A Horse of Different Color
As the epidemic and its spin-off, the Great Resignation, continue to revolutionize the modern workplace, the ability to successfully conduct a remote interview has become an invaluable skill set. And according to LinkedIn's recent Future of Recruiting Report, 81%of talent professionals say that virtual recruiting is here to stay. Here are some suggestions for businesses looking to use remote interviews to find top talent.
One of the primary benefits of using a virtual interview tool is the scheduling flexibility and efficiency it offers to both the applicant and the interviewer. Another benefit of interviewing via video conferencing is that it can help mitigate and eliminate pre-existing bias or perceived advantage derived from physically meeting with the candidate in person. In remote interviews, the primary focus is on what a candidate says and how they present themselves on their own merit, not from some external factor such as looks, dress, makeup, etc.
Even though a larger portion of the workforce has been exposed to virtual meeting platforms and is familiar with the technology, remote interviews still have some drawbacks. The biggest hurdle to overcome is the lack of face-to-face engagement and the inability to read non-verbal cues. Another deterrent to virtual interviewing is the technology itself. For example, a Candidate may have internet connection, bandwidth, or video processing issues which can cause distraction and make them less likely to perform at their best. And finally, while Zoom interviews can help mitigate pre-existing bias, new biases, such as judgment of a candidate's home surroundings known as "background bias," have been introduced.
Great remote interviews rest on two key pillars: preparation and presentation. For instance, before you conduct an interview, ensure that your office is well prepared for any technical issues that might arise; there should be no distractions in the form of music or other people talking when you're interviewing someone. Make sure to silence your notifications and mute your phone, and prepare a clean, well-lit, distraction-free area to conduct the interviews.
Put together a comprehensive strategy with your entire hiring staff. Will you need to create a slide presentation to show on screen? What is your backup plan in case the internet connection, whether yours or theirs, becomes unreliable?
At the very least, a remote interview requires a strong internet connection, an excellent webcam, and a microphone. Before your remote interview session begins, you should have someone in your office try to conduct a Zoom meeting with you so that you can identify any technical issues that might arise before they do during your actual interviewing session. If there are concerns, fix them ahead of time so you don't lose valuable time troubleshooting issues during the interview itself.
Make sure that you provide your candidate with all the information they need to be successful with ample time to make use of it. Contact them with details regarding how you will conduct the interview, how to access the remote platform, who they will be interviewing with, and a backup phone number to use in the case of tech issues. Also, consider sending out a standardized virtual background to each candidate to help eliminate "background bias."
Interview Dive is a great tool to help hiring teams create customized interview scripts that standardize the interview process. Hiring teams can use this approach successfully for virtual interviews as well as onsite ones. Interviewers are also less likely to succumb to unconscious bias when they ask everyone the same questions. Customized interview scripts make you more likely to stay focused on assessing a candidate's strengths and abilities rather than finding social, educational, or professional similarities. Just as you would in a face-to-face interview, use standardized notetaking throughout, and, with the candidate's approval, consider recording the Zoom session for review later.
Your prospects will perceive your company in a particular light based on how you, the interviewer, present yourself — what you wear, what appears in your background, and the tone and type of interview questions you ask are all vital to recruiting top talent. Make sure to smile, make eye contact with the camera, and speak clearly. Prepare and practice a company history and introduction to get the interview started, stay on track with your interview script, and rehearse what to say to close out the discussion.
There are a few things to keep in mind that are unique to remote interviews. It's important to be prompt and thorough in remote interviews. People have a shorter attention span when on-screen, so keep your discussion moving along and try not to get off track. Before continuing to the following question, make sure to pause to ensure the applicant has finished their response. In video interviews, it is more difficult to pick up on the visual cues that a candidate might use to indicate that they have completed a question so, it's even more essential to pause and check for understanding before moving on. Remember that remote candidates may have a time zone disadvantage to consider, so plan accordingly. While you want to be as professional as possible, extend grace if life interrupts the interview. For example, if the dog barks, doorbell rings, or your candidate's partner gets loud on their own Zoom meeting in the background, acknowledge the interruption and move on. Lastly, ensure that remote interviews are just as effective as their in-person counterparts. Be mindful of the remote video interview questions you ask and what secondary information or hidden clues you observe about the candidate. As remote interviewing technology becomes more advanced, remote interviewing will become a highly useful recruiting tool for businesses looking to find and retain top talent.