Beware the zoom interview
Remember the days when you’d get candidates in for a job interview, shake their hand (no elbow bumps or sanitiser in sight) and spend an hour listening to why they’re the ideal team player for your business? Fast-forward to summer ‘21 and the modern-day interview looks a lot different, and not necessarily for the better.
Last year, 86% of companies were conducting interviews via video calls. The pandemic forced people online, and the majority of organisations were using new tech to onboard employees.
We’ve all got used to them. They were great for lockdown quizzes, useful for quick check-ins with remote workers, a game-changer for presenting to external clients with screen share functionality. But as we step back into the office, are they really still the way forward when it comes to job interviews? I’m not so sure.
While this handy video tool is helping us to stay connected as we navigate a more remote way of working, people are now beginning to experience ‘Zoom fatigue’, especially when it comes to interviewing candidates.
Whilst many team leaders still see the value in a remote interview process, from a candidate perspective it can be harder to make a good first impression — particularly where there may be multiple people on the call.
Think about it, it’s easy for a handful of staff who all know one another well, to jump on a Zoom and quiz Candidate A on their skillset. But let’s think for a moment about how Candidate A might be feeling:
- Overwhelmed: it’s a me vs them situation
- Frustrated: it might be hard to get a word in
- Impersonal: you’re talking at them rather than to them
- Awkward: it’s a lot harder for someone unfamiliar with a group of people to be able to build a successful rapport with everyone without a face-to-face interaction
Put simply, it’s far easier to address more than one team member when you're in the same room as them. Add to the fact they’re trying to sell themselves to you and what you actually have is a concoction of awkward silences, speaking over one another and a lack of real human interaction — and that’s providing you don’t have any internet connection issues!
The last thing you want is to lose a potentially perfect candidate because they were unable to make the best first impression they could with the barrier of a screen and the possible lack of rapport due to the inability to successfully address multiple people at once without the opportunity to ‘read the room’ in-person.
So what do you do?
Want to start off on the right foot? It’s simple — get them in the building. Granted that might not be possible for everyone, say for instance you’re recruiting someone from overseas. But at the end of the day, nothing will beat human contact. You may find that you want to carry out an initial remote interview first, but definitely follow up with an in-person second interview.
If you can’t be in-person, then make sure you avoid the risk of the negative feelings mentioned above. Help them to not feel overwhelmed in your delivery; send them a friendly message prior to the Zoom call saying you’re looking forward to speaking with them, and keep a friendly tone on the call. Avoid any frustration by letting them have their air time. Make it personal by striking up a conversation so it’s not all business, and it’ll help both of you to feel more relaxed. Lastly, try to avoid multiple people on the call so it’s less awkward for the candidate — save this for the second interview if you can.