There is no denying the fact that hiring top talent in the coming weeks and months will be even more challenging than it has been in this 50-year low unemployment market. That said, business still must be accomplished, and your staffing shortage isn’t going away.
While companies around the world work to limit the spread of the coronavirus by moving to a more remote workforce, should this be viewed as a considerable hiring opportunity? In consulting with several of our clients, they believe so and have acted quickly to move in-person interviews to phone and video conferencing for the entire process…even including virtual tours via Zoom, Skype, BlueJeans, or FaceTime (to name a few). Why are they moving so quickly? After identification, a challenge to hiring is the actual interview itself. Now that some of these candidates are working remotely or partially remote, these companies are creating a competitive advantage to expedite the hiring process.
Many of our clients have already been utilizing videoconferencing tools in order to maximize candidate flexibility, while also being able to get to know the individuals. Candidates enjoy having an hour interview and not having to come up with a 3-hour excuse to leave work. Let’s face it, with unemployment the way it is – these candidates are typically employed and putting that position in jeopardy just by entertaining a new role.
If your company can demonstrate flexibility in your interview and a trusting leadership style, candidates are more apt to consider you as their next employer. This is even more significant if their current employer has less tolerant policies on workplace flexibility. Your methods can be seen as a beacon of positivity that they desire.
If you already have the technology and experience interviewing using video, then you have a head start. If you haven’t made the transition, this is your chance to make those changes immediately. The next several weeks can give you an advantage for years to come.
5 Tips to Conduct Successful Video Interviews
1. Focus on the interview experience, just as you would for an in-person interview.
2. Choose your videoconferencing tool. Try to stick with the platform that you and your team can become the subject matter expert. Prepare a document that you send to candidates in advance outlining what to expect and how to use the tool. Encourage the candidate to practice but also be prepared for the inevitable technology glitch and be flexible to transitioning to a phone interview if/when this happens. How you handle the hiccup demonstrates leadership style and how you might handle other office situations.
3. Know where you should look. When you are talking, you should primarily look at the camera. When you are listening, you should primarily watch the candidate/screen. I say primarily, because to get a balance, you should consciously look at both the camera and the candidate. If you only look at the screen while you are talking, the candidate loses important eye contact. If you only look at the camera, then you miss important non-verbal cues from the candidate. Speaking of non-verbal communication, don’t forget yours…smile (a lot), nod in agreement, take notes, etc.
4. Have a professional background. Whether you are conducting this interview from the office or home office, make sure the background is as minimal as possible. Try to mimic an actual interview with a conference room vibe. You do not want the candidate distracted during the interview. I’d also recommend a room where you can control the lighting. If you are in a room with windows, the lighting during different parts of the day could be an added variable. I advise a desk/table, a chair, and a blank wall or perhaps a simple bookshelf.
5. Conduct an office tour. This can be a brief pre-recorded tour, a few professional pictures, or walk and talk while conducting some of the interview. This doesn’t have to be perfect, but one of the primary reasons for in-person interviews, from the candidate perspective, is to get a feeling for the overall culture and what it would be like working at your company. Items such as parking, reception area, office furniture, where their office/desk is located, breakroom amenities, and a few interactions with other employees would be worthwhile highlights.
Be an early adopter and begin championing these changes as soon as possible. Your decision will lead to a competitive advantage sooner than you might think.