Successfully conducting online job interviews

Various projects and orders in the maritime, offshore and energy sector are being executed ‘as normal’. Work which requires the right personnel. Engineers, Mechanics and Crewing Managers for example are still in high demand by companies from the sector. Inviting applicants for a conversation at the office is not possible at the moment. So how do you conduct a virtual job interview successfully?

Online job interviews

Preparation is half the work. This starts with selecting the online meeting programme. Skype is mostly known by the older generation and contains cross-platform support, plus the option to share files and record conversations. Newcomer Zoom is popular because of the high ease of use, but also has disadvantages. Video calling in groups is limited to 40 minutes and the programme has security issues. Google Meet (previously Hangout) is accessible and simple and also has cross-platform support.

Naturally other services such as WhatsApp and Facetime also offer the possibility to place videocalls. Moreover, company wide solutions such as Microsoft Teams or the equivalent of Google (G Suite) are also available. Whatever programme you may choose: make sure that you test the technique in advance. It’s an advantage if you know and use some programmes so you can let the applicant choose. Using a known platform prevents unnecessary stress with a jobseeker.

Alright, the program has been chosen. What are the next steps?

  • Place the vacancy online. Indicate in the text that the conversation will take place virtually and be very clear on how this will happen.
  • Send the chosen candidate clear instructions and information (for example about the duration of the conversation, the importance of good lighting and finding a quiet spot). Which programme does the candidate need to download? Can he or she wait in the online waiting room until the conversation starts?
  • Prepare the conversation well, especially if you have a fellow interviewer participating. Who takes the lead? Who leads the conversation in the right direction? Make sure you don’t interrupt each other.
  • Make time to discuss the current extraordinary situation during the introduction, and how this effects the interviewing process and the company.
  • Communicate that the conversation will be split into blocks with different themes. The candidate gets a chance to react after each block without having to make a ‘hard’ interruption in the conversation.
  • The natural flow that you have in a face-to-face conversation is usually non-existent online, for example because of a delay in the connection. Make sure to take small breaks and regularly ask questions so the candidates can express themselves sufficiently.
  • Pay extra attention to the company culture. For example, show images of the office or the working environment. Present an overview of pictures of colleagues. This way the candidate gets a better impression of the company.   
  • Video conversations are usually shorter than live conversations, because you often get to the point quicker. Make sure the candidate was able to ask all of the questions at the end of the conversation and that it is clearly explained what are the next steps

Tip: consider holding an online presentation to answer questions before the application process starts. Perhaps this approachable way of making contact enables you finding the right candidate before applications letters are even sent.

Still have not filled that vacancy? Manage and place your vacancies yourself through NavingoCareer.com for the Dutch job market. Manage them at Offshore-Energy.biz for international jobs in the sector. Indicate in your vacancy text that your conversations will take place virtually, or that an online question-and-answer hour or meet & greet will take place beforehand.

Photo: iStock

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