- Nearly the entire world of work shifted to working remotely during the pandemic, and there is good reason to believe that some of these changes will stick with us in the long term.
- For example, interviews are now almost exclusively done virtually, such as through video-chatting services like zoom.
- The change in interview modalities to nearly exclusive use of virtual modalities will greatly benefit employers looking to cut costs.
Before the pandemic, job interviews were profoundly conventionalized. Both interviewer and interviewee expected something of the following:
- An in-person interview
- The basic assumption on the part of both parties is to wear business attire
- Interviewers ask questions about both soft and hard skills
- Personal presentation –including personality– as playing a large role in determining interview process outcomes
- Following up after the interview
For the most part, a lot of this has not changed post-pandemic. That is, the etiquette that is required of both parties in an interview, regardless of the modality in which the interview is taking place, has remained relatively static.
If anything, changes in etiquette have been subtle. One might be able to get away with wearing more formal attire now – at least insofar as the interview is online. Likewise, some of the questions an interviewee may ask an interviewer have changed in the former’s favor.
What has changed quite radically, however, is the infrastructure surrounding the interview process – in some ways that are less obvious than others.
Interview modalities have substantially shifted during the pandemic.
Nearly the entire world of work shifted to working remotely during the pandemic, and there is good reason to believe that some of these changes will stick with us in the long term.
For example, interviews are now almost exclusively done virtually. This could be through video-chatting services like zoom, and in some rare cases through text-messaging services like WhatsApp.
The reason why there are good grounds to believe these changes will stick in the long run is that it saves everyone involved both time and money.
The incentives for this are even clearer when we look at the costliness of conducting an interview in terms of sheer numbers.
The rounded average cost of hiring a single applicant is $187. This, however, does not include the cost of test center operations or, in other words, the use of office space to conduct interviews.
When such additional costs are added into the equation, the cost of hiring a single applicant can go up quite precipitously. A single applicant can cost from $1,600 to $18,000.
Thus, the change in interview modalities to nearly exclusive use of virtual modalities will greatly benefit employers looking to cut costs.
Likewise, conducting interviews virtually – on the highly-likely condition that more jobs will be available remotely – will benefit employers looking to expand their pool of applicants beyond those who are geographically close by.
Lastly, part of the process of interviewing is getting the job and getting onboarded. This process can now be entirely streamlined using the internet, therefore saving everyone involved a lot of time which would have otherwise been spent commuting and setting up materials.
If therefore, any good will come of the virtual interview styles that are here to stay, it is the convenience and economical effects it has for employers.
How will shifts in interview styles affect potential employees?
No matter what the modality of interviewing is, potential employees almost always bear to hold up the heavier end of the bargain.
The interviewer will still have their job after the interview is done, whereas the interviewee is largely at the whims of the interviewer’s decision to hire or pass.
Thus, in order to turn the tables on this provisionally lopsided arrangement, job applicants must learn how to conduct themselves in the virtual world of work. A lot is the same as prior to the pandemic, but a lot has also changed – and changed enough to warrant giving it close attention.
The rules of etiquette have largely gone unchanged since the pandemic and the shift to virtual interviews.
You should still dress appropriately, be on time (early is better!), and come to the interview prepared. Likewise, you should still make eye contact and generally treat the interview as if the interviewer is in the room with you.
Hence, keeping the background seen through your camera clean and ensuring you keep your focus directed on the interview are still vital components to landing the job.
Here’s how applicants can turn the tables during virtual interviews:
The benefits of virtual interview styles is not just for employers, however. Virtual interview modalities, in fact, give various advantages to applicants which would otherwise not be present during an in-person interview.
For instance, just the fact of not being in a room with a stranger is far less stressful. An applicant does not have to worry about getting stuck in traffic, ironing their pants, or using their sweaty hand to shake the interviewer’s hand when an interview is virtual.
The advantage here, therefore, is that applicants can be interviewed where they are most comfortable, increasing the odds of them being more personable.
Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio says personality matters more than skills when determining whether to hire someone, so this benefit can’t be overstated. It is much easier to be yourself when you’re under less stress.
Another benefit right now is the already ongoing turning of the tides in the favor of employee needs.
Take advantage of the less stressful conditions of virtually interviewing not just by competently asking about the job and what will be required of you. You should, additionally, ask the hiring manager what benefits you can expect on the occasion of being hired. What is the pay? Are there benefits? Are these matters negotiable? If not, what good reason is there for joining your company?
At this point in history more than ever, potential hires have the opportunity to ask these questions without the burden of failure resting entirely on their shoulders.
And with virtual settings being less stressful, employees may now have an easier time advocating for themselves during an interview.
In the coming years, it’s quite possible that interviews will be conducted entirely over the internet. This helps employers cut costs, save time, and increase their applicant pool.
Likewise, this helps applicants reduce interview-related stress, helping them overcome the fear of championing themselves during their interview. All-in-all, the net effect of the turn towards virtual interviews is very positive.