By nature of my work I interview a lot. Up until lockdown, where possible, I would meet interviewees in the flesh. After all, it's much like taking a brief from a client - it's harder to gauge people when you don't have the opportunity to allow the conversation to flow and breathe.
However, interviewers have been forced into the modern alternative of virtual interviewing due to the virus. During this time I would estimate that I have interviewed around 30 people for positions Collingwood is retained on.
Although they may seem obvious, there are common shortfalls I am seeing crop up frequently, which put the interviewee on the back foot. My main observations are:
- Candidates not preparing how they ordinarily would if the interview was in the flesh. I've had a large number of candidates who have not truly understood the person specification or company history. The same people have not researched key people within the organisation I am representing. All this stands out like a sore thumb and you will have to really impress me to be put forward.
- Not preparing key questions, or even having a pad and paper to hand. My preliminary interview is the perfect opportunity to bleed as much information out of me about the role and client as you can. Use the opportunity wisely. Another advantage to asking the interviewer in-depth, well prepared questions is that it signals your seriousness and knowledge around the subject. For example, I have been interviewing for three highly technical roles recently and asking questions that go beyond the "skin deep" of the subject tells me that you know your subject (oddly, although you're asking me questions, such questions demonstrates your knowledge of the niche area).
- Environment and house keeping - Irrespective of medium being used, make sure you're visible before the meeting - sharing usernames, marking yourself as "available" on the software, etc. Confirm dress code ahead of time to save embarrassment. Ensure you're in a good WiFi spot and your backdrop is suitable - no dirty laundry in the background.
Oddly, I sense that people under estimate the importance of these virtual interviews and thus a lot of the above bad habits have crept in. They are easy to resolve and will make for a more polished experience for both parties.
We have become very used to virtual or video interviewing during the last 5 or so years as our clients want to reduce travel costs whilst also speeding up their recruitment processes. For many though, not meeting candidates face to face is an uncomfortable situation and so here are my 8 top tips on creating an effective and enjoyable virtual interview.