In the wake of Coronavirus, conducting business from home has become business-as-usual, and to keep hiring plans on track, employers and candidates are conducting the entire recruiting process digitally. However, to do this effectively, we think there are a few things both groups should know.
In addition to holding daily meetings over platforms like Zoom, BlueJeans, and Google Hangouts, interviews, for those that are still hiring, have become completely virtual. If done correctly, digital recruiting can be just as authentic and effective as in-person recruiting — which is good news, because it’s also significantly less expensive. It also provides more flexibility, and often more structure than what would transpire in-person.
The remote sourcing, assessing, and interviewing of candidates are cementing as the new norms of the hiring process, and we believe it’s a forced measure that will stick after this pandemic comes to an end. Professionals in all industries will begin to see, as a group of PhD researchers proved, that there are practically no differences in interviewing face-to-face in comparison to interviewing online. But in order to do them right, both parties (the interviewer and the candidate) should mutually understand the limitations and benefits.
The Limitations of Video Interviewing
If a candidate does not have access to a computer and/or the internet, s/he will be at a disadvantage when trying to arrange and participate in interviews with recruiters. While it would be unlikely for a college student to not have access to the internet while away at school, during the present COVID-19 pandemic, many students are now at home with their families.
There has been some discussion in the news around how children who live in poor urban areas or rural districts who have been sent home to learn virtually are experiencing a "homework gap," nd the same idea can be applied to young college students. According to Politico, white residents are more likely to have broadband in their homes than people of color. In 15 states, the majority of rural residents do not have access to broadband.
If a candidate is taking their time to respond to your interview requests, it’s important to not assume it’s because they’re uninterested or bad at communicating. Recruiters should be as accommodating as possible and provide a significant amount of scheduling flexibility. Additionally, interviewers may subconsciously blame a candidate for a bad connection or other technical issues. It’s important to remind interviewers to be aware of this potential bias and to ensure there is a plan if the connection is weak.
Interviewing from home can present some environmental distractions that would otherwise not be present in face-to-face interviews (Deakin & Wakefield, 2014).
Candidates should be cognizant of the potential distractions within their locations and should plan to interview in a quiet, enclosed and controllable space. The same thing can be said about recruiters who are working remotely during this time.
Potential for a Weaker Impression
Since candidates will not be able to capitalize on hand-shakes and other in-person greeting methods as they would in face-to-face interviews, it’s important they take time in the beginning of the interview to establish rapport by introducing themselves. If the candidate does not initiate this, interviewers should themselves give a casual introduction and ask the candidate to do the same. This will help the candidate give a stronger first impression than if you both just dove right into the interview questions, as well as bring some humanity to the interaction. Remember, just as much as a candidate wants to establish a rapport with the firm, they are also using this as a determination of fit. If it feels too stiff, candidates may get a bad impression or judge it as poor match.
The Benefits of Video Interviewing
It Accelerates the Process
By scheduling video-interviews, candidates have the ability to interview more frequently in a shorter amount of time without travel and commuting barriers. Recruiters also have the luxury of making sure the candidate speaks to everyone they should, without risking scheduling conflicts that often happen when a candidate is only in office for a specific block of time.
More Virtual Campus Visits
Many recruiters report enjoying the campus visits they make every year and we get it —they're fun! But creating and then maintaining an environment that allows for virtual interviewing and other types of engagements will only amplify a firm's recruiting reach. Bankers and recruiters can only visit a certain amount of schools per cycle due to budget and time constraints, but in a digital-first environment, firms can hold virtual interviews, info sessions, or career fairs dedicated to more schools that otherwise would not make the in-person schedule.
Flexibility & Reduced Costs
Video conferencing is more flexible for both candidates and recruiters because it allows them to conduct interviews in convenient locations. It also allows for potential hires to meet with colleagues who are in different timezones/countries.
Not only can you save money on campus visits as already mentioned, you can avoid flying candidates in for super-days which are traditionally held in the office. We understand that many candidates enjoy flying to New York or Chicago to get a sense of what their work environment may be like, but at least having the capability and practice of video-interviewing candidates will help those who might have other obligations that would prevent them from traveling to interviews or super-days.