As the economy begins the long road to recovery, amid a very competitive job market, many employers wishing to recruit will probably turn to videoconferencing software such as Zoom or Skype for job interviews.
This is a relatively new and unfamiliar approach to what can already be a nerve-wracking experience for candidates and indeed an important business decision for employers.
There are clear advantages to virtual recruitment, of course. It saves on time, allowing employers to arrange and conduct interviews more efficiently and it means that candidates don’t have to travel miles to the recruiter’s office.
Candidates can relax in the comfort of their own homes without having the fluster of finding an unfamiliar office and having to sit in nervous anticipation in a waiting room, making awkward small talk as they await the summons to the interview room. Theoretically, they should be able to give their best.
However, with so many established social customs having to be abandoned (e.g. firm handshakes and the strong eye contact), employers and candidates need to adapt their approach.
How can employers and potential recruits make the most of this new way of recruiting?
Employers should be patient. Don’t assume that the candidates are familiar with videoconferencing technologies or that they have all got superfast broadband. Just because someone’s screen freezes halfway through an interview, does not mean that they are not the best candidate for the job.
If the technology completely fails, be sure to reschedule ASAP or perhaps seek an alternative, like a telephone interview.
Employers should therefore be especially attentive to the answers provided. Body language and other subtleties will be harder to pick up on.
Questions should be carefully chosen and clearly articulated to the candidates. Reassure candidates that they can point out any difficulties they encounter in the interview process or ask the interviewer to repeat a question.
Candidates should give thought to videoconferencing etiquette. Being interviewed from one’s home affords candidates an ability to relax but this does not mean that they should treat the interview as an informal meeting. Dressing smartly, sitting up attentively and looking directly at the camera are ways to make a good impression. A scruffy looking candidate, slouching in front of the camera in a dressing gown is not likely to impress a recruiting panel.
Candidates can have the job description to hand and have an opportunity to prepare notes and prompts to help with some interview questions. A candidate should be able to give strong confident responses to questions and really give their best. However, reading off a script or Googling answers to questions will look obvious to the recruitment panel.
Punctuality still matters. Candidates should not sign in at the last minute. Test the technology works in advance and join the meeting slightly ahead of the start time.
If technology goes wrong, candidates should be conscious not to get angry, flustered or upset. Remaining composed shows professionalism under pressure, which may impress the employer.
Remote recruitment is something new to many firms and candidates but it is worth both parties considering how best to make a good impression through a virtual interview.