The Video Interview: Improving the Hiring Experience During the Pandemic

The process of hiring, even pre-COVID, has included the occasional video interview, which has been an excellent option for when time and/or logistics get in the way of a face-to-face meeting. And then along came 2020, a year when the entire recruitment and interview process (in addition to pretty much everything else) was turned sideways.

So, with videoconferencing now occupying a much larger portion of the interviewing process, employers must pay attention to the process and do what they can to have their company stands out.

An estimated 83% of candidates say that a negative or unorganized interview experience can change their mind about a job they initially were excited about, according to a report published on LinkedIn.

Add to that the uncertainty of virtual meetings as opposed to in-person, and it all adds up to the need for hiring managers and human resources personnel to think outside the box and create an engaging candidate experience from a distance.

So, how can you as an employer in the technology sector accommodate a pandemic while still maintaining a practical and thorough hiring protocol that will be well-received by the candidate? Here are a few ideas.

Create a virtual presentation

Since you can’t provide the candidate with a tour of the organization, instead set up a virtual visit. Build a presentation that includes priority details – including a “walk” through the office, a snapshot of the candidate’s potential workstation, and the break room, for example. Include your organization’s mission, vision and core values and take it a step further by adding photos (or recorded video messages) from the team members that your new hire would work with once on board. While this is not quite the same as an on-site visit, it’s a close second. And it speaks to your desire to make the interviewee comfortable and provide a memorable snapshot of your company culture.

Redesign the technical evaluation

The technical aspect when looking for a professional in the tech field is a non-negotiable component of the candidate screening process. Give the potential new hire the opportunity to showcase their abilities by handing over the reins and letting them share their screen. You could ask them ahead of time to prepare a portfolio for presentation during the interview or have them complete job-specific tasks during the interview and share their screen in real time. Two important notes, though – be sure to give the candidate a heads up about this component prior to the interview and have a member of your organization who is skilled in the technical aspects of the job on hand.

Deliver a keepsake to improve the interview experience

Video interviews can feel disconnected, leaving the candidate looking for a way to relate to the company’s culture and engage from a distance. Mailing a simple, inexpensive keepsake prior to the interview is one impressive way to make a prospective hire feel like he/she is part of the family. Consider:

  • A handwritten note that extends congratulations on landing the interview and also lets them know you and the team look forward to meeting them
  • A book that members of the company have read together or that you feel is a good representation of your company culture
  • A gift card for coffee with a note that says, “Since we couldn’t pour you a cup before your interview, we sent you the next best thing.”
  • A swag bag with company logo gifts … a pen, notebook, water bottle, and t-shirt, for example.

Send a gollow-up note

After the interview – whether you plan to offer the candidate the job or not – send a card by snail mail, thanking them for sharing their time and aspirations with you. Let them know exactly what to expect going forward. For example, “This is a tough decision, but we’re hoping to select a candidate by the end of the week, so we’ll call you then.”

Make the offer face-to-face

When a candidate has missed out on the opportunity for direct engagement during an interview, the actual offer should be innovative, complimentary and completely focused on the new hire. Saying “you got the job” through email or on the phone just won’t cut it. Choose Zoom or another video platform to make the face-to-face offer and don’t forget to share:

  • How impressed you were with the new hire’s core values and alignment during the interview process
  • How excited you are to have them join the team
  • How pleased you would be if the offer is accepted

So much has changed in the way we conduct business (and our lives in general) over the past year. What has not changed, however, is the need for organizations to practice the due diligence necessary to bring on the right people…while at the same time providing candidates with a clear view of all your company has to offer.

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Greg Walsh is the founder of ZenRidge, a recruiting firm specializing in helping growing companies hire top tech talent.