Should People Go Back Into The Office And Interview?

Can it be ‘green for go’ when it comes to office interviews?

How comfortable are you interviewing in the office? Or should the question be: at what point will you feel comfortable interviewing in the office?

These are questions that must be asked. A lot of people seem to be squeamish about broaching the subject and that is totally understandable. No one wants to look like the bad guy and feel like they are forcing people into dangerous situations.

Now we are not saying that video interviewing needs to stop. They have kept people safe and have been so powerful for the continuity of business. Video interviews will always have a place and a purpose somewhere.

Now before we go on, no candidates or interviewers should feel pressured to do an interview face-to-face. This must be made clear and they must be given the choice of face-to-face or video. If a face-to-face interview happens, it must be located in a private space outside or in a very well-ventilated, spacious area indoors. The participants should be a few metres apart. Masks should be worn. Hand sanitiser should be freely available. Guidelines must be followed.

Now you may be asking why people should be interviewing face-to-face and the simple reason is because we are reaching a point where video interviews are not working as they should.

Being honest, there has always been something lacking in video interviews, and it wasn’t the bad connections or the dodgy webcams or audio trouble. It has been that they do not help you represent your company well enough to the candidate.

Candidates don’t really know about your company. They can look at your website and they can check your social media but they do not know how your business feels. They don’t know the vibe of the office. There is a big difference between how you represent your company digitally, and how your business is in real life.

What differentiates you from the other companies who are interviewing in the exact same way? Nothing. The disconnectedness of the situation feels universal. Whatever else you think about interviews, they are a performance, and if you can’t give a good performance, you will not impress. People have stopped switching on their cameras when chatting as the constant availability at work has led to a kind of webcam fatigue. And that is before we even talk about how tech issues can add an extra, unneeded layer of tension to the proceedings. Having a camera positioned above a computer screen can also lead to distractions, as some interviewers still check emails instead of giving their full attention, like they would be forced to if in a face-to-face.

Candidates are rejecting higher offers for reasons other than money. The same Covid-19 that kickstarted the necessity for video interviews has also sparked a reassessment of priorities. The marketplace has gone ballistic and everyone wants the top quality prospects but if it looks like you aren’t bothered or can’t differentiate yourself from any other company, they will choose another option. This only gets worse, the more specialised the candidate is.

The companies that will be most successful hiring new candidates will be the ones who get around video interviews somehow. Whatever form this takes, it will overtake video interviews through the sheer need for a deeper experience. We are human beings and we need these types of interactions to feel like we belong. Just because people are working from home, doesn’t mean they don’t long for connection. Would you take a job if you felt no connection to that company at all?

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

Are Companies Wasting Their Job Candidates’ Time?

For job candidates, time can feel like it is ebbing away

As a hiring manager, does it feel like you never stop interviewing? As a candidate, does it feel like interviewing never ends? What is the normal amount of candidates to take through to interview stage and how many interviews does it take to know which candidate is the right one?

Those in recruiting circles rarely talk about these topics as they are considered a standard part of the business of recruitment. Typically, 6-10 people are brought through to interview and those who are, should expect to face 2-3 rounds of interview but it can lead to 5 or more.

If can be disheartening when, as a candidate, you find out about another round of interviews, after you aced the first and second. It is even worse when, after jumping through all of those hoops, it all ends in rejection, especially when you felt that you dazzled them and answered every question.

The major confusion comes when a candidate imagines the path to a job. Their imagined path will probably contain seven steps from searching for the job vacancy to sending resume and cover letter to the invite to the interview to accepting the offer to starting work. In reality, there are many more steps in the process and when facing ten or more steps, the candidate can start to lose hope. This is amplified exponentially if the process goes on for over a month.

Thanks to a glut of CVs being sent in for jobs on online recruiting platforms and an explosion in the number or generalist recruiters, there now requires more of a ‘whittling down’ of the prospects. So, weirdly, it is no walk in the park for the hiring manager either.

Recently, with the Covid-19 crisis, more managers have been exposed to video interviewing, so now, in addition to the first phone interview, there are now multiple rounds of video interviews, made easier by services like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. In the past, there were people who were difficult to wrangle into the same location, but now they can join from anywhere with an internet connection. It feels though, that because the interviews are not face-to-face, that sometimes hiring managers might feel more hesitant to say yes to a candidate, which leads to more rounds, just to make sure. In large firms, the decision may not just be up to one individual so the hiring pipeline is blocked further.

Due to the internet, and the ease in which people can apply for jobs or can be headhunted, the prospects can be snapped up for other roles before HR can say ‘second interview’, which throws more uncertainty into the mix.

Some hiring managers are now moving away from the rigidity of the 6-10 rule and are arranging to interview candidates they are interested in as soon as they see a resume that catches their eye. This is down to both the fact that video interviews make things easier to arrange, and also, due to the fact that they are desperate to fill positions, especially when it comes to Cloud, Data and AI. They will then likely park the candidate they like until other candidates crop up, then they compare. This can be excruciating for the candidate who genuinely made a great impression. The problem is that they may fade in the memory of the interviewer over that time.

