Virtual Interviewing: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
In these unprecedented times, companies are heavily relying on software such as Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts and GoToMeeting to keep lines of communication open and as personal as possible. It has become the new normal. While many companies have halted their recruitment efforts, others are recognizing there’s an opportunity to capitalize on an influx of top talent reentering the job market. Video conferencing technology has played a crucial role in securing the right candidate expeditiously; critical hires are still being made and on-boarded remotely as required. As with most things, while there are huge benefits to this new norm of video conferencing, there are also downsides to consider.
With some minor preparation, virtual interviews can be an amazing substitute for a boardroom or office. You want to maintain the same level of decorum. Always do a trial run with the interview software to ensure no technical difficulties, i.e. audio levels are appropriate and video is working. Ensure proper angles and lighting so facial expressions can be seen clearly. Have a tidy, distraction-free background.
The bad (not bad per se, just not as good).
Some of our recruitment agency’s clients have stated that something missing from virtual interviews is nonverbal signals. Personality is shown through what we say, how we say it and our body language. Body language says a lot about a person, both consciously and unconsciously. Perhaps sit a little bit back from the screen. Dress professionally, and yes, this means you should probably wear pants. Interviewers are doing their best to replicate an interview in their office, so give them a little bit more of you if possible. Sit up tall, be aware of where you are placing your hands and be mindful of looking into the camera.
Our consultants have conducted many virtual interviews and have one piece of advice that can make or break your interview: when you have completed your interview, ensure you have properly closed out the program you are using including making sure both audio and video are turned off. There is nothing worse than an interviewer overhearing a private conversation, especially if that conversation involves speaking ill of them to a spouse (true story).
As much as we have makeshift areas in our homes to use as work from home space, it’s usually somewhere like the kitchen, or an extra bedroom where possibly other family members are also working and perhaps, playing. It can be difficult to have hard boundaries for small children or pets and despite best efforts, a surprise party may make an appearance during your interview. Most interviewers are understanding; this new normal of video conferencing has been a learning curve for everyone.