April 7th, 2013
It’s always a dicey proposition to have a telephone conversation with a perspective hire – and get enough of a vibe to decide if you want to spend the bucks to fly them into your market for an interview. After all it is just a distant faceless voice on a phone. It’s a little like playing video poker where you can’t see your opponent’s facial expressions compared to a live game with them sitting in the same room with you.
WSPA News Director Karen Kelly says, “You not only listen with your ears but you listen with your eyes. You can tell if someone’s really listening to you by the way they react. A voice on the phone just isn’t enough to tell what someone is really like.” Problem solved – thanks to longtime WSPA Assignment Manager Mary Lu Saylor. She suggested the news managers gather in the conference room for a Skype hook-up with perspective hires.
Mary Lu says, “One of the big challenges when you are doing pre-interviews on the phone is to figure out if you want to take a chance on bringing people in. We want to be good stewards of our budgets so we only fly people in that we are pretty sure are ‘the one.’” She’s used Skype to connect with people in a national non-profit organization where she volunteers – and suggested WSPA give it a try for job interviews.
Mary Lu says, “Utilizing Skype you see people on their own turf where hopefully they are most comfortable. Being able to see who they are is a huge asset. Seeing body language, emotion, and how they react to questions face to face gives you insight you cannot get over the phone.” The WSPA news manager says it also benefits the prospective hire – “They see who their potential boss is, they can ask questions, and just learn more about the station and what is being offered.” News Director Kelly says, “We want to hire employees who truly believe in advocacy journalism and it’s important to not only hear their passion but see it.”
So now WSPA uses a three step hiring process with great success:
- Talk to the job applicant on the telephone
- If they pass that test – move to phase two – a Skype interview with the news managers
- Finally if they clear the first two hurdles – they fly the candidate in for an interview – very confident it will be a successful choice.
WSPA has found that – thus far – all their job candidates have had easy access to Skype – usually in the comfort of their homes or apartments. So, if you’re looking to raise your confidence level before shelling out travel expenses for a hire – give Skype a shot.