Top Tips- How to hire remotely & conduct successful video interviews
I was recently interviewed in the press about how candidates could best prepare for video interviews and it got me thinking.... how many businesses are now having to run a hiring process remotely given the current global situation with COVID-19?
Hiring remotely is something that, as a recruiter, I already have a lot of experience with - in fact a lot of what we do on a daily basis is done remotely so I'm here to share some of my best tips & tricks with you.
It's a good question and one that I have been asked a multitude of times. Many people seem to think that moving to this format is going to make things harder, when in reality not much really changes... other than the absence of the first stage interviews taking place on site. Even during these times of social distancing, a final stage interview could be done face-to-face if the right precautions were taken. Essentially, whether you're interviewing face-to-face or online, most of the process remains the same - you are still looking for the the candidate to showcase their experience and skills so you can assess their suitability for the role.
Now, there is evidence that we tend to hire people like ourselves. We like people who think and behave like us and make us feel comfortable. It's usually unconscious - just human nature - but there really is no place for it in recruitment. Successful teams are made up of many different types of people (introvert, extrovert, creative, strategic, empathic etc) and these contrasts in personality facilitate wider thinking and more successful business decision making.
So what's my point?
The successful candidate should always be the one who matches the skillset and experience required by the role - not necessarily the one you'd like to take to the pub for a drink after work .. but if you find someone who fits both, you're really on to a winner.
1) Send the candidate clear & concise interview instructions & advice. Make sure they know which video collaboration tool they will be using. Do they need to download it? How do they use it (chat/mute/sharing functionality).
2) Make a brief (15 mins) & informal phone call to the candidate a few days before the interview. If you do nothing else, do this! I promise it will be invaluable and time well spent. The candidate will be off-guard with their barriers down so they'll (likely) be more open to an informal chat vs being in interview mode.
3) Ask the candidate 2 or 3 questions to get to know them.
Is there anything they'd like to understand about the job prior to the interview? Get insight into what part of the job spec wasn't clear or that they're most interested in.
What is their current situation? Are they furloughed or working? Understand how their life is working at the moment.
Have they interviewed elsewhere? Understand what processes they're involved with and who your competition is.
What are their interests? Discover what makes them tick and what they love to do outside of work. It's an opportunity to discuss the lesser discussed 'hobbies' part of their CV.
1) Put the interview details in your calendar and set (multiple) reminders. This way you won't forget the details and you can also send a 'gentle' reminder to your candidate too.
2) Make a good first impression. Give yourself time to get your interview space ready (as you would if you were running a face-to-face interview).
3) Prepare yourself. Be early, make sure your tech is working and have all your documentation organised and accessible. Read the candidate's CV and remind yourself of important details shared during the pre-interview call. Look through the job description and have your interview questions ready.
1) Coach don't catch-out. You want to get the best from any candidate, so create the best experience by giving them every opportunity to do their best. Explain at the start of the interview how the time will be managed, as well as how and when to ask questions. Setting expectations up front will only help.
2) Advise them on how they should sit in front of the camera. You want to be able to see their head and torso - rather thanbe looking up their nose.
3) Check the tech works and test microphones. Make sure you can see, hear and understand each other. It is a good idea to agree upfront that you will end the interview and reschedule if the quality of the connection is not good enough or becomes poor during the session.
4) Introduce the candidate to any other people who may be in the room. Explain who they are and their role.
5) Place your notes at eye Level. They should be out of camera shot and (ideally) at eye level so you don't need to keep looking down.
6) Minimise Your Own Image. We all know how hard it is not to look at ourselves on screen and check our hair looks ok etc. By minimising your own image you will be focussed purely on the candidate. Again, this may seem obvious, but it is amazing how many people don't do this.
7) Turn off any email or instant messaging notifications. Do not have anything open on your computer other than the interview - do not get distracted.
So panic not. If anything, remote hiring could discipline you into being a BETTER hiring manager. There is less room for building chemistry with the usual handshake and quick chat at the coffee machine, so you are likely to be less hubristic, more rigorous and more diligent. This doesn't mean that rapport isn't important - it is vital - but being on the other side of a screen will give you a more autonomous, less emotional response.
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