One of the most prevalent changes the pandemic has brought has been the working from home phenomenon – virtual interviews. Ellené Pienaar-Carstens Bizmod Resourcing Manager says that despite the easing of restrictions many businesses are not hurrying back to the office or instituting in-person meetings.
‘Nearly two years into the pandemic most of us are now not only comfortable with virtual meetings but we have also become accustomed to the ease of these meetings – slotting in an online meeting is much easier now without the previously required travel time, traffic delays and late comers,’ says Ellené.
Even though some organisations initially struggled with the online hiring process, most have embraced it by now and have actually found it to be a lot more practical. ‘Not only are you able to have people from different locations in the same “room” but there is now the possibility for a more in-depth hiring process. In some organisations prospective candidates are required to submit introductory videos or presentations before meeting the panel. Senior executives are now more readily available as well as more representatives from the organisation being able to be part of the process which helps when assessing the cultural fit from the candidates perspective and the employers.
For those naysayers who insist that meeting a candidate in person to assess them properly is necessary, Ellené says let’s not forget that there have been many wrong hiring decisions made in person.
She says that as with all interviews it is imperative that candidates and the interview panel are well-prepared. From the organisation’s perspective she recommends deciding in advance who will mediate the interview, who will handle various questions and what information will be shared. ‘As much as the candidate will want to impress prospective employers, there is also a need for the company to impress and now without the lure of glamorous offices organisations may need to work a little harder to attract the talent they want.’
A few tips for candidates are:
• Test your technology before to ensure that your device is fully charged, the data connection is good, you have access to the link and that your camera and microphone are working. If you are going to be presenting anything, test to make sure it will all work seamlessly.
• Create a professional environment without pets and other individuals in the area, your background should be neat so as not to provide a distraction. Headphones are a great way to further help block out noise.
• During the interview remember to dress professionally, just as you would if you were going to an in-person interview. Eye contact is vital, and it is important to create a rapport and engage.
Ellené suggests running a mock session with a friend. ‘Technology can be temperamental and even with the best intentions and preparedness things can go wrong, therefore having alternative options for device and data connections can be a huge relief should things go wrong.’
Lastly, she recommends that ending the session with a quick and concise overview of the value you will bring to the position will leave the interviewer with a lasting impression.