Business

Coronavirus: Job interviews go online as candidates stuck at home

Working from home during the coronavirus outbreak. Image copyright Getty Images

Recruitment firms are going online to interview candidates who are working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Tech giants Google, Amazon and Twitter are among the growing number of firms asking staff to work from home.

The strategy is part of social distancing efforts as businesses try to slow the spread of the virus.

Headhunters also say it's now easier to contact candidates as they're not in stuck in meetings or travelling.

"It was actually easier to get hold of many clients because they were at home, bored and on the end of a mobile phone than it was when they were in meetings, walking factories or flying somewhere," said recruitment firm PageGroup's chief executive Steve Ingham.

Worldwide travel restrictions also mean people aren't travelling for business, one of the biggest challenges for recruiters trying to meet potential hires.

It comes as recruiters and hiring managers switch from face-to-face meetings to online interviews using apps such as Skype, Zoom and WhatsApp.

Online interviews also suit potential hires as they take up less time and are more convenient.

"They are happy to use this approach as well because it saves them travelling time and minimises human contact amidst the Covid-19 outbreak," said Charlene Tay at recruitment firm Robert Walters in Singapore.

But job-seeking candidates are being advised to practice ahead of an online interview. "Interviewing online and interviewing in person are two completely different experiences," said Sarah Johnston, a professional interview coach.

"Job seekers share that it can be more challenging to connect with the interviewer online because there is often less small talk and it's harder to pick up on non-verbal cues," she added.

Recruiters also advise candidates to be patient as, although online job interviews can help speed up the process, there will still be delays as businesses come up with contingency plans and deal with coronavirus-related issues. "This is uncharted territory and we are all doing the best we can," added Ms Johnston.

But online interviews don't work for everyone. "Those roles which require client interaction and team management, an in-person interview is likely to remain an essential stage of the process," added Paul Endacott, chief executive of GRIT Search.

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