January 18th, 2021

How Job Interviews Changed During a Global Pandemic

It’s been almost a year since this whole Covid 19 thing started. Recruitment has mostly moved online, but some companies still try to manage face to face interviews. Or, should we say, mask to mask ones

People are now no longer strangers to remote work and tools such as Zoom. The adaptation to new circumstances took a while, and some of us are still getting used to them.

Apart from team collaboration and even some usual friendly chat, job interviews also took a new form. Online hiring isn’t exactly new, but it did take over control over the old school one. There’s a ton of material on how to best prepare for these interviews, but this time we are interested in discussing how to conduct standard ones.

Some companies have to stick to them for various reasons, and at the same time, keep everyone safe from the virus. Let’s try and get a better view of how that affects candidates and recruiters.

More Things to Think About

The standard procedure would include candidates coming to your office for a scheduled interview, followed by a firm handshake and face to face communication. You would usually offer them some refreshment and proceed to the main event.

Now, the main thing to focus on is everyone’s safety. There’s some preparation involved, including:

  • Making sure that there’s a hand sanitizer available
  • Having people who will handle hygiene, like disinfecting the waiting area and office space after each interview
  • Informing candidates that it is a must that they wear a mask and ensuring that everyone respects that

All of a sudden, it’s not just a normal greet and meet conversation. You could argue that there’s a need for a special logistics team to handle the whole hiring process.

You Can’t Get the Most Out of Interviews

We’ve already talked about how you can read the body language from applicants and the importance of it. Now you’re a bit at a disadvantage and have to rely more on your instincts about the candidate.

For starters, there’s no handshake involved. From a young age, we learn that it’s a way to greet people, especially those we get to know formally. It’s so simple but can reveal a lot in just a few seconds. For example, if the person is excited, anxious, or confident.

Perhaps even more important, you can’t see the candidates’ faces. It’s way harder to know how they feel about your salary offer or the interview atmosphere in general, with masks on.

Are they smiling throughout the conversation or seem bored and can’t wait for it to finish? You won’t be able to tell, and for some positions the answer to that question is very important. They say that the eyes are the mirror of the soul, so there’s a hint you can take.

The Candidates Might Feel More Nervous Than Usual

It’s normal for people to get a bit anxious before an interview. It’s a big day for them, and it’s most likely that they need the job badly. It’s up to recruiters to know how to handle these situations and make people feel more comfortable.

With these new circumstances, this becomes an even greater challenge for you. Wearing masks is enough to make the atmosphere a bit uneasy. Not to mention the constant worry about whether our hands are clean or if we’ll catch a virus somewhere.

Additionally, what if you come across a candidate that has asthma for example, and gets a panic attack during the interview? Imagine a situation where they would have to take off their mask in order to breathe normally. It would make you both a bit uncomfortable, but you should practice how to handle it.

The point is, you’ll probably need to have a lot more understanding for applicants than usual. Act as a psychologist to find a way to relax them and get the most out of the interview. Don’t forget to worry about yourself in the process, too. After all, you’re also a human being with every right to worry about your well-being.

It will take a while for things to go back as they were, but it’s tough luck that everything will be the same. We’ve seen and felt the perks of working remotely, so it’s exciting to see what the future will bring us. As for the interviews, the safest bet is to manage them online. If you have to conduct them in person, you should put safety first and then focus on acquiring the best candidate for the job.

About iglooHR
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