With an average of 250 applicants for every job, managers need to thin the herd. First they either look through, or use software to sift through, the CVs. Then come the phone interviews to thin it even further, with managers looking for tell-tale signs in a not-so-formal setting. Perhaps the candidate trips up over what is on their resume. If you are in the top 2-3% who actually make it through to the next interview, that means you have a good chance of getting the job.

Other factors can affect whether you actually get that job, of course, including cultural fit, primary traits the managers think will work within the role, salary etc.

To answer the question whether companies are wasting candidates’ time, there is no answer other than how the candidate feels. There are reasons behind the long-drawn-out process, yet some recruiters are changing with the old ways and the future is looking brighter for both candidates and hiring managers.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

Top Tips For Conducting Video Interviews

man suit video interview
Taking care with presentation is very important

A lot more interviews are being conducted via video, be it Skype or Zoom or another system and Hiring Managers who may be unfamiliar with the format may be missing out on great candidates due to a lack of organisation or fear of the new way of doing things. We have compiled some points to make the two-way video interview a lot easier.

1. To pre-screen or not to pre-screen?

Pre-screening interviews are now taking place much more often in the time of Covid and seem to be edging out phone interviews as the first step of the recruitment interview process.

Setting up a one-way interview where the prospective candidate answers questions in order to find whether they are a good enough fit to put through to the two-way video interview can work for some companies and not for others. It is generally thought to suit entry-level candidates rather than those with a lot of experience under their belts. Entry-level prospects can be sifted through with minimal resources whereas experienced candidates may be surprised that they have not been put through to a two-way interview based on their CV. If you have a large number of candidates, a pre-screening one-way interview will be most helpful. There should not be too many questions, so that the answers given can be compared and contrasted easily, and the questions should be of a more surface level variety, perhaps focusing on their goals or academia. This is not the place to go in-depth. There should be a practice question to put the candidate at ease with the process and the candidate should be allowed to choose their best ‘take’.

If candidates do not make it through to the next round, the interviews are still a treasure trove of data to help your recruitment in the future. Another reason why the pre-screen is a good idea is because it can make candidates more confident with the process going forward. It stream-lines communications and allows candidates to take part at a time of the day that best suits them.

2. Who, Where, Why, What and How?

Interview questions should be prepared in advance and cover all of the topics you want to include. There should be a mix between hard and soft skill questions, product or company knowledge, previous work experience, personality and ambitions. You must always factor in the time that it will take to ask and answer these questions when selecting a timeframe for the interview schedule. Too short a time and you will have to move onto the next interview before you have fully ascertained that the current candidate is a great fit for the company.

The types of questions used should be ‘Background’, which analyse their academic success and career highlights, ‘Ambitions’, looking at whether their desires for the new role are well-founded or unrealistic and ‘Expectations’, which analyse whether the candidate would be a good fit within the company’s culture.

3. Body Talking

When asking questions one should always be looking at the webcam, rather than the screen. As with a face-to-face interview, during an video interview, breaking of eye-contact or a lack of eye-contact can seem to signal deception, even if that is not the case. You should be sitting in a comfortable chair and be sitting up straight, not hunched over.

Your body language should be open. In addition, you should close all of the other browser windows and mute any alerts, as the candidate will become distracted if you become distracted. Also, make sure to smile when appropriate in order to put the candidate at ease.

4. Setting the Scene

The webcam should be set at eye-level. You may need to put some heavy books or sturdy boxes underneath it to physically lift up your laptop. Just having the laptop on a desk below and you tilting the screen up will result in the camera pointing upwards so the candidate will get a good view right up your nose. That angle can also make the candidate nervous as it appears you are looking down at them from on high.

You should choose a well-lit space, whether it is well-lit by artificial or sunlight coming in through a window in front of you. Try not to select a space where the window is behind you as this can cause an effect known as ‘silhouetting’ which means the background will be bright, but you will be in shadows. This is not a good look when a candidate needs to see your expressions to know whether the interview is going well.

Furniture and other distractions in the background behind you should be moved around to avoid artwork that is too eye-catching, any kind of data that those who do not work at the company should not be privy to or random rubbish which makes the place look untidy and unprofessional.

5. Safety First

You should always make sure that the meeting is strictly just between yourself and the candidate. You should ensure that all other chat windows are closed, that no one can intrude with the interview either online through the video platform or in the room you are based in. Just because it is taking place over videolink does not mean it should be taken any less seriously than any other meeting or that data entrusted to you should be shown to third parties.

6. Return of the Mic

Make sure that your mic is muted if you want to discuss the candidate during the call but ideally, you will wait until the interview is over so that you have all the details you need and also to avoid incidents like the director who criticised the actor’s home during a skype call and the teachers belittling the students who made a presentation, all on open mic for the subjects of their ridicule to hear.

The level of professionalism that you would conduct yourself with during a face-to-face interview must be the same as within a video interview environment. Just because you are not in the room with the candidate, it does not mean that they are an abstract concept. They are real human beings with real feelings.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.