Could the interview process go online?

As Covid-19 sweeps through the modern world and strict social distancing policies come into play, more of our population are being asked to work from home. With empty offices and reduced movement of people, how can we still hire the best talent into our businesses?

Remote interviewing

Video conferencing tools like Skype, Google Hangouts and Zoom, to name a few, have often been used in the early stages of candidate screening. But in a more remote working world, could the interview process move to an entirely online setup?

We explore the pros and cons of using online technology to recruit new talent.

How could an online hiring process benefit recruitment?

Using technology during the interview stage is not a new thing. Many employers will do screening phone or video calls to determine whether an individual has the skills required for the job before inviting them in for a face to face. It’s a tried and tested method.

However, if we were to take the whole process and make it digital, how might it benefit you?

Firstly, taking the process online could help you streamline your interview process and reduce the time to hire. By using video conferencing tools, you make it easier for everyone who needs to be in that interview to join, taking away the need for any more than two interview stages. Plus, it’s easier to schedule an online interview than face to face, meaning you can interview sooner and more efficiently.

It will also help combat any unconscious bias of the hiring manager. Whilst it won’t eliminate it completely, and training your hiring managers to recognise their own unconscious bias is key, using video interviews allows for more candidates to be interviewed, more people to join the interview and check each other’s bias; and removes any geographical or social limitations for the individual being interviewed.

As well as doing online interviews using conferencing tools, you could also ask candidates to complete a video interview. With a video interview, you set a number of questions which a candidate must film their answers to.

A key benefit of using video interviews is that you relieve yourself or the hiring manager of time spent screening these candidates whilst giving the candidate a better user experience. By completing a video interview, they will feel engaged and valued whilst learning more about your organisation, ultimately making them more likely to remain in the candidate pool.

Video interviews give you the chance to find out more about them than what you can see on paper. It brings the candidates to life, making it easier to decide whether someone is a good cultural fit or right for the role. It also helps eliminate unconscious bias as many eyes can watch the same recorded video.

Once they’ve passed this stage, you can easily invite them for a live conference call to speak to them directly.

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Why might some still call for a face to face?

Through the use of video interviews and conferencing tools, you can get a brilliant idea of who your potential recruits are and help curb some of the potential biases that arise from face to face interviews.

However, some will still argue that face to face is required. A key part of the interview stage is testing someone’s punctuality and how they conduct themselves in the interview. Whilst lots of businesses are recognising that these aren’t always measures of a candidates ability to do the job, to some hiring managers they are important.

Some may argue that you can only test these two things through a face to face interview. It’s easy to roll out of bed, put on a shirt and join a video call, but punctuality is really tested if a candidate has to travel an hour in rush hour traffic and still present themselves well and on time for the interview.

Hiring managers may also argue that they are unable to go with their gut if video interviews are used. Whilst these are a great way of screening people, we are social beings and usually need some in person contact to make our minds up about an individual. Some hiring managers might not be comfortable going with the best candidate in principle if they fear they might not connect with them once they’re in the office.

There are many benefits to using technology in the interview process - especially to screen candidates and help combat any bias. However, I think there will be a continual uphill battle against hiring managers who want to get a real feel for a candidate before they hire them.

If you have any hiring needs and would like to discuss with one of our recruitment experts, please get in touch by calling 020 8267 5805 or email peoplemanagementjobs@haymarket.com

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