The COVID-19 pandemic brought the entire world to a stop, and that included most hiring and recruitment activities as well. However, as we now emerge from this crisis and try to adapt to the new normal, businesses and recruiters are looking at new and innovative ways to continue hiring during COVID times.
As always, technology has come to our rescue. Amidst the rising popularity of remote working, videoconferencing and video interviews are gaining traction as viable recruiting procedures.
In fact, according to a Gartner survey, around 86% of organizations these days are utilizing video conferencing for hiring during the COVID pandemic. So, if you’re new to the whole video conferencing situation, here are a few best practices to help you out.
Best Practices for Hiring Managers and Candidates During COVID Times
As intimidating as it seems, you have no reason to worry about hiring and interviewing during the COVID pandemic. All you need are these video interview tips.
Do a Test Run
Just as you would do several practice runs before an important speech or presentation, it’s a good idea to do a test run for your interview beforehand. This practice is good for hiring managers as well as candidates. Employers can do a mock interview within the organization to ensure everything is running smoothly, and they won’t face any trouble when interviewing the actual candidates.
Similarly, candidates at home can hold mock interviews over their computer with friends or family. This will give them a chance to get familiar with the interviewing process as well as test their system.
During the test run, it’s important to check the operation of all the equipment and other important accessories. This includes the camera, microphone, a stable internet connection, and anything else needed for the virtual interview.
Ensure Proper Physical Conditions
This is another best practice that applies to hiring managers and candidates both. Just because you’re hiring during COVID times doesn’t mean you don’t need to ensure some basic physical conditions. You can’t have a messy table or an inappropriate background showing through the camera. Things like these can also count towards your first impression.
Therefore, make sure that you have a neat table in front of the camera, a plain background, plenty of lighting, and no disruptions. There shouldn’t be anything distracting either the candidate or interviewer.
Exclusive Tips for Candidates
Control Background Noise
Excessive noise can also be a big disrupting factor during video interviews. This could be due to traffic noises coming from sitting near a window or even barking pets at home. Whatever the source of the noise is, it’s a good idea to try and keep it at a minimal level. This means conducting the interview from a quiet room that won’t be disturbed by other people or pets.
Bonus Tip: If you can’t control the background noises as much as you’d like, you can use them to your advantage. Show the employer how you can work effectively and efficiently even when there are so many distractions around.
One of the most important video interview tips is to maintain professionalism. Since the interview is not held in a physical setting, some candidates can get too comfortable and start losing their professionalism by using informal language or performing inappropriate behaviors. That’s a big no-no.
Instead, you should try to be as professional as you would in a physical interview. Dress the part, and this does not mean wearing a coat on top with no pants below. You don’t want to take the risk of showcasing your pajama bottoms during a formal interview. Alternatively, you can also check out the culture of the company beforehand and dress accordingly.
Be Mindful of Body Language
Body language is also as crucial during virtual interviews as it is during physical interviews. It can show the hiring manager how confident, nervous, comfortable, or professional you are during the interview. Therefore, even if you’re sitting at home in front of a screen, you have to be constantly mindful of your body language. This means no fidgeting around, moving your hands too much or shifting in your chair constantly. All these can give off a bad impression.
Additionally, we don’t recommend sitting entirely still and rigid as a board either. Your body should appear relaxed yet professional and comfortable yet attentive.
Furthermore, another vital aspect of body language is eye contact. Just because no one is sitting in front of you doesn’t mean you can look all around. Make sure you are constantly maintaining eye contact with the interviewer. Keep the camera at eye level so that you don’t have to strain your head upwards or downwards the whole time. Keep a polite smile on your face and nod to acknowledge what your interviewer is saying.
Give a Good First Impression
The most important interview tip we could give you is to give a good first impression. As a candidate, even if you do make mistakes, a good first impression can help cover it all up. Therefore, do your research on the company, stay focused during the interview, and ask questions yourself too. Here are some other tips to succeed at your next job interview.
Exclusive Tips for Hiring Managers
Provide Detailed Instructions
When hiring during COVID times, companies need to remember that most candidates might not be necessarily familiar with most videoconferencing platforms and generally, with digital interviews. Therefore, hiring managers need to be extra clear and detailed in communicating the interview information and process.
They have to be clear regarding which platform they’ll be using, Skype, Zoom, SparkHire, Google Hangouts, etc. Moreover, they need to clarify whether the platform will have to be installed or can be accessed from a normal computer browser. They also need to inform the candidates if they have to sign up and create a profile beforehand. Interview timings, who will be starting the interview and how long it’s expected to last must also be communicated.
Account for Technical Difficulties in Budgeting Interviewing Time
Following up on the previous point, there are always chances for some technical problems occurring, on the employer or the candidate’s end. Something could be unclear, which could lead to an interview running later than planned.
If extra time isn’t budgeted into your overall interviewing schedule for the day, one late interview could affect all the interviews, creating a lot of disruption and casting a bad impression of the company. Therefore, account for time wasted on technical problems when budgeting time for each interview.
Set Up Separate Meeting Room/Links
This won’t be much of a problem if you plan to hold just one interview. However, when you’re planning to hold several interviews in a day or at a time, the best practice would be to set up separate meeting rooms or send out different interview links to the candidates. This saves you from any accidents involving another candidate joining someone else’s interview meeting by mistake. This can fluster both candidates as well as the interviewer. With separate interview links, you can prevent this from happening and ensure smooth interviews of every candidate.
Have a Backup Plan
Things don’t always go according to plan, and instead of panicking when something happens, it’s better to have a backup plan in place. Perhaps the servers at your company go down, leaving you unable to conduct the interviews. In that case, perhaps you could reach out to the candidates by phone and let them know of the situation, and reschedule the interview at a later date. Little things like these can help you better prepare for the entire interviewing and hiring during COVID times and maintain control over the situation.
Keep the Interview Structured
Hiring managers also need to maintain professionalism on their end by preparing for the interview and keeping it structured according to an agenda. They should plan how the interview will go, the sequence of questions, important topics to cover, etc. This will ensure a smoother interview and save time as well.
Additionally, especially during the COVID times, we would also recommend making the interview a tad more personable. They could start the interview by asking candidates how they’ve been faring with the pandemic situation and inquire after their family’s health.
Hiring during COVID times can be a struggle for employers and employees alike. The digital interview and videoconferencing platforms can feel uncomfortable and foreign. However, these are the future as more and more companies are adapting their recruitment process to support remote and virtual exchanges.
Hence, if you want to handle the entire recruiting and interviewing process quickly and smoothly and achieve the best results, follow the above-mentioned tips. If you’re looking for a committed hiring partner to carry out your hiring efficiently during these pandemic times, reach out to us at email@example.com. We’ll get back to you right away.