their existing roles. Video interviewing can be a much more convenient way of attending an interview, at least in the early stages of the process.
It can be less stressful for candidates
Job interviews can be intimidating for even the most self-assured professional. You’re never going to get the best from candidates who are feeling anxious and video conferencing has the potential to alleviate some of those stresses such as worries over remembering interviewers’ names (they’ll be displayed on the screen),finding their way to the business, getting stuck in traffic, parking etc. Most people will feel more relaxed in their own home than coming into an alien environment.
Some may be nervous of being interviewed in this new way but your job as an interviewer is to offer them some reassurance and preparation in advance over what to expect, and this can easily be built into your processes.
It’s flexible for employers
Video interviewing can be more flexible for employers too. The panel could be made up of people in different locations and can therefore be easier to coordinate schedules.
It’s easy to review
When interviewing a number of people in one day, it can be difficult to remember details after the event. Video interviews can be recorded (with the candidates’ consent of course) and reviewed later. They can also be shortlisted and reviewed by people not present to give an objective opinion or help with final decision making.
It can be more efficient
Because of the flexibility, it can be easier to arrange video interviewing at shorter notice or even outside of office hours (interviewers, as well as interviewees, can also be at home). Plus, no small talk on the way in and out, no need to worry about refreshments etc.
Tools such as ‘On demand’ interviewing can also be used: providing candidates with questions which they record themselves answering. This can be an efficient way of shortlisting candidates for full interviews.
Video conferencing has become universal
The increase in take up of video conferencing, from toddlers to grandparents, during the lockdown means that people are becoming much more comfortable with it as a channel for communication. Failing to harness it for business purposes could be a wasted opportunity.
How to get the best from video interviewing
In order to make video interviewing work for your business you need to make sure you adapt your recruitment practices to make it work effectively for you and your candidates. Here are some tips for best practice:
- Use universally accessible technology and provide clear instructions on how to set it up and use it in advance. Unless you’re interviewing for a technical role, don’t assume that everyone is proficient in using video conferencing
- Explain to candidates why you are using video conferencing for the interview and what they can expect
- Clarify how video interviewing fits in with the wider recruitment process and what other stages may follow
- Prepare as you would for an in-person interview; making sure your questions allow you to assess the skills and expertise for the job description
- If there is an interview panel, agree in advance who will lead and what each person’s involvement will be. If panel members are also in different locations, it can be easier to miss visual cues so plan the interview and build in some pauses to avoid talking over each other
Making video interviewing integral to recruitment
We hope that this demonstrates what a valuable tool video interviewing can be beyond this period of necessity. We’re not suggesting that it replaces face to face interviews but it can be a great complement to traditional recruitment and selection practices that forward thinking companies are embedding now.