10 Tips to Conduct an effective Online Interview

10 Tips to Conduct an effective Online Interview

10 Tips to Conduct an effective Online Interview 

Despite the announcements of thousands of redundancies  in the UK, many organizations are still hiring.  As HR departments are extremely busy dealing with the impacts of Covid-19 and some talent acquisition teams are being streamlined, the responsibility for conducting job interviews via video calls is often falling to line managers on their own.  At the beginning of lockdown  some of the companies that needed to recruit quickly, such as supermarkets and delivery firms, were holding interviews for literally under 10 minutes, which worked well in certain sectors in the crisis.  Now the challenge for many organizations is to be able to differentiate between the hundreds of candidates with an initial CV sift, followed by virtual interviews.

The danger is to rely on holding just one interview to assess candidates’ skills, values, commitment levels and possible development areas, as using this recruitment method is proven to only have a reliability factor of 0.07.  Additionally, managers often recruit applicants who are mirror images of themselves, which can mean they have the same personality traits and areas of improvement, which may not result in an effective working relationship or strong team dynamic. 

Initial screening utilizing robust online Talent Assessment Tools such as Personality Profiles and Occupational Tests  can provide an accurate overview of the likely working style, behaviours and potential of each candidate.  Gallup research suggests that a staggering 82% of companies surveyed feel they have made the wrong choice of hire, which can be a very costly mistake of reportedly between £130,000 - £200,000 for more senior roles in the UK.  So, the pressure is on to make the right decision!

The advice for holding a virtual job interview is similar to that given to candidates  regarding wearing suitable work attire and having a professional background to the video call, being competent with the technology, preparing and practicing and using open body language.  Now more than ever it’s important to get the right hires.  So here are some more tips on how to chair an online interview:

    1. Many of the world’s most successful companies use Competency Frameworks  for  recruitment, performance management, 360 Feedback Reviews  and development. The associated questions around key behaviours create a strong platform in order to align a candidate’s skills, values and experience with those required by the hiring company.  Competency Based Interviews can be more effective in identifying how an applicant is likely to behave in the role. 

    2. Use Open Questions and prepare them in advance, otherwise you may spend much of the time reading your notes, instead of Actively Listening to the candidate’s responses.

    3. Prepare follow up probing open questions regarding behaviours to challenge some responses and to find out more about what motivates the interviewee and what specific relevant skills and experience they would bring to the role, especially in these unprecedented times.  Follow up questions can identify soft skills, such as flexibility, resilience and emotional intelligence, which will be even more key in the future.

    4. Some companies record interviews; if this is the case, you will need to advise the candidate of this.  If not, make brief notes of key responses and if you are marking competencies, then ensure you follow your script and put the scores in the relevant boxes.

    5. Very importantly, make sure you read the candidate’s non-verbal cues as these can give away what they really think about the role.  For example, if the job involves a lot of travel or long hours, make that crystal clear.  If the applicant uses closed body language or looks away from the screen for a while, they may be uncomfortable with this and yet their answer may not match their body language.

    6. Even though you may be interviewing all day and suffering from screen fatigue, always show enthusiasm for the role and your organization. Although currently it’s an employer’s market, top talent  will still be assessing whether they want to work for your employer brand as opposed to your competitors, as well as weighing you up as their future line manager!  So, don’t put them off by coming across as jaded and as if you’re working through applications like a conveyer belt, which some applicants are reportedly starting to feel is the case.

    7. In an attempt to keep to time, try not to rush through the interview but listen intently, as you may miss the key response to a crucial question and again the interviewee may not feel valued. 

    8. Be honest about the challenges regarding the role, such as the uncertainty around returning to office working or the flexibility to work remotely.  A lack of honesty regarding the true aspects of the job are resulting in new hires leaving within the first 10 days, which is costly in terms of time, effort and money. 

    9. Appreciate that candidates may be very stressed at the moment and may be dealing with all sorts of challenges, such as a partner who has also been made redundant, a sick/shielding relative, or childcare issues.  Consequently, they may be more nervous than normal as they are so keen to be selected.

    10. At the end of the process, even if you’re desperate to hire, don’t rush the decision making.  Read through your notes and if you are uncertain as to the best candidate follow up with another interview and/or speak to your colleagues.  The wrong hiring decision cannot only be costly, it can create challenges of trying to ‘move on’ the managers who were employed too swiftly or without a robust recruitment process.  Poor managers and leaders can contribute to driving away quality talent as well as causing disengagement and damage to the brand and customer perception.  If you are still in doubt invest in some robust Assessment Tools. Companies who invest in them tend to have stronger brands, lower employee turnover and higher customer satisfaction levels.  According to Gallup, with the right management hires organisations can achieve 27% higher revenue per employee than the average. 

    By using a structured and scientific approach to selection with psychometric tests at all levels, organizations can predict future potential, obtain objective decisions, build strong initiatives in Talent Management and Succession Planning, tackle Unconscious Bias, as well as reducing future performance management issues.  With the right managers in place companies tend to see 70% higher engagement of their employees, as they are able to align their teams and performance with the strategy in order to improve overall effectiveness, staff retention and business performance.

    Good luck and stay safe!

    About Jill Maidment

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