– a Recruiter based in Switzerland
Whether in person or online, the job interview is an opportunity to know each other better. When a candidate is disengaged during the conversation (meaning, s/he doesn’t pay attention, loses track of the questions, doesn’t have questions about the company or the role for the recruiter) or is unprepared on his/her own professional experience, the mind of the recruiter takes note. These are all red flags that might preclude the candidate from receiving an invitation to continue with the recruitment process. (Note that a skilled recruiter is able to tell if a candidate is distracted even on a phone call without video.)
An efficient interview has a skill check for competencies and a behavioral check for fit. These can take place in two distinct conversations or can be part of a longer individual one, depending on the role and urgency to fill the opening. I personally like to offer some support to other members of the hiring team who aren’t familiar with recruitment processes, such as technical staff or sometimes even managers, either by sharing advice on how to structure their conversation ahead of the interview, or by helping them become aware of potential biases they might carry in the conversation with the candidates. In my experience, the ideal interview is when the conversation flows effortlessly from both sides, and it actually feels more like a pleasant talk than a Q&A session.
It has been widely shared that video interviews lack the “personal touch” that both candidates and recruiters feel when interviewing in person. While some cues can be lost, I confirm that experienced interviewers can still pick up the personality of a candidate. The rise of remote jobs encouraged job seekers to apply to workplaces that weren’t traditionally on their radar, and this is in fact beneficial on many respects: people are improving their digital presentation skills and actively learning how to use different online tools. Since the future of work is rooted in digitalization, this can only be good news. Another tangible benefit of online interviewing is that it drastically reduces costs. No more flights just to have an interview with a potential employer! On the company side, I noticed that digitalization also means trying new methods to become more inclusive of diverse talents: for example, sharing the interview questions in advance and asking candidates to video record their answers has been welcomed by the neurodiverse community. Will the in-person interview disappear? I don’t believe so, it is more likely that it will be introduced to later stages in the recruitment process.
One of my LinkedIn connection recently posted an image of Dude With Sign, which read: “Make entry level jobs entry level again”. I have to agree, too many job posting are categorized as “entry level” only to discover that at least 3 years of experience are required. When did that happen, when did entry level become ‘at least 2-3 years’ of experience? A larger access to global talents can only partially explain it. My understanding is that employers have become more risk-averse. They wish to outsource the risks (and costs) of training people to someone else, while keeping the competitive edge of their business. In that sense, I wouldn’t say employers should lower the bar but instead they should be willing to take a calculated risk on someone, as it has always been the case, after all.
We are too often focussed on the destination instead of asking ‘am I enjoying the journey? Do I like the way I work?’ This is something I help my clients discover through the personality at work WorkPlace Big Five Profile ™ assessments. Once we know what our strengths are, what work environment we prefer, what tasks we naturally enjoy the most, it is incredibly easier to contribute at our best and to select the right professional opportunities for us. The pandemic has been an opportunity for many workers to start this self-discovery path, with outstanding results. I hope it will continue.