Conducting Critical Hires Over Video – How to Do it Right

business woman using computer

Lea Wolfinger business woman using computerBy Lea Wolfinger, Vice President, Ashton Tweed

See this article on LinkedIn.

The interview process can be tough enough without the added complexity of conducting interviews online over a video call. Although this is especially relevant today due to the new global pandemic, this is a practice that has been taking place with higher frequency as the technology improves and businesses attempt to streamline the hiring process. However, it is especially challenging to make decisions for senior roles when interviews can only reasonably be done by video and you can’t meet the candidates in person.

Employee turnover and delay of hiring can cost you, so despite the uncertain timelines, it is key to continue what you can virtually. Stopping the candidate search may be practical for some roles, but certainly not for business-critical roles. The workforce is already becoming increasingly more virtual and the number of remote professionals is growing. Using these communication tools can help prepare you to adapt to the times and make different, more cost effective and flexible hiring strategies moving forward. While right now the driver is to keep everyone safe from exposure, moving forward, this saves money and time for travel, the scheduling of which might slow down the interview process. Put simply, it is convenient.

Video calls can be really beneficial, still allowing you to get a true sense of a person by reading their facial expressions and body language. However, this only stresses how important it is to prepare for your video call. The following steps are critical for both the client and candidate to make a good impression:

  1. Ensure a good internet connection.
  2. Test out the video program beforehand to set up your audio and video settings. This can be tricky and differs between technologies.
  3. Designate a quiet, private space to be during the interview.
  4. Dress appropriately as you would for an in-person meeting.

One should take a video interview just as seriously as they would an in-person one because these meetings are no less valuable to the decision-making process. Don’t let something within your control – like technical difficulties or interruptions like the famous BBC video of Professor Robert Kelly – affect how your interview is perceived. That being said, things happen, and it is important to be patient and understanding when something unavoidable occurs.

The recruiting industry has been leveraging video calls for years as a way to assess and engage talent during the search and interview process. This shift in interaction can be a big change to adapt to, especially for clients faced with an important hiring decision. Before and during this health crisis, we’ve hosted several critical interviews over video calls, connecting clients and candidates to engage face-to-face online.

“Interviewing online and interviewing in person are two completely different experiences,” says Sarah Johnston, a professional interview coach (BBC). “Job seekers share that it can be more challenging to connect with the interviewer online because there is often less small talk and it’s harder to pick up on non-verbal cues,” she added. However, practice makes perfect. As the technology becomes more reliable and we as professionals utilize this tool more, it will become more comfortable to users.

With certain aspects of business at a standstill and many hiring managers unsure of when they may be able to meet these potential hires in person, the candidate selection process can be stressful. We understand the anxiety of this uncertainty, having coached our clients through this process. In person, one of the main things that an interviewer gathers is whether the person will be a good culture fit for the company. While a professional’s credentials may be spot on and their questions answered according to your standards, this last intangible but critical component may feel like it’s left up in the air. Due to this issue, we encourage hiring companies to include more culture-based questions to their interviews when conducting them over video. See some examples below:

  1. What do you value about your work? What excites you about it?
  2. Describe your ideal work environment and management method.
  3. According to you work style, what helps make you successful in a job?
  4. What did you like and dislike about your last company?
  5. What about our company’s mission appeals to you most? Why?
  6. Outside of work, what are you passionate about?

These questions not only allow you to dive deeper into the personality of your job candidate, it also provides an opportunity to bond, giving you a glimpse of what your future work relationship might look like. Obviously, it is important to make time to meet your team in person when possible – nothing can fully replace the experience of actually interacting with someone – but these tools are extremely useful in long-distance situations and other compromising circumstances like the ones we are facing today.

I hope this article helps make video calls less daunting and ensures that you get the most out of critical interviews that must be conducted remotely. Please share your thoughts, suggestions, and personal experiences on this topic in the comments below – we’d love to hear them!


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