How to make isolation work for you instead of against you
By Katie Yapp
Although we are undoubtedly living in uncertain times, we must remain hopeful that business will return to its normal state sooner rather than later. When it does, especially with the recent waves of redundancies we have been seeing, it will be more important than ever for organizations to have the right staff in place, in order to ensure optimum business performance as we rebuild.
Recessions are scary. Of that, there is no question, but as is often the case, the threat of something scary allows us an opportunity to adapt and to improve. In this case, with the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly developing, we have been compelled into looking at how we work, how we hire and how we interact with each other on a daily basis, in order to ensure the safety of ourselves and of others.
Due to this, within the majority of the conversations we have had with our clients over the past few weeks, be it in the Caribbean, the US, or back home in the UK, there are two underlying themes:
- How can we keep things as normal as possible?
- How do we reduce long term headcount risk when we are planning for an unknown duration?
Of course, the answer to those questions are different for every business, but a key example of maintaining normality as much as possible that has arisen as a result of self-isolation is the heightened need for WFH (working from home), which in turn has increased the demand for video interviews.
Understandably, the latter seems to be making both candidates and clients a little apprehensive. However, being a global business, the majority of our clients at Personnel 2000 begin their recruitment process with a video interview. As such, we wanted to try and ease some of these concerns by sharing some tips that help in ensuring the video interview process be a productive, straight forward and sometimes even fun experience for everyone involved.
So what are the Benefits to a Video Interview?
Ease the scheduling burden / Enable after hours interviewing
How many of you can tell us honestly, that trying to schedule five, ten, sometimes twenty interviews for one position, not to mention the various stages, isn’t an absolute headache? Time you could better spend doing one of the other million things on your to-do list?
Video interviewing allows you to be more flexible on timings, block book interview slots, and keep them very concise. There are even a number of platforms out there that allow for the candidate to answer pre assigned interview questions on their own time and submit them by a recorded video interview, that way you can watch on your phone whilst commuting to and from work (I mean, usually…!) before deciding whether to progress with them.
Invest time into the right candidates
The latter leads nicely into my next point. Something that everyone needs to understand is that your time, no matter what job you are in, is money. No, you may not be billing hourly, or by project or consumer item, but you are employed. Meaning someone is quite literally paying you for your time. Use it wisely.
In recruitment, there will always be candidates that aren’t right. Maybe they look amazing on paper, but they have the personality of a potato! Or maybe you love them as a person, but you just won’t be able to get the powers that be to sign on the dotted line due to a lack of a certain skill set. It happens. Video interviewing allows you to scope people out before committing to a face to face interview, so you are able to invest your very important and expensive time, in the right people.
Improve performance tracking
HUGE! How hard can it be to compare your top performers when its been days, maybe weeks between interviews. Especially hard when there are multiple decision makers in the process. By implementing video interviews into their hiring process, you can hit record on your video platform and compare them later (just make sure you ask their permission first though, I’m pretty sure there are laws against recording people without their knowledge!?)
This way, managers can take a look at their top performers and see if their video responses had anything in common later down the line, when further analysis is needed, rather than relying on memory or some (potentially) rushed notes. Were their answers similar in any way for particular questions? If yes, this not only allows fair comparison between your top performers, but also enables you to consolidate pretty important data based on why they are your top performers. In turn this enables you and whoever is recruiting with you to narrow their selection process dramatically for future roles in your team/business.
Make your interviews more consistent
Consistency is key. Some of the biggest complaints we hear from our candidates during an interview process is the lack of structure from the client and the sheer number of interviews they have to sit, essentially answering the same questions repeatedly.
This doesn’t apply to all of you by any means, or even most! But, for those of you that may fall into that category, adding a video interview allows you to structure the process more accurately, again having the ability to hit record and share with future decision makers means that each person at each step in the process can have a fully holistic view of the candidate before meeting them – seeing both their verbal answers and non-verbal ques, enabling them to add to the process rather than to repeat it.
This isn’t only beneficial to the candidate, but also you as a business – it allows you to get as much information as humanly possible in the allocated time, to ensure that they are the right person for your business. Yes, experience is important, of course, can they actually do the job!? But, and we cannot say this enough, if you are hiring the wrong people in comparison to your company beliefs and values, you will not retain them, and ultimately end up back at square one.
Make your candidates more comfortable / Eliminate stressors
Therefore… What better way to get to know someone than in an environment they are comfortable in? How do they act in their own home? How does their body language align with what they are saying? If you are hiring someone who will be in a client facing role, how have they got their working from home station set up? This may be someone at the forefront of your business, what are your clients seeing? You can learn so much about a person by letting them set the scene.
Eliminating the stressors of transport (especially if they’re a fellow Londoner, having almost certainly spent the last hour in someone’s armpit on the tube!) allows for a less stressful first meeting and to get the most out of your candidates as possible. To reiterate this, 87% of candidates say that it reduces nerves to do an initial interview over telephone/video, enabling them to be more themselves.
Presentations or follow ups
To finish off, we wanted to talk about something that in our experience can either make or break an interview process, for both parties.
A lot of organizations that we work with like to see a sample of work prior to commencement to ensure skills matching. For legal this is often a redacted written document; or for finance, through some of our inhouse systems or accounting testing. It could also be in the form of a business plan or a presentation, whatever is best suited to individual business needs.
We are 100% behind this at Personnel 2000. Having a follow up task, whatever that may look like, shows both commitment of the candidate and allows you to have physical evidence of their viability for the role. However, there is a big question mark on when in the process to ask your candidates to complete it.
We frequently see clients expecting potential candidates to complete testing or to deliver a presentation etc on or prior to first interview, which we always advise them is too soon. We completely understand the need for this information as soon as possible, but in such a candidate driven market, it can sometimes be a lot to ask without the candidates having met you and solidified their buy in to your organization.
With video interviewing, it allows you the ability to meet them, cover the basics and then send them off to complete whatever task it is you would like them to before a face to face stage, without putting them off but still saving you time if they are quickly deemed unsuitable. It also allows them to do said task to best of their ability, having gaged you as a person and being able to adapt their performance around you, rather than run the risk of being too generic.
The final thing to note here, is that especially with things as they are currently, putting these additional little stages in the process will keep candidates on task and remaining interested whilst the economy settles, so you don’t end up losing them to competitor…not idea!
That’s all for now! Good luck, stay safe and remember, we are in this together. If you have any questions, or we can support you at all, you know where we are.
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