The rise in popularity of freecall video applications including Skype and FaceTime mean more employers are requesting virtual first-round interviews with candidates, especially for interstate and overseas positions.

Recruitment firms report that jobseekers are increasingly likely to sit live online interviews, which allow employers to test a wider candidate pool without having to use or hire expensive video-conferencing equipment.

However, short-listed candidates will still need to sit a face-to-face interview to land the job, they say.

Chris Kent, regional director of Hays WA, said the practice of live interviews had gained wide acceptance in the US jobs market and was being used increasingly by interstate employers, but most WA employers still preferred traditional face-to-face interviews.

“It’s being used quite a lot in the executive market and by some of the bigger accounting practices and legal firms who have access to some pretty sophisticated technology, ” Mr Kent said.

“We’ve seen in recent times that online profiles are becoming crucial in the recruitment process, so creating a strong presence through sites like LinkedIn is very important.

“With more affordable and reliable technology available, and with more people owning smart phones and tablets, the online job interview could become more important to employers, ” Mr Kent said.

“One-way video job applications, where the candidate records their presentation, are becoming a more common way to screen candidates.”

Jobseekers who are asked to sit a live interview should treat it like any other job interview and prepare correctly, Mr Kent said. However, they should remember that a video interview was one part of the job application process and it did not mean the applicant had been short-listed for the advertised position.

“Make sure you’ve researched the company and have thought about discussing all of the skills you have that can contribute to that company, ” Mr Kent said. “Think of good questions to ask the interviewer and remember it’s an opportunity to bring your CV to life and stand out through strong presentation and communication skills.”

Andrew Morris, director of Queensland and WA at Robert Half, said the majority of hiring managers still preferred face-to-face interviews in selecting their final candidate but video interviews were a useful screening method, particularly for interstate or overseas applicants.

“One of the advantages of video interviewing is that it extends the geographical reach of the talent pool. We recently conducted research, interviewing 160 chief financial officers around Australia, and 93 per cent indicated it was challenging to find skilled professionals relevant to their field.”

Jobseekers should dress appropriately and turn up on time for their virtual interview, while testing the technology, minimising distractions and doing a trial run would ensure candidates were comfortable for the real event, he said.

Meanwhile, the UWA Careers Centre has invested in an online webcam and virtual interviewing application to help graduates improve their presentation and interview skills. Students can access the InterviewStream service from any computer or tablet with a camera at any time. The program, launched this month, will also be available to employers.

Diane McLaren, manager of employment and career development services, said practising their presentation skills on camera allowed students to review their own performance and get feedback from a careers counsellor.

“An online video interview is an opportunity to back up your CV and show off your strong interpersonal and communication skills, ” she said.


© The West Australian

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