👋🏻My name is Ben and I've spent the last seven years working in startups as a founder & employee, on teams ranging from 3 to 130 people. I've been on both sides of the interview process many times.
In this post, I'll make a case that with the transition to virtual interviews, hiring teams should now be splitting up their onsite interviews across multiple days to better set up candidates for success.
Over the last couple of months, I interviewed for product roles with a dozen companies and found that they're mostly still running the same interview process they had in place before COVID. The main difference I noticed is that the onsite stage is now happening over video calls instead of in-person.
Here are a few real examples of virtual onsite schedules:
This particular 4-hour virtual onsite included six calls and had no dedicated time for a break.
This virtual onsite thankfully included a 45 minute break halfway through the day.
This virtual onsite had a couple calls in the morning and then three more calls with breaks in between.
Having gone through these, I can tell you that a full day of interviews over Zoom is exhausting.
A recent BBC article titled The reason Zoom calls drain your energy summarizes some of the reasons video calls are more tiring than face-to-face conversations. Here's an excerpt:
Being on a video call requires more focus than a face-to-face chat, says Petriglieri. Video chats mean we need to work harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice, and body language; paying more attention to these consumes a lot of energy. “Our minds are together when our bodies feel we're not. That dissonance, which causes people to have conflicting feelings, is exhausting. You cannot relax into the conversation naturally,” he says.