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  • Writer's pictureEva

Online interview tips

‘Stay inside!’

A mantra that we’re following closely these days, but which evidently has its impact on the selection process. Turning a physical meeting into a digital interview isn’t always as straightforward.

Some golden tips to make a digital screening run effectively and successfully:

Choose the right tool: the newest generations know Skype, Messenger and FaceTime. These are easily accessible and user-friendly apps for a 1-on-1 meeting. Examples of more professional tools are Microsoft Teams, Google Hangout Meets and WebEx by Cisco. Clearly communicate beforehand which tool you’ll be using for the online meeting and how this app should be installed. If possible, send a meeting link and let the candidate know who will call whom. Crossbridge would love to help you plan those interviews!

Ensure a good setting: A stable internet connection and calm environment where you can work without interruptions or distractions are key. Also look at your background for a minute: it should be as neutral as possible (and try to avoid to sit in front of a window, the backlight might make it look as if you’re in the dark).

Always opt for video: non-verbal communication is extremely important. If your internet connection permits it, always opt for a video meeting. Make sure your face is completely visible and make sufficient eye contact by looking directly into the camera. Make sure your upper body is in frame too, because your hand gestures usually support your message. By nodding or saying ‘yes’ every once in a while, you show your interest and reassure your conversation partner that you’re listening.

Structure the interview as you would with a face-to-face conversation. Initiate the conversation by explaining outline, then introduce yourself and your organisation. After, let the candidate do most of the talking by asking clear, objective and open questions. Some tips:

  • Start by asking general and personal questions (such as hobby’s). This way, you’ll reassure the candidate and break the ice.

  • After briefly going over their cv, you should ask competence-based question based on the profile you’re searching for. Particularly ask examples from the recent past: “Which competences were developed?”, “How did he or she react in certain situations?”. Past behaviour is the best predictor for future behaviour!

  • Dare to dig deeper: “Why?”, “How...?”, “What happened when...?”. This way, you’ll avoid own interpretations.

  • Apply the STAR method and question the Situation, the Tasks, taken Action and achieved Results.

  • Summarize every once in a while and leave some silences, they’ll work to your advantage. Your candidate will likely add something or change their mind.

  • Try to avoid these pitfalls: first impression, the similar-to-me effect, physical features, one particular personality trait influencing the rest of the conversation, … .

  • If you missed out on some information because of an unstable internet connection, immediately ask for clarification or repetition. This way, you won’t be left with unanswered question. Occasionally ask the candidate if everything is clear for them as well.

What’s next? Just as with a physical meeting, you should leave room to answer your candidate’s questions. Then you can sum up the most important points of the meeting and explain the next steps (perhaps an online case or work sample).

We wish you a pleasant e-meeting!

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