As the entire country has gone into a lockdown, it does not necessarily mean that the work needs to stop. This extends to Executive Search, interviewing and hiring. How can we push forward with candidate interviewing through these difficult times? Our Founder and Director Sonia Sharma gives her tried and tested tips when it comes to doing video interviews.
Some of us in the search industry still believe that there is no substitute to a face-to-face interview and so do I. This is true to a large extent. You can still get a deep understanding of a senior leader’s profile and motivations, his or her fit for a demanding role in a video interview as long as you get the right conditions and sanctity of the interview process is maintained.
Since everyone including clients & the candidates are #WFH, I would like to share my top 5 tips for remote interviewing.
1 – Check & Re-Check The Tech
Video calls and conference have come a long way from its earlier ISDN days. Despite the advancement we all have been part of video calls with screen freeze, long delay, or choppy audio. Also the most common one is, where the call gets delayed because one of the parties didn’t have the right software on their system. The interviewee may insist on a conferencing tool that hasn’t been used by you before. It would help everyone to download any software you might need for the interview before hand and test it. Do a check if the software works on your system, does it need a user registration before it can be used etc.
In case you are scheduling a video call between the client and the interviewee, it would be great to share clear instructions to the candidate and also request them to test the system once before the scheduled call. Lastly, and the most important one is – “bandwidth”. Close all applications which may require bandwidth and make sure that none in the household is streaming content during that period.
2 – Failing To Plan Is A Failed Interview
An interview without a plan is a recipe for failure, irrespective of its being a video call or a face-to-face meeting. You need to be aware to ask – What’s your goal? How would you start the interview? How do you want to end it? Have you gone through the candidate profile in detail? In video interviews, you may need to think more carefully about your plan since they are more time bound than the face-to-face interviews. You need to take into consideration that technical difficulties may require you to spend more time in repeating questions. My suggestion is to prepare effectively, remain flexible, but apply more discipline and advance thinking to how you are going to ‘run’ the interview session. Manage the time available.
3 – Track The Visual Cues & Work Harder On Building A Rapport
One of the biggest drawbacks with the video interviews is that this medium makes it more difficult to read body language and create an environment for a free flowing conversation. Due to the physical separation, you would need to make an extra effort into making sure to understand the mood in the virtual room and into relationship-building. Apart from recognizing that extra time may be needed to look for and find some ‘chemistry’ between you and your interviewer, we also suggest that you do your research and think more intensively about what kind of common ground, or at least what kind of ‘conversation starter’ might get things moving.
4 – Work On The Conversation Aspect A Bit More Than Usual
The sooner we realize that video interviews are way different from face-to-face interview, the better it is for all. So whether it is the temptation to check your latest incoming messages or annoying delays or feedback noise that can happen online, the important thing here is that you would need to work harder to set up clear focus and understanding. So if it means to practice ‘active listening’, sitting forward in your chair, being responsive, taking advantage of your preparation to offer relevant thoughts and ideas, go ahead and do it. Also in a video call situation, we suggest more regular checking back with your interviewer. “Did that answer your question?” “Have we covered everything you wanted to talk about today?” “Do you have any lingering questions in your mind?” The extra effort will show both your professionalism and help to communicate your value proposition effectively.
5 – Close Effectively
The biggest difference that you need to keep in mind when it comes to a video interview is that there won’t be that moment at the end of an interview when the parties stand up, shake hands and perhaps exchange some final comments, thoughts or pleasantries. No one will be walking you back to the lift or reception. Keep this in mind and plan to close with positive comments, thanks and a smile. Make time for this, and also make sure that you confirm any next steps or actions. Leave the strongest impression possible – proactively.
We wish you all the very best in the coming weeks and months and stay safe. Let’s stay connected!