One of the most effective weapons against the coronavirus pandemic has proven to be limiting our social contact, both in the private sphere and at work. To keep the pandemic in check, many people have changed the way they normally work.
Fortunately, we now have video technology that has made it possible to keep the wheels turning by moving physical meetings to online video meetings. Before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the meetings that was most often held physically was the meeting where a candidate receives his or her feedback from a personality profile and intelligence test. But times have changed. Today, most feedback is provided through virtual video conferencing.
But what changes when the coffee cups are no longer in the same room, when we no longer start the meeting with a handshake, and when we don’t have the same opportunity to read each other’s body language?
One might mistakenly think that not much changes, and that one can simply deliver the feedback through the screen in the same way you would when sitting face-to-face with the candidate. But if you yourself have ever given virtual feedback, then you know better. You know that something is lost when you move feedback from the physical space into a virtual one.
In the virtual space, you’ll need to do a little extra to create the safe and open dialogue that is essential for correctly understanding the test person’s answers, and thus being able to verify the test result by confirming/refuting your hypotheses about why the test result developed as it did.
We have put together our top three recommendations for how to compensate for what is lost in a virtual meeting so that you will be able to provide good virtual feedback.
1. Clarify the process for the candidate prior to the meeting.
Before the meeting starts, we recommend that you send an e-mail outlining what will happen at the meeting, what the purpose of the meeting is and who will be participating. It is important to include that you will share the analysis result with the candidate during the meeting and that the camera should be switched on so that you can see each other.
Explaining the process to the candidate in advance creates a sense of security and helps to align expectations so the candidate is not surprised when you ask them to turn on their camera. Communicating the purpose aims to alleviate any nervousness in the candidate who is being thoroughly screened.
2. Warm up the room when the meeting starts.
In order to create a space where the candidate helps to put the analysis result in perspective by sharing openly and honestly, it is crucial that the candidate trusts you. Before the meeting starts, you could ask about what’s in their coffee cup or introduce other informal and ‘harmless’ topics. When you feel that you have created a relaxed atmosphere, you can send the analysis result to the candidate so that you can delve into it together.
3. Make sure that the candidate is following along during the meeting.
During the virtual feedback, the candidate cannot see exactly where in the analysis result you are looking. You can help remedy this by explaining what you are looking at and where you are. We also recommend that you share your screen to show where you are in the analysis.
It’s a good idea to pause screen sharing from time to time though, to allow the candidate to read your face and just to be able to look each other in the eyes. Not only can the candidate not read your face when screen sharing, you and the candidate cannot read each other’s body language to the same extent as you can during a physical feedback meeting. You should therefore ask a number of clarifying questions: What are you reflecting on here? What are you thinking about right now? What can you feel happening inside you when you hear these questions?
The clarifying questions are intended to assure you that the candidate is engaged and feels understood.