Katie Bascuas is an associate editor at Associations Now in Washington, DC.
One association's foray into video-based job interviewing has helped the organization expand its reach to a wider talent pool without added costs.
With more and more organizations turning to telework and virtual office setups, it's not surprising that some organizations are now virtualizing the interview process as well.
The National Business Officers Association filled its last three job vacancies using video technology.
For NBOA, interviewing job candidates virtually makes good business sense. First, it helps the association, which has employees all over the country, get a feel for job applicants' familiarity and comfort with video technology.
"For us, communicating through video conference is really part of the work that we do every week," NBOA President and CEO Jeff Shields, FASAE, CAE, says. "We meet every Thursday as a staff through our video conference platform. Plus, every other call or connection that a lot of more traditional associations make throughout the week, whether it's by the water cooler or what have you, we make through video conferencing. So it's a natural part of how we screen candidates to come on staff."
Second, interviewing candidates via video is more affordable, especially when taking advantage of a national candidate pool. "There's a real business case here for associations that see this as a potential [way] to rethink the idea that we always have to pull from a local market to find the right talent competency or expertise," Shields says.
Given these advantages, Shields and his colleagues are careful not to let the technology get in the way of finding the right candidate, say by intimidating someone less familiar with video conferencing. "My credo around interviewing candidates, period, is that you want any candidate to leave the process feeling like they had a chance to present themselves and that they want to work in your organization," says Shields.
Before every video interview, job applicants receive a set of instructions, and someone from NBOA checks in with the candidate a few minutes before the call to make sure the technology is working correctly.
A video interview is not that much different from one conducted face to face, Shields says. Getting to the heart of important questions—Is this person the right fit? Does he or she have expertise or skills that are different from that of current staff? Are we getting to know the candidate personally?—don't depend on the format.
"I would say if the interview is going successfully, the video conference aspect of it becomes less and less important," he says.
[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "Virtual Interview."]