A friend of mine is actively looking for a new job. I’ve helped her to spruce up her CV and I was thrilled to hear that she had secured her first interview. What I was not so happy to hear was that this first incredibly important interview was to be held over the phone. Urgh.
When we’re surrounded by video technology in our home lives (Facetime, Facebook video calling etc.) why are organisations still using the phone to conduct interviews with candidates when they have a vast range of web conferencing solutions available to them?
Hearing that my friend would not be able to look into the eyes of her potential new boss and use the power of body language to reinforce her excitement for the opportunity, I felt disappointed that a video meeting tool such as GoToMeeting wouldn’t be used. Is it because people are afraid of such technology? If that’s the case – they really shouldn’t be. It’s simple and quite honestly, brilliant!
If it’s not the right time to hold a face-to-face interview and the phone seems like your best alternative, please consider these three reasons why you should use the likes of GoToMeeting to conduct an interview.
It’s a better experience for both you and them
Imagine you’re calling a close friend or family member. You have some good news to share and you decide to use Facetime or something similar so you can see their reaction. We naturally use this type of technology in our private lives and we should be doing the same in our professional environments.
Using an online meeting tool offers an enriched experience to both the recruiter and the candidate as it offers both parties the ability to see each other via webcams. As the interviewer – you can see the excitement (or lack of) in a candidate’s eyes and facial expressions. And if you notice that they look somewhat confused by a question, you may choose to re-phrase it immediately – on the telephone, all you get is an awkward silence. We’re used to analysing body language to look beyond what someone is saying verbally, so webcams are a big win when it comes to interviewing.
Using something like GoToMeeting also offers both interviewer and interviewee the chance to share their screen. I’ve done this personally when interviewing a candidate in Australia. I hadn’t planned to, but it seemed appropriate to show my screen and direct the person to a specific part of our website. I did this to help elaborate on a point I was making. Showing is a powerful way to help demonstrate something visually. And I think most of us are now familiar with the idea that when we are shown something, it’s often faster and easier to understand and remember than when we are simply told.
So webcams and screen sharing are two ways that online meetings can help to improve the interviewing experience. And one more bonus – you often have the option to use VOiP which means free audio, so you don’t even have to pay for the phone call.
It provides candidates with their first test
Online meetings (or web conferencing / video conferencing – there are a few different names that people use for this type of technology) could be one way for you to see how well your candidate deals with instructions. Granted it’s not particularly difficult, but still – it could be seen as a simple test of their ability to problem solve and follow instructions.
Before the interview, you will email them a joining link for them to click on at the relevant time and details of any equipment they may need – such as a phone, tablet or computer, a webcam and headphones with a microphone (Apple headphones come with a built-in microphone).
Are they able to join the meeting without any help from you? Do they join early in order to ensure that their audio and webcam are set up correctly? How do they get on with technology? Do they need to problem-solve or have they communicated any questions or problems they are having? Or perhaps they join first-time with no issues whatsoever. You can learn a lot from asking someone to join an interview via video conferencing and it might provide an initial glimpse into how they work.
It allows you to record the meeting and share with others
Many online meeting tools allow you to record audio and your screen. How brilliant is that? It’s undoubtedly one of the many benefits of using this technology as opposed to the phone. But one thing you must do is ask the candidate for their permission prior to pressing that button. Most should be happy for you to do so, but it’s always best to check – it also shows a sense of professionalism and consideration on your part – remember that they’re not the only ones being interviewed here!
You can then share the recording with colleagues post-interview and even review the recording back should you wish. Particularly handy if you’re holding the interview at a time that may not be so convenient for other managers.
Wrapping it up
These are just three reasons why I think that online meetings win over the phone when it comes to interviews – and there are undoubtedly more. We all need to evolve in the workplace – and this is one opportunity where you can use technology to improve the experience for you, for your candidates whilst also showing what a forward-thinking organisation they could be working for. Do it!