How Transitioning to Virtual Interviews Improved Our Hiring Process

Moving to virtual interviews allowed us to re-evaluate our hiring process with unexpected benefits. Here's how.
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To say that the pandemic changed the way we conduct business is the understatement of the century. For the HR department, working remotely altered our everyday experience, internal policies, and how we hire. Despite all of the changes, we sought to embrace our core values while making decisions that impact our current and future staff. By Embracing Change and Caring Deeply, we chose to transition to virtual hiring. This transition actually improved our processes as we were offered an opportunity to re-evaluate the experience through the candidates’ lens.

Through this experience, we learned how to care more deeply for our candidates. Here’s how: 

Increase Accessibility 

Transportation and travel can be a limiting factor for candidates.

In the past, Sapper candidates were required to come to our office for a two hour interview. This dramatically limited the accessibility for our talent pool. Transforming the interview and work environment to fully remote has allowed us access to candidates outside of our region. Alternative options to increase accessibility are to consider expanding your interview days / times to accommodate current work schedules and obligations. Reducing the need to travel and increasing the opportunities to join allows for more candidates a fair chance.

Keep in mind that virtual interviews can provide additional challenges, including technology requirements. SHRM reports that according to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey, only 58 percent of Black respondents and 57 percent of Hispanics reported owning a desktop or laptop computer. And just 66 percent of Black respondents and 61 percent of Hispanics reported having Internet access. Admittedly, we have work to do in this area. As a first step, we outline that there are several portions of our interview that are interactive, and those portions will require access to a computer and the video feature on Zoom. If a candidate does not have access to a personal device, we provide alternative ways to join the interview.

Learn Preferences 

Low effort. High impact.

In your initial communication with candidates, confirm their preferred name, pronouns, and method of communication. Knowing and remembering these small details help candidates feel valued and cared for. Don’t just ask, ensure that all members of the interviewing committee are made aware of the preferences by updating any interview materials with the information.

Bonus tip: Internal Employee Resource Groups can provide helpful feedback on how to message these questions. 

Set Expectations

Interviews are nerve wrecking. Whenever possible, share the agenda, expectations, and supplementary information ahead of time. Tactically, we share an agenda and link to any necessary documents the evening before the interview.

Don’t feel the need to share all questions or details. Part of the interview process is seeing how candidates respond under some unknown circumstances. However, we’ve found the quality of interviews and responses increased by providing some materials beforehand. Respect the candidates time by letting them know how long the interview will last and stick to that timeline.

Bonus tip: Don’t assume candidates know what to wear. Share the dress code with candidates before the interview to eliminate any confusion. 

Representation

In reviewing your interview process, you may find gaps or areas without representation. Make sure your hiring team is diverse. Push the boundaries of traditional hiring teams to include frontline staff members that are currently doing the job, members of Employee Resource Groups to help represent the company culture and diverse groups, and cross departmental members that interact with the position you are interviewing for.

The expanded hiring team will help provide diversity of perspectives and work to reduce hiring biases. It also helps engage current staff and promote ownership over the hiring and training process. People love to know who they will be working with. A key component of expanding the hiring team is creating a consistent interview process, the final way to care for candidates. 

Consistency 

An impactful way to care for candidates is by creating equitable, consistent processes and that starts with your team. Before the interview process begins, develop templated messaging to ensure that candidate communication is consistent. If you expand the hiring team, new members must be trained and inspected to withhold the hiring guidelines.

Streamline your processes. First, establish a list of EEOC approved interview questions. Next, take the time to type out a talk track and train your hiring team. (This video on the impact of implicit bias on hiring is a great resource.) Third, develop a rubric for each section of the interview process so the scores can remain consistent despite the hiring team member. Finally, set expectations for any preparation or training requirements of your team so they are set up for success.

Bonus tip: establish a talk track for both the introduction and next steps portion of the interview so all candidates receive the same information. 

Increased care for candidates and their experience is a journey, not a sprint. Sometimes it takes a major event to speed up the change. Please connect with us to share other ways you are caring for candidates during the hiring process or small changes that have made a major impact. 

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About Sapper Consulting

Sapper's sales prospecting team becomes a natural extension of your existing sales efforts, helping you find new leads that are a great fit for your business.

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