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For an employer, or an applicant, the job interview is important. Both parties want it to go well and of course give them the result that they need.

But whereas traditional interviews used to take place face-to-face, many are now happening online or via the phone. This in itself can throw up a whole host of different issues. Some of which can throw a spanner into the works.

Planning and preparation

As far back as I can remember, it was drilled into me that for interviews to be successful, you needed to have done plenty of preparation (including research and having some relevant questions to ask), not be late, make eye-contact, be interested/focused/professional/polite, look the part and to listen carefully to what is being said. That’s why I was surprised at some recent research which looked at the biggest interview turnoffs for a potential employer.

Here are the main findings when interviewing over video:

  1. Being late
  2. Limited research into the company
  3. Lack of eye contact
  4. Not being polite to staff
  5. Speaking to someone else whilst on the call
  6. Switching off the camera
  7. Undertaking the interview from a coffee shop or park
  8. Interrupting before the interviewer has finished a sentence
  9. Using speakerphone
  10. Technical difficulties during the call (screen freezing, buffering, other interruptions)
  11. Inappropriate attire
  12. Not asking any questions

Plus an additional few when interviewing in person:

  1. Bad breath
  2. Candidates smelling unpleasant
  3. Asking for a hot drink with two or more sugars

Two sides

Of course an interview has too sides. It’s as much an opportunity for the candidate, as it is for the employer, to see if there is a fit and whether or not they want to work for the company in question. But like all things, good communication throughout the hiring process is key, as is clearly stating any expectations.

Combination of online, phone and face-to-face

Whilst many initial interviews happen online or via the phone, an in-person interview, as a second or third round of the recruitment process, can give you a more rounded view of the candidate. It gives you an opportunity to read their body language and pick up on other emotional and behavioural cues to gauge their interest in the role and of course to build rapport.

For employers, I think it’s essential that they embrace online and phone interviews as they can save time and money in the earlier stages of the process. But whatever type is chosen, they should aim to put candidates at ease and set out what is expected from them from the outset. This includes providing clear joining instructions and confirming the type of interview – formal or more relaxed. In addition it’s important to be patient with anything which is out of the candidate’s control, like technical difficulties (password issues) or interruptions (car or fire alarm). Finally it’s also important to not let unconscious bias or any preconceptions get in the way of you identifying and recruiting great talent.

How can I help?

For advice, help and support with ensuring successful interviews, please email caroline.robertson@actifhr.co.uk