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It's an understatement to call interview processes time consuming. For today's recruiters and hiring managers—with their infinite to-do lists—the thought of taking days to vet multiple candidates can feel daunting. Speed up the process, however, and companies increase the risk of bringing on a bad hire.
One way to streamline the interviewing process is to incorporate a blend of phone, in-person, and video-based interviews. Here is what teams should consider.
Pro: Video eliminates scheduling bottlenecks
One of the biggest challenges with candidate interviews is the need to bring everyone into the same room, at the same time. With video, all parties can be geo-distributed, on-the-road, and even on their lunch breaks. Virtually all scheduling bottlenecks are gone, and it's still possible to meet face-to-face. Organizations and candidates get the best of both worlds.
Con: Technical difficulties are the norm rather than the exception
Plugins misfire. Software breaks. Headsets create feedback. When it comes to technology, more isn't always better. Especially when participants are on different devices, there's room for error.
Luckily, there are steps that organizations can take to course-correct these challenges. Ask call participants to install software, check their headsets, and guarantee bandwidth ahead of time. Also, include a failsafe — like a corresponding dial-in — in case something goes wrong.
Pro: Great way to understand how candidates fit into your office
By bringing candidates into your office and connecting them to your team, you can see how they fit into the context of your day-to-day operations. Similarly, prospective candidates have an opportunity to see your office first hand and to connect with future colleagues.
Con: Interviews can be stressful and nerve wracking
Between 6:00 AM flights to your office, 8 hours of interviewing, and scrambling multiple people, in-person interviews can be exhausting and nerve-wracking — it's not a context that sets them up for success.
Even still, there are steps that organizations can take to make candidates feel comfortable and welcome. Make sure that schedules are set in stone, candidates are well-equipped with a hotel room before or after their interviews, and that there are plenty of break times in between interviews.
Casual interviews can help recruiters and hiring managers understand interviewees as people. You'll laugh, have fun, and come to an understanding of each other on a personal level. These lighthearted contexts will encourage candidates to open up and feel welcome.
Con: Restaurants, coffee shops, and bars can be distracting environments
Music might be loud, and food might be distracting. While your candidates will open up and enjoy the discussion, there won't be much 'actual work' getting done. Not to mention, you won't be spending time with candidates in the context of your office.
If hosting a lunch or drinks interview, make sure to choose a quiet location that's conducive to conversation. You might consider hosting a second, follow-up interview at the office too.
Pro: Pre-screen candidates before inviting them to your office
The phone is a great way to get to know candidates before committing to a longer and more in-depth conversation. Not to mention, phone interviews can save your company from unnecessary plane fares and lodging expenses. Meet each other before officially meeting.
Con: Phone conversations can be clunky
From poor reception to background distractions (i.e. hiring managers who are checking email), phone conversations can be a lackluster way to establish a rapport. It can be challenging for both parties to devote their full attention to the moment.
Hiring managers and recruiters should make sure that they have a quiet place to take calls—and that technology is up and running ahead of time. Ask questions that encourage candidates to open up. Get the conversation going, and make your prospective hires feel comfortable.
What's important for recruiters and hiring managers to keep in mind is there are no 'best practices' in place — it's up to your organization to determine how video fits into your interviewing process. Test a few different workflows to see what brings out the best in your candidate and team. Seek feedback, iterate, and evolve.