Recently, I was recruited and hired without ever physically meeting a single person during the interview process. My first time in the office was two weeks after I started.
The pandemic and shelter-in-place orders have required companies to be creative and make decisions in ways that many could not have previously imagined. Are the risks or the results different in a virtual hiring process? The long, drawn-out face-to-face interview schedule I have experienced previous was less candidate-friendly and does not provide a better outcome.
While some businesses have struggled during the pandemic, others have grown, thrived or, at the very least, continued to recruit based on need. Although many roles I had been pursuing were placed on hold, others continued despite the crisis COVID-19 has created.
In a typical recruiting process, candidates can experience lack of information, drawn out interview schedules due to unavailability of decision makers, and even sudden silence. As a candidate, despite patience, persistence and strong skills and capabilities, you might wonder what is happening. For me, the virtual hiring process, in many ways, was better and faster.
I had the pleasure of working with the executive recruiters at CIO Partners throughout the process. The screening interview was quickly scheduled and held. The executive recruiter then discussed my candidacy and let me know that my profile would be presented with several other candidates, providing me with clear timing. The hiring manager video interview soon followed where we learned that there was a good fit giving us both the confidence to move forward with the process. There was a short pause in communication, but it was clear when my next conversation would occur. Finally, the last set of interviews were efficiently scheduled. Instead of taking weeks to schedule because the interview team can’t be in a single location on specific days for multiple candidates, each interviewer just found an hour or two for video conversations. The final decision came within a few days with the resulting offer delivered by the hiring manager and HR leader via video; this allowed them to answer questions and learn of any potential concerns and immediately address them.
All this to say, my experience as a candidate and hire was extremely positive. Both my new employer and I saw that we could work well together in a virtual world. We also could see whether I would fit into their culture and I could see how my employer operated during a crisis.
I am two weeks into working remote and the team continues to show that working together was the same as the hiring process. The communication is clear, the on-boarding has been seamless and I have been able to hit the ground running. Everything from signing documents both before and after my hire have been done virtually. Meetings, computer access, and working together has been just like the hiring process. My team has been welcoming and I have felt immediately integrated. Could this have been done before the pandemic? Certainly!
Now the question is whether companies will go back to “normal” or will this be the “new normal”? As an IT hiring manager, I know that the talent market is tight so I will definitely look to use some of what I have learned during my experience to recruit in the future. Perhaps some of these processes should be here to stay.
Here are some of the keys that I plan to use in my hiring:
- Be clear on timelines
- Aggressively communicate
- Use video constantly to see how your candidate interacts and to show what your culture is like
- Use the flexibility of virtual interviews to speed up your hiring cycle
- Be open to flexible work arrangements
There are many great candidates in the marketplace ready for hire due to the impact of COVID-19 on businesses. Are you ready to take advantage of this opportunity to get the right talent in your organization and to compete as the economy recovers?
Think about your hiring process and the candidate experience and ask “Will our culture and use of technology help us successfully recruit in the future?”