IT Center

Onboarding – Digital and with heart

August 4th, 2021 | by
Two women in a video conference smile at the camera

Michelle Kadansky during an Interview

The digital job interview at the IT Center

Digital as the new normal: The current situation also poses new challenges for application processes. Job interviews at the IT Center have been taking place online since last year. Michelle Kadansky, HR Manager at the IT Center, told us in an interview the process of digital job interviews and how they differ from face-to-face interviews.


Dear Michelle, how did you react when it became clear that all employees would be working from home? Did digital job interviews come directly to your mind?

“First, of course, we were all a little surprised. We had a few questions running through our heads. Do we all have laptops? Can we even come to the IT center again? How do we communicate with each other? We already had a video conference system via our telephone system at that time, but that can only be used internally at RWTH. We didn’t have Microsoft Teams at that time, for example.

However, it was officially, from one day to the other – everyone has to go to the home office. Therefore, digital job interviews quickly became a topic. In order to be able to carry out and offer these as quickly as possible, we all worked ‘hand in hand’. Our department ‘Systems and Operations’, for example, made it possible to use Microsoft Teams as a communication medium. With this base, we made a successful transition to digital job interviews.”

How does a digital interview work and how long does it take?

“We actually implemented it 1:1 as in the live interview. The interviews all last about 45 minutes and there is a short break between each interview. We have several interviews every day, so we use the short break to change the digital space, for example. After the changeover, we scheduled all the appointments one after the other and then realized very quickly that it doesn’t work that way technically and in terms of time. Although the interviews currently only take place online, we had to learn that we also have to plan “travel times” for digital appointments. All in all, I have to say that even technically, the interviews have worked great over the last 1.5 years and we’ve had few difficulties.”

How is the digital interview different from the face-to-face interview?

“The biggest difference is that we can’t experience the people “live”, which is really a shame. What we miss because of digital is the overall impression. For example, the interpersonal communication and the personal encounter with the applicants. Nevertheless, we are very happy to have this option and not to have to conduct interviews with masks, for example. We actually did that once at the beginning and found that we couldn’t get a real impression. With a mask, it was difficult to recognize and assess the facial expressions of the applicant. I think I can speak for everyone: We will be very happy if we can do the majority of the interviews on site again.

Do you think digital interviews could still become a permanent feature in the future?

“Of course, digital interviews also have a lot of positive things. Travel times are saved, applicants from Hamburg or Munich, for example, don’t have to travel to Aachen. We very much appreciate the face-to-face interview, but we want to respond to the personal needs of the applicants. That’s why our long-term goal is to offer both.

Are there challenges for you as a recruiter with regard to remote recruiting?

“We have worked with many companies over the past few years to find new employees. As we and other companies rely on digital ideas, there has been a shift in everyone’s thinking over the past year. Many companies have thought about digital possibilities and, for example, Regina e. V.‘s HR Café now takes place digitally on a regular basis. Here, many companies from the Aachen region exchange ideas about what they do every day and talk about approaches, information and trends in HR management. We also regularly provide information on our social media channels about current job openings and the IT Center’s commitment.

Finally, how would you rate the success rate of finding new employees digitally?

“We are happy about every application and every position we can fill. We are constantly looking for new talent to become part of our team. Interested parties can find all the latest job postings and info about the IT Center on LinkedIn and our website, and I can be reached by phone or email with any questions.”

We would like to thank Michelle Kadansky for this insightful interview on digital interviewing in this onboarding series. If your interest is now piqued, job openings and more information about the IT Center can be found on our website, here on the blog, or on LinkedIn.

Responsible for the content of this article are Michelle Kadansky and Janin Vreydal.

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