The video call interviewer skills you need to identify top graduates

The video call interviewer skills you need to identify top graduates

Students have faced a massive amount of disruption to their studies during the pandemic, and with new restrictions introduced over recent weeks, the situation isn’t set to improve. This, naturally, affects employers; how can we be sure that graduates have the skills we need? This is especially the case in sensitive industries like engineering, where we need to be confident candidates are right for the job.

As employers scramble to fill job openings remotely, there are plenty of resources available for interviewees about Zoom, Teams or other video platform interviews. But what about the other end of the connection? Without body language, the feel of a handshake, or even a sense of a person’s aura, you can’t be 100% sure the candidate is going to be a good fit. Although it has been and continues to be a great tool, speaking to someone through a screen is just not the same as face to face.

Remote interviewing is here to stay, and as the job market keeps morphing, recruiters need to reappraise their criteria. Here, we share some tips for employers seeking to hone their remote interviewing techniques.

Be open and honest about the challenges of the pandemic

We’re all familiar with that interview cliche: “What’s your greatest flaw?”, the interviewer will ask. The candidate will respond: “I’m a perfectionist!”, which is usually followed by an eye roll. However, during the pandemic, most of us have had fairly raw encounters with our flaws. To really uncover a candidate’s weaknesses, try asking something like, “What was the greatest challenge you faced during the pandemic? How did you overcome it?” Look for signs the answer is authentic; for instance, do they pause and reflect? Do their expressions align with their tone?

Re-focus on emotional intelligence

Hiring decisions are often based on grades and portfolios. However, being part of a team is just as important. How you interact with your colleagues is often more critical to a project’s success than a candidate’s competencies. This is even more the case in times of uncertainty when emotions are running high. How a person “reads the room” is hard to gauge in a Zoom call; but, that said, there are some strategic questions you can ask to measure a candidate’s emotional intelligence. Try something like, “Tell me about a time when you received feedback on your performance and you disagreed. How did you handle the situation?

How do they respond to distractions?

We’ve all experienced it during the pandemic: the once sacred space of the office meeting is now intruded on by barking dogs, crying children, doorbells, and all other manner of distractions. If something like this happens during an online video call interview, consider it an opportunity to see another side of the candidate. Do they get flustered or do they handle the situation coolly and calmly? If the opportunity doesn’t arrive, consider asking them how they coped with the transition to studying remotely.

Mix things up

Despite its caveats, remote interviewing is convenient. Why not take advantage of this and add a few more candidates to the list? By broadening your pool, you could find some unexpected talent in a candidate that has roots in a different field or that lacks the traditional qualifications, but presented a stellar covering letter or outstanding reference. Or, in our new remote world, you could consider a candidate that lives in another part of the country, or even abroad.

Don’t forget you’re being interviewed too

As a concluding point, it’s important to remember that in these uncertain times, attracting the right graduates is just as competitive as landing the right job. The interviewer needs to make sure they’re displaying the same emotional intelligence and openness that they’re looking for in order to attract the best talent. These questions are an opportunity for interviewers to attract candidates as much as the other way around.

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