Hiring the perfect candidate often means looking outside the local pool of prospects. This could mean considering people from a different town, state, or even country. That means in-person job interviews often aren’t a realistic option for the prospective employer or employee.
And while phone interviews can work for initial screens of candidates, no one really wants to make a decision solely using that method.
Job interviews by video conference
Video job interviews have become one of the most popular options for interviewing a candidate remotely. It gives both parties a chance to read the body language of the person they are speaking with and provides a more accurate understanding of the personality of the speaker than what can be accomplished with other mediums.
Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation, frequently utilizes video conferencing for interviewing potential employees. She says they’re most successful when the interviews are conducted in a one-on-one setting, which is not how she conducts interviews in person.
She explains, “We tend to interview with a few interviewees in person to create a discussion-like environment, but this can be complex on video conferencing or Skype. We also try to limit it to a shorter initial interview to screen the candidate right away and then follow up with a more detailed interview with additional interviewers from our company if the candidate has the potential to be a strong match.”
It is this willingness to adapt to the technology being used that can make an alternative to traditional job interviews successful. Employers will likely need to experiment with the format and tweak their interviewing methodology to achieve the best results.
Trial runs becoming more common
Most job seekers interviewing remotely are likely familiar with the role independent contractors play in today’s businesses. This format of paying for one project at a time has led to a number of companies using a single project as a way to evaluate potential employees rather than traditional job interviews.
Nathan Kontny, CEO of Highrise HQ, says job interviews are a terrible indicator of success. Instead, he prefers to pay people for a small project upfront. He said, “What we do is find a few top candidates and we pay them for a one week mini project and see what they come back with. It’s not cheap, but it’s worse to hire someone who doesn’t work out.”
He noted that there are some companies that use a similar approach but expect the candidates to complete the project for free. He doesn’t recommend this because the best candidates are not going to be willing to give away their time and energy without compensation.
A willingness to invest in potential employees may seem like a risky proposition, especially for smaller companies. However, it is an efficient way to see the true quality of a candidates work, their ability to follow instructions, and if the type of work they produce is a good fit for the company.
There’s an app for that
The explosive growth of the internet and smartphone use has led to a dramatic increase of companies producing interview platforms. These are less well known but worth considering if the service fits with the requirements of a company.
Jon-Mark Sabel, content strategist at HireVue, explains the premise of the company’s offering. “HireVue offers the ability to scale interviewing by allowing candidates to record themselves responding to questions on demand and at their leisure using a webcam or smartphone.”
Interviewers are able to share the candidate’s responses with one another to achieve a consensus in the hiring process. It also provides a certain amount of structure and removes potential bias from the process. Since the questions are asked without any personal interaction, interviewers cannot subconsciously ask leading questions that may give some candidates an unfair advantage.
There are several approaches to conducting a text-based interview. The most common over the past decade has been via email. Employers will exchange several emails with potential candidates to determine how well they may fit within the company culture. More recently, text messaging and messaging apps such as Facebook messenger and direct messages on LinkedIn have been utilized.
The newest company to leverage this trend is Canvas. It allows employers to ask candidates their own questions or choose from a template. The exchange can happen in real time on the computer or a phone and transcripts can be easily shared with team members to make discussing individual candidates easier.
No matter what form the interview takes, candidates should dress nicely, speak professionally, and focus on answering questions asked rather than the ones they prepared for, the experts say. While the ways in which interviews are conducted may have changed, the best practices for acing an interview have not.