Even before the country was instructed to work from home for an unknown period of time, many companies were utilizing digital interviews. With this method, hiring managers can sift through 100 candidates in the time it takes to conduct just 15 phone interviews, saving the organization time, money, and resource. The pros don’t stop there! This format helps to standardize interviews, level the playing field, and give candidates who weren’t on-paper front-runners an opportunity to put their best foot forward.
But before you make this virtual transition permanent, consider how your organization is being presented under this new light. Here are some things to think about before you invite your entire candidate pool to a digital interview.
1. Be Prepared
Hiring managers go into every interview with the assumption that the candidate has prepared for the meeting. Failing to show that same courtesy to your interviewee reflects poorly on your organization and could scare away a talented candidate. Make sure that you understand the format and program(s) you’ll be using. Log in early to test the audio and video quality. Ensure that your interview space (everything behind you) is appropriate and well-lit. Don’t forget to be mindful of your body language. Even if this is your tenth interview of the day, bring the same energy and excitement you would bring to your first of the day.
2. Give Your Full Attention
In an in-person interview, it is easy to read the person with whom you’re conversing; you can sense when they are about to speak. Your computer is off to the side; your phone is in a drawer. In a digital interview, however, hiring managers should take care not to interrupt or get distracted by the electronic notifications now right in front of you. Mute your emails and Teams notifications. Put your phone on silent. Whether intentional or not, these devices and platforms will divert your attention from the candidate, and you could miss something that may prove invaluable in the future. Remember, you’re not only assessing the candidate’s fit within the company, but the candidate is making the same assessment on the organization.
3. Show Your Culture
This first impression will set the tone for what the potential hire can expect if an offer is made. Since the candidate cannot experience the company culture in person yet, consider providing some insight on the organization’s core values and mission. Bring in their potential co-workers to answer questions the candidate may have or to provide a reliable source of inside information on the structure of the office.
4. Pre-Recorded Interviews
One commonly used method of virtual interviews is the pre-recorded interview. Candidates are prompted with questions the hiring manager would ask in an in-person interview or phone screening. The candidate is then given an opportunity to record a brief response. Managers can then view the video files as a whole. The advantage of this method, in addition to being a huge time-saver for the recruiter, is the reduction of interviewer bias. This is especially useful if your organization utilizes multiple interviewers. Candidate responses can be compared apples to apples. Just be sure to explain the process in advance, including any information the candidate may need in advance and how the video will be evaluated.
5. Have a Plan B
Always have a backup plan. No matter how carefully you prepare or how many times you conduct test runs, problems can still arise. That is the nature of the technological beast. Save yourself potential frustration by creating a failsafe – for instance, ensuring that both you and the candidate are capable and prepared to switch to a phone call or another video chat method. Being flexible and accommodating will improve your employer brand.
In a distance-based medium, the interview reflects the organization and will leave a lasting impression. Give your candidate the respect they deserve by minimizing background noises and distractions. Regardless of interview format, it’s vital that you ask consistent questions and judge them in a consistent fashion (like an interview scorecard). If interruptions occur, this consistency will avoid any disparities between interviewing methods and will ensure that the impression you leave is a good one.