Organizational design

Holding remote interviews

Avoid unconscious bias

After a tough year during which everyone has learnt new ways of working, there can be few who feel uncomfortable with online meetings. As organisations ramp up their activities, there’s going to be significant growth in the online selection and onboarding of new employees. Zoom interviews will become common.

But watch out! – it’s even easier to be fooled into taking the wrong decision when interviewing online.

Most of the ‘useful stuff’ in an interview is the non-verbal information that each party gathers (Yes, interviews should best be considered as both parties interviewing each other!) So if you’re trying to select the best candidate from a group of interviewees, make sure you focus on the clues (including what isn’t said) and try to stick to a script so you don’t miss any important areas.

Is the way s/he communicates online likely to support your business (online is likely to be the norm for some time, and maybe forever). Try putting yourself in the position of customers and imagine how they would respond to the interviewee’s style.

Be careful about reading too much into any background the interviewee might have adopted. A blurred background or a nice beach in the Caribbean might simply mean s/he is embarrassed about the state of her/his own house or perhaps there are children home from school for the holidays.

And choosing a suitable camera position and appropriate lighting has become a science in its own right – you don’t really want someone having to squint to make out your face or looking up your nose or down on your forehead.

We probably all suffer from unconscious bias in many aspects of our day-to-day life so take care with online interviews where it can be harder to identify the important visual clues more obvious in a conventional interview. And remember to focus on the skills and behaviours that you’d like to see added to your workplace.