The COVID effect on Interviewing



Posted May 4, 2021 by: Jon Barr

The COVID effect on Interviewing

With the sudden unexpected impact of the first lockdown throwing every business into disarray, recruitment became low on the priority list. However once the dust settled, with the lockdown continuing far longer than anticipated, businesses had to adapt to a more remote interview process.

There has been a massive upturn in video and telephone interviewing, with many companies hiring people who they have not met face to face, and in some cases, with the upturn in home working,  they will not meet them for quite some time.

Yes, it has not come without his technical problems, with some people embracing the change with great enthusiasm and others with great trepidation. We have all spent the first 5 minutes of our calls working out who's mike is working and who's isn't. However, these were just teething problems mostly overcome quickly with training, upgraded equipment and experience. Most of us had to get used to home working, which of course suits some but not everyone.

When we first went into lockdown unprepared and poorly organized my negative perception of how video calls would work for me and how effective they would be was very quickly corrected as I realized there was no real difference to seeing the person physically. It became apparent very quickly that this is an incredibly efficient process, saving time and money with no negative implications. The question is will people revert to old processes as lockdown eases or will they embrace the change?

Here at ACS we have always championed the benefits of an initial telephone screening call with candidates, where both company and candidate can gain a better understanding of each other. We feel this is a great opportunity to save time and effort further down the process, by screening out those who are not suitable for the role or it is not what they are looking for.

Interviewing can be a very time heavy process with multiple people involved throughout the company. Whilst this time is an investment in the future success of the company it is also a distraction from the day-to-day activities and priorities of the people involved. The benefit of telephone or video interviewing is that it will only take the length of time for the interview out of the working day. Leaving everyone involved more time to focus on their day-to-day activities with no negative implications to the recruitment process.

This time efficient method of interviewing is also a benefit to the candidate and to the process itself. It is far easier for a candidate to find the time in their busy schedule to attend a video or telephone interview without it becoming a problem to their current employers. This naturally means that interviews can be organized more quickly and take place earlier than in the traditional format. As we are very much in a candidate driven market right now, a lengthy recruitment process can mean losing out to the competition in hiring the best talent because we don't act quickly enough.

As with many things the fast moving ever growing influence of the Internet, and the development of more highly performing Internet speeds, deliverers options that would not realistically have been available to us in the past. The pandemic has accelerated this process and more importantly peoples awareness of the online options available to them at a very low cost.

Time will tell and I've no doubt that some companies will revert to their old processes as some roles and some situations will always require the candidate to be physically present at the interview. Therefore there will never be 100% uptake of video interviewing but the enforced nature of lockdown has proven many skeptics (including me) wrong. The Internet is here to stay, the benefits are unarguable, and it is inevitable that a percentage of companies will stick to (or close to) the interview process they have developed during lockdown.


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