Published July 9, 2020
Have you hired someone without ever meeting face-to-face? With COVID-19, businesses can’t recruit in the same way they once did—but that doesn’t mean they can’t find the best candidates for the job now.
In fact, at Comhar Partners, we recently concluded an executive search that has been conducted completely virtually. Every step of the interview process was done with Zoom, the video conferencing tool, and the person’s first day will, in fact, be the first time this person will have ever gone on-site, will meet a board member or part of the management team.
As is with any major change, we did have to make some adjustments to the processes and recognize some hesitancy among board members and stakeholders. When we did complete the process, however, we found that you can find the best candidate, despite a lack of direct interaction during interviews. Here’s what we learned.
Get Crystal Clear on Your Assessment Criteria
Now more than ever, you need a tight connection with and a deep understanding of the assessment criteria for the candidate. Knowing exactly what you want and being thorough with this assessment process is key, because, as we found, the virtual interviews are all about proving a cultural fit and getting a feel for the chemistry, rather than hard skills.
While this is often true in a standard in-person interview as well, it can be harder to create the connection digitally. Knowing you have every piece in place in terms of hard skills and the ability to do the job allows you to fully dial in on the conversation with the candidate. Instead of re-checking facts from their resume, you can focus on questions and conversations around behavior, personality, and management style.
In developing your process, consider implementing a strong assessment process. For us, that assessment process involves:
Don’t forget about third-party tools that provide support in assessing motivations, traits, and situational compatibility, such as Meyers Briggs.
Create a Winning Experience
Just because it’s virtual, doesn’t mean you can overlook this critical piece of the executive search process. While the candidate is trying to impress you, you’re trying to impress them as well. That means you need to do your prep work, including specifying clear and concise questions ahead of time and getting candidate information correct and into the hands of interviewers.
Most importantly, part of this virtual experience is getting the tech right. Preparing for a seamless and glitch-free interview process requires some upfront work including:
Get Everyone on Board
The board we worked with for this virtual hiring process was initially uncertain about taking a digital approach—until the right candidate was found. Similarly, you may not be able to get your team on board right away, so it’s wise to find the right candidate first.
Our client was looking for someone to drive the business forward, so instead of stalling, we found that person and brought them the opportunity. Knowing that a great candidate was on the line and that hiring someone in this position sooner than later would be advantageous, it was easier to convince any potential naysayers to move ahead with the virtual process.
Proving the value of the candidate and moving ahead with a virtual experience goes back to developing a strong assessment process before starting any recruiting. Knowing the candidate is the right fit on paper may help justify investing in and setting up the virtual interviews.
Virtual Recruitment is Possible
Don’t stall on that critical new hire because your entire company is now working from home. Instead, use the tools available to you, including thorough assessments and telecommunications software, to find the best candidate and get them into the position now, ensuring your company remains strong and competitive, no matter what.