The Modern Employer's Guide to Interviewing in the Digital Age

Interviewing in the Digital Age

The days of posting classified advertisements in print newspapers are nearly behind us. Today, employers enjoy a wide variety of options for sourcing new talent for open positions. From staffing agencies to niche-specific job boards to job engine aggregator behemoths like Indeed, Glassdoor, and Monster, you can have scores of candidates at your fingertips in a matter of minutes.

  • Reviewing digital footprints

    Once you've winnowed your list of candidates to those who appear to meet your minimum requirements, you can narrow it even further by doing some of the legwork yourself. Before offering an interview, conduct a search for your candidate on major social platforms. Go beyond LinkedIn, where candidates are highly motivated to present themselves as professionally and cleanly as possible. To get a better sense of whether an individual's personality is likely to fit with your team, take a look at Facebook profiles, Instagram accounts, and other sites where he or she might have an online presence.

    Do they trash their former employer openly online yet provide a completely different picture of why they left their last job when you ask them in an interview? Have they posted photographs or discussed company-related information online that seems inappropriate to reveal or even material you know is considered confidential? Have they made mention of your company in a disparaging way? Is this an individual who presents themselves publicly in a way that leads you to suspect they may lack the judgment necessary to function well in your organization?

  • Conducting face-to-face interviews online

    Interviewing candidates remotely can permit access to candidates you might otherwise overlook. If a candidate who looks great on paper resides on the opposite coast but might be willing to relocate, you can interview that individual without either of you investing a dime in travel expenses.

    Through apps like Skype, Facetime, GoToMeeting, and many others, sitting in the same room with an interviewee, in many cases, just isn't necessary anymore. You can net the same information about nonverbals and get a similar feel for how they react in real-time without either of you having to travel.

    In addition, you can glean valuable information about a candidate based on the setting they choose when interviewing with you. For example, does your candidate have the foresight to render the setting as distraction-free as possible (e.g., are there phones ringing or people chatting in the background)? Do you notice any books or materials in the frame that suggest your interviewee is deeply engaged in keeping up-to-date on your field of business (e.g., professional journals)? Does your candidate appear at ease in dealing with any technical issues that arise during the interview (e.g., if their laptop crashes during a Skype interview, do they easily and naturally re-engage using their smartphone)?

Bottom Line: Interviewing candidates in the digital age is rife with advantages, both for the employer and the potential employee. Done well, including this approach -- or even using it exclusively -- can save time, save money, and ultimately result in finding the perfect candidate for your organization.

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