Editor’s note: This story is a part of a series that explores the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and how things have changed on and off campus.
Companies looking for new employees have been forced to conduct much of the hiring process virtually, requiring hiring managers and potential candidates to adapt.
Companies that are conducting interviews online are using platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Some even use systems like Spark Hire to allow potential candidates to record their answers to various interview questions.
“Virtual career fairs and virtual job interviews are now standard operating procedure,” said BYU Career Studio Director Justin Jones.
Jones said the Career Studio has provided resources for students to practice online interviews. These resources allow students to practice answering recorded questions or to schedule a mock interview with a career mentor using Zoom.
Virtual interviews are a good alternative, Jones said. “They are safe, simple and efficient.”
Conducting interviews online allows the interviews to take place anywhere, removing physical barriers. Jones said less time is spent trying to coordinate schedules.
Hiring decisions may be made more quickly because each member of a hiring committee can view recorded answers from candidates at their own convenience, Jones said.
“Now that communicating online is common practice for everyone, the barriers to adaptation have been overcome and this (process) will be the new normal,” he said.
Virtual interviews can also make the initial screening portion of the hiring process easier and more convenient, said Brad Morris, the human resources director at doTERRA.
Morris said the company has received positive feedback from its hiring managers about virtual interviews. The HR team is finding ways to continue to implement technology in their hiring process.
The company has seen more applications throughout the pandemic. “We are fortunate to be in a stable position and have seen an increase in demand for our products, which in turn enables us to keep everyone employed and hiring to go uninterrupted,” he said.
About 80% of doTERRA’s workforce is currently working from home. Morris said doTERRA has communicated with employees frequently through video and email.
“Overall communication throughout the company has improved since people have to be more deliberate in their communication instead of the informal conversations that happened in passing previously,” he said.
Recent BYU graduate Haley Butterfield said she feels that virtual hiring processes might result in a feeling of disconnection.
“I don’t feel quite as invested as I would be if I actually went to the office and was interviewed in person,” she said.
Butterfield said she dislikes the ambiguity of a virtual interview and that it’s hard to know the acceptable etiquette and rules to follow.
“Some of the interviewers are more laid back when they’re working from home and it’s hard to know exactly what to expect,” she said. “Do I acknowledge the cute baby in the interviewer’s arms?”
Butterfield said it is hard to know what level of professionalism is expected from both ends of the interview, though virtual interviews are often more relaxed.
“(They) lower my inhibitions, but I don’t act as professional as I would in an in-person interview,” she said.
BYU student JT Macedone said he also felt more comfortable in the online interview process — maybe even too comfortable.
“I didn’t feel as much pressure or incentive to give my all to the interview,” he said. “I was in my bedroom, I didn’t have to go anywhere and I didn’t need to have as much conversation as I usually would.”
Macedone participated in a Zoom group interview that lasted about an hour. Each interviewee gave a short presentation and then had an individual breakout session with an interviewer.
“I liked the options available to provide a more interactive experience,” Macedone said. “There was more asking for individual people to participate and we could share our screen to help others be more involved in what we were saying.”
Virtual hiring could continue to be standard for many companies, something that may prove a positive experience for some and a negative for others.
“(Job hunting) seems like an uphill battle all the time and the virtual aspect adds more weight and makes the battle harder,” Butterfield said. “But I am learning as I go and still putting out applications.”