Working from home is not the only transition companies and employees are having to make during the COVID-19 outbreak and recovery. Hiring remotely is now becoming a common practice as organizations move forward with their business goals, despite employees being limited to the confines of their homes. Thankfully, technology can make this transition rather easy. Here are some strategies to ensure the success of your remote hiring practices during this time of social distancing.
Define your remote hiring process
While the basic principles of hiring remotely are similar to hiring in-person, it is important to take the time to define the process from a remote perspective, not only for yourself but for your team and the candidate. Given that an in-person interaction is not an option at this time, you may consider adding a pre-questionnaire, pre-recorded introduction, or even a test project, giving everyone more peace of mind before making a final offer. Whatever you do, don’t wing it. Anticipate potential hiccups and aim for clarity, transparency and over-communication.
Communicate the process
Those new to working remotely as a result of COVID-19 may already feel a little uncertain about their new work environment. Taking the time to communicate the remote hiring process to those participating in the interview will go a long way in reducing anxiety so they can focus on properly evaluating the candidate. While it is helpful to communicate this process as a whole, it is best to follow up with team members on their specific contribution to the process to ensure they are clear on their role.
Identify your hiring team and define their roles
When utilizing video conferencing, you may need to adjust expectations with your hiring team. Too many people asking questions at the same time can make a video conference chaotic. One suggestion is to assign team members a responsibility that reduces the amount of talking, yet still allows everyone to participate. For example, while the hiring manager is asking questions, another team member can be transcribing the responses. Others can be documenting their impressions of the candidate's answers in a shareable file, such as a Google Doc. Such a strategy may not allow as many to talk or ask questions during the interview, but it still ensures everyone’s opinions and observations are considered.
Share best practices
A candidate may feel as though they are at a disadvantage because they are not receiving an in-person interview. Reassure them that they are on equal footing by maintaining the same level of professionalism as an in-person interview. Ways your team can accomplish this includes:
- Dress professionally from head to toe
- Maintain good eye contact by looking into the camera
- Utilize facial expressions and voice inflections to minimize misunderstandings
- Conduct interviews in a place with minimal noise and background distractions, just as you would by going to a conference room for an in-person interview
- Develop your interview questions in advance with feedback from your team
- Test your video-conferencing equipment to ensure no malfunctions
- Maximize the reliability of your Wi-Fi bandwidth by closing unused programs and asking your household members to stay off-line during your interview
- Record your interview so you can refer to candidate answers afterwards as well as take an assessment of your interviewing skills
- End the interview on a positive note and explain next steps to the candidate before ending the call
Train on technology
If your team is new to using video-conferencing, it may be worth your time to do a training session in advance of their first interview. Showing them how to screen share, mute, record and more will give everyone confidence about this new process. The better your hiring team is prepared, the more they can focus on evaluating whether the candidate’s qualifications, experience and personality are a good fit.
Replacing in-person hiring practices with a virtual experience does not mean that the outcome will in any way be less favorable. It is all about making proper preparations and setting expectations. Consider these remote adjustments to your hiring practices an opportunity to better leverage technologies and strategies that will help your organization be more successful in the future.