The hiring game is evolving as fast as technology itself. These days, job applicants are as likely to be from the other side of the country (or planet) as across town. That means there is access to more talent than ever, but it also means businesses are often deluged with candidates.
In order to solve these challenges, companies are using Skype video calls as a standard step in the early stages of the hiring process. Talking face-to-face with the job seeker via Skype saves time and money. It also shows who is a truly rounded candidate versus who just looks like the right fit on paper. To get the most out of a Skype screening call, keep the following tips in mind:
1. Start with your powers of observation
We often take for granted that more than half of all communication throughout our day is non-verbal. As you go through your list of questions, make sure to also pay attention to your candidate’s non-verbal clues – their posture, gestures, and facial expressions. You’ll also want to tune in to some context clues: Where did the interviewee take the call? How is he or she dressed? These signals will help you better determine the candidate’s potential fit for your company.
2. Let the candidate lead the conversation
Most candidates will be inclined to respond with what they think you want to hear. After all, it’s just natural to try to increase one’s chances of seeming like the ideal applicant. You can avoid this by setting up more open-ended questions thereby prompting them to give their most genuine answers. For example, rather than saying, “How would you make sure that X happens given scenario Y?,” you can ask, “Given Y scenario, what are the key things you think needs to happen and how will you go about ensuring them?”
3. Embrace the awkward silence
During an interview, breaks in conversation are inevitable but they don’t have to be terrible. Four seconds of silence will make most interviewees feel uneasy; and you can use these moments to observe how they respond. Do they ask relevant questions? Tell a joke? Break eye contact and squirm? Taking advantage of these unexpected moments will allow you to test their potential responses to uncertain, tricky or high-stress scenarios they will likely encounter on the job.
4. Complement your gut feeling with level-headed thinking
While our instincts can sometimes be our best weapons, evaluating candidates solely based on them has proven to result in a 50% failure rate. It’s incredibly easy to stick to your inter-personal impressions of an individual; however, to find a hire who can fulfill the long-term requirements of the role, a much more objective approach is needed. Prior to the conversation, make a list of the skills and traits needed in the job, and mark off the attributes he or she is able to demonstrate to keep your gut in check.
5. End by setting clear expectations
Cliffhangers have no place in the interview process. Finish the call on a strong note by giving the candidate a clear glimpse of what comes next. Think of every interviewee as a potential coworker or customer – no matter your decision about his or her performance, make sure to send each person off with a good impression of your company and brand. And, of course, remember to thank them for the time they took to connect with you screen-to-screen.
The beauty of a Skype screening call is that it lets you interact as closely as possible with an interviewee without actually being there. This sets you up to not only save time up front, but also have a better chance of finding a great hire down the line.