Hiring happens, even in a pandemic.
There is one thing managers just don’t like doing: conducting interviews to fill positions.
The interview process is time-consuming and not always reliable. We don’t always feel like we are getting enough information to make such an important decision.
We are faced with a bigger challenge when we conduct interviews virtually, since virtual interviews bring many potential pitfalls to the table. But don't let technical difficulties get you down. These tips will help you rock your next virtual interview!
Virtual Interview Tips:
Share a backup phone number for yourself and get one for the interviewee in case your wifi or other technology fails.
Expect the same levels of professionalism from both the interviewee and yourself as you represent your company.
Give clear and detailed communications to the interviewee about the process, such as which virtual platform you will use (so they can become comfortable with it in advance), who will be interviewing, and what the time frame will be.
Be aware of the basic interview do's and don'ts. To prepare, read the interview scenario below!
How do you as a manager make sure the right person gets the job?
If you work in Human Resources, you have lots of fascinating stories. Here is a real interview situation where the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Carole, a long-term director of an important team, decided to retire. She wanted the transition to go smoothly by helping to hire and train her replacement. After going through some great applications, we narrowed the field to two internal candidates with relevant experience, Jason and Heather.
Carole and I interviewed Jason. He understood the work and had been managing a small team for a while. However, Carole felt she didn’t know Jason as well as Heather, the other candidate. Carole then looked at Jason and said, “So where do you go to church?”
I gazed at Carole in horror. I thought, Oh no, I don’t want to contradict Carole in front of someone else, but we just can’t have this conversation. So I said to Carole, “Let’s not ask that question. Let’s move on.” Carole replied, “But I want to know”.
So why was I concerned?
An interview is not the same thing as a pleasant chat with your neighbor or a discussion at a cocktail party (back in the days when we used to go to those). An interview is a work-related conversation. The same rules apply to discussions with candidates as to employees. Your goal is to learn work relevant information without treading into discriminatory territory.
Was it relevant for the director job for Carole to ask where Jason went to church?
No. Would it have helped Carole to make a better decision about whether Jason could do the job? No. What kind of discrimination might be applicable here? Religious discrimination. What if Jason had said he he didn’t go to church and Carole was a devout Christian? What if Jason had answered the question and Carole had decided not to hire Jason? Could Jason have suspected it was because she was offended by his religious choices? Or what if he had been a member of a religion that is contrary to Carole’s beliefs and it worried her? Bottom line, religious affiliation has nothing to do with one’s ability to do a job.
This situation did have a happy ending. We selected Jason for the position, and he did a great job. Carole retired and enjoyed her new stage of life.