Following her recent webinar with the NRF Skillnet we asked Olivia Galvin to put together this blog on ‘Candidate Management & Online Interview Skills”…
As we continue to adjust and develop our skills to ensure we are being effective during this pandemic, I’d like to share some thoughts with you around candidate management & online interviewing skills to add to your toolkit as a successful recruiter.
Candidate experience has always been a key ingredient in the world of the recruiter and in the current climate it is imperative that we are maximising our online communication interface with our candidate community. Whilst many of you may have been using Skype or other tools for candidate calls previously, we are now working in a world where we need to replace all of our face to face meetings with Skype/Zoom/Microsoft Teams etc.
Fortunately for the most part both ourselves and our candidates have the tools we need at our disposal and in my own work as a Business Coach I have been pleasantly surprised at how quickly rapport can be established and trust built when both parties are fully engaged and committed to the online process. Utilising video calling makes the interaction much more personal and enhances the experience for both parties.
The key here is to ensure you are working to an agreed structure for your online interviews in the same way as you would in a face to face meeting.
The following guidelines will help you to put this structure in place:
Preparation & Planning – the key is that you have a clear sense of what the purpose of this interview is, e.g. is this a general Interview to understand skills, knowledge and experience, or a specific screening call against a particular requisition you are working, or an interview preparation call for one of your clients? Whatever the purpose – always take time to prepare your questions in advance.
The Practical – double check the following: what technology you are using, do both parties have it downloaded, is your laptop charged, is the environment you are in conducive to this meeting, is there an agreed start and finish time.
Opening - Once the meeting starts – Introduce yourself, thank the candidate for attending and clarify the purpose of the call – this helps to build rapport and trust and ensure that the candidate understands the desired outcome of this meeting, invite the candidate to ask any questions he/she might have. Do your best to put your candidate at ease before moving on to the next stage.
Managing the Interview - remember this is for you to control. As mentioned above have your questions prepared – if this is a screening call, the candidate should be doing 80% of the talking as this is an information gathering exercise. Active listening is a key skill in the interview process and by being prepared you are ensuring you are fully present. This will allow you to pick up not only on what the candidate is saying but also on body language and any other cues you are getting from your candidate.
Noticing facial expressions/tone of voice etc. will inform you as to what your candidate is most adept at, what is it that they do really well and enjoy most, what makes this candidate unique.
Let your candidate know if you plan to take notes and explain the purpose of note taking. Where something needs further probing, ask your candidate to expand or give examples so that you are getting a better understanding of your candidate’s skills/experience.
Closing – Clarify what you have learned about the candidate’s skills, knowledge and experience. Give the candidate the opportunity to ask questions. Thank your candidate for their time and explain next steps.
And most importantly - always follow through on your commitments.
Remember, our decisions about our candidates will only be as good as the quality of the interviews we do.
Wishing you all the very best with your online interviews at this time.
Olivia Galvin is a Career & Personal Development Coach.