The Evolution of Remote Work and Virtual Interviews in Executive Search
By our guest blogger, Nina Grant
The pandemic has had a lasting effect on the way teams work and expand, with statistics indicating that remote jobs now make up over 15% of total opportunities in the US (compared to 4% pre-2020). Telecommuting has brought many benefits to the world of work, including significant cost savings for businesses and more time for employees. However, it is still a relatively new system of work for many, and it has its own set of challenges—including avoiding employee burnout, and a new need to conduct virtual interviews with prospective team members who may live in far-off corners of the globe.
The Vertiginous Rise of the Virtual Interview Phenomenon
Approximately 74% of companies are using video interviewing to save time, boost candidate satisfaction, and increase candidate diversity, according to SHRM. This results in a 20% reduced cost per hire. It is also having a big impact on the job interviewing market, resulting in increased competition among candidates, a requirement for new skills, and a heightened demand for remote work.
Virtual interviews are taking place across the board and are being utilized for the gamut of positions, ranging from entry- to executive-level. Because executive-level positions are key to a company’s strategy and future vision, however, extra care must be taken to make the most of the interview process.
Key Advice for Interviewers
In order to make virtual executive interviews work for your company, it is vital to harness the power of existing technology and aim to create a comfortable atmosphere—one in which the candidate’s personality and soft skills can be observed. If you conduct virtual interviews assiduously, then you are fully knowledgeable of tech such as Zoom and Google Meet.
There are more specialized options, however, including Willo (which allows for the pre- and post-screening of candidates on a dedicated job board), Spark Hire (which allows you to rate and comment on interviews, tag them for efficient filtering, send rejection emails and document rejection reasons, and more), and VidCruiter (which allows you similar functionalities in an end-to-end hiring platform). Interviewees should be given specific instructions regarding how to use specific tech and be told in advance if software must be downloaded.
Making the Experience Positive
Even if you decide to forego the use of specialized software, there are many strategies you can embrace to ensure the candidate has a positive remote interview experience. These include setting up the invitation beforehand (so the interviewee has a clear idea of the date, time, and platform you have selected), encouraging them to test their tech so they are stress-free on the day of the interview, and choosing a candidate-friendly platform. DGI Communications reports that Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet are three popular platforms that most people have used extensively by now. They enable participants to join meetings in one click, use a virtual whiteboard, and share documents via screenshare capabilities.
Finally, you can ensure that communication flows smoothly and in an unrushed fashion by allocating enough time for introductions, a brief explanation of the interview process, and for the candidate to ask questions. Information about the structure and length of the interview can be sent beforehand via email. All video interviews should be accessible for candidates with disabilities. Be ready to provide closed captioning or transcription services, if necessary. You can also offer alternative means of interviewing—for instance, a traditional phone call if you may find video conferencing a challenge. To ensure candidates feel confident on the big day, send them “How to Prepare for an Executive Remote Interview.”
Candidates Are Taking the Process Seriously
The rise of video interviews for senior-level positions has not only impacted the way companies conduct interviews, but also the way executives prepare for them. Considering the high salaries and incentives typically linked to an executive position (plus the fact that most candidates have probably had similar executive experience in their previous or current jobs), candidates aren’t skimping when it comes to interview preparation. One area they are prioritizing is home office design. It is evidently far easier to portray a professional, forward-looking, innovative image in an office that reflects one’s professionalism and organizational abilities. As such, optimal design involves the separation of home office spaces from common spaces, an investment in aesthetically pleasing office furniture, and the technology required to participate in a top-level interview.
Preparation for the Interview Differs
Companies are working on making the time spent on a video call more efficient by making changes to traditional interview preparation. If you are very interested in a particular candidate, then it is vital to eliminate any fear they may have about accepting an offer without having met you face-to-face. This can be achieved by highlighting your company’s core values and culture, discussing the candidate’s strengths, and pre-assessing the reasons why the candidate may want the job. By being in tune with their psychological motivations and showing them that they are the right fit for the job, you can get to one of the most important parts of the interview: having an authentic, amenable conversation that brings up more topics you can discuss with the candidate. Doing so will empower you to understand how their mind works, how they communicate, and whether their core values match those of your company.
Over 15% of job opportunities are now fully remote, and a vast majority of companies are conducting video interviews to cut costs and save time. To ace the interview experience for yourself and the candidate, invest in tech tools that can make the process smoother and more efficient. Highlight key factors a candidate should take into account so they can prepare optimally for the interview.
Nina is a passionate writer whose affinity for covering various topics stems from her insatiable curiosity and deep appreciation for the richness and diversity of the world. She finds joy in exploring different subjects, as it allows her to continually expand her knowledge, broaden her perspectives, and challenge her own preconceived notions. Through this exploration, she discovers the beauty of interdisciplinary thinking and finds new ways to engage and captivate readers across a wide spectrum of interests.
Bristol Associates, Inc. is an executive search firm with over 55 years of excellence in recruiting nationwide. Bristol specializes in recruiting for the Casino Gaming; CBD; Facility and Concession; Food and Beverage Manufacturing; Healthcare; Hotel and Resort; Nonprofit; Restaurant and Foodservice; and Travel, Tourism, and Attraction industries.
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