Article by Michael Page
A company working remotely, or with only essential staff in the office, will still have hiring and headcount needs. Although growth may be lower due to the economic uncertainty of COVID-19, it doesn’t mean you can’t hire – it just means it’s more crucial to be agile and adapt the hiring process to your current situation.
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The first step in ensuring organisations can still function during uncertain times is to adapt current business continuity plans. It should include the framework for infrastructure that can support working remotely, how team structures will adapt, and how essential support will work.
Many first-round interviews are already conducted virtually as a normal part of the hiring process, whether over the phone or through email. And with social distancing, many recruitment firms like Michael Page immediately switched to virtual interviews and meetings for candidates and clients – demonstrating that we can utilise technology that we’ve always had.
And prepare to make the entire process virtual – like onboarding and induction – as our country’s lockdown continues.
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Tips for conducting successful virtual interviews
Test your tech
Especially if you’re using technology that’s new to your organisation, set up a test call with a colleague to ensure that microphones and cameras are working properly, and that you know the ins and outs of the new software and how to troubleshoot if needed.
Prepare the candidates
Ensure the candidate is well-prepared by including essential details in the interview invite. Include technical tips, ensure the time zone is correct, let them know of any programs they need to download. Also send them a backup audio line to dial into if something goes wrong with the program you are using.
Be precise and detailed
Just like an in-person interview, prepare the candidate with an outline of what to expect, including information such as: how long the call will take, who they will be virtually meeting with, key points of discussion.
Focus on the parts that matter
One downside to video interviews is that you can’t rely as much on non-verbal communication or cues to evaluate a candidate. Keep in mind the factors that can make virtual interviews feel awkward, such as delays between the two parties speaking, a blurry video feed and miscommunications. Focus on what the candidate is saying and their experiences, not those awkward moments.
Don’t ignore employer branding
Even virtually, keep thinking of ways for your unique employer branding to come through. Be creative, this can mean creating a welcome video for candidates to view before or after the interview, or even something like using VR to give virtual office tours.
As with an in-person interview, follow up with an email that includes information on: next steps in the interview process and the timeline. Also ask for feedback either directly or with a survey about how the virtual interview process can be improved.