How to use your workplace to attract top talent
March 17, 2022
March 17, 2022
At the peak of the pandemic, virtual interviews were not just convenient, they were the only way to continue the hiring process in a world where face-to-face conversations were out of the question. But almost two years later, a lot has changed. Many of the in-person interactions we’ve missed have begun to return: concerts, sporting events, conferences, and on-site interviews. Hiring leaders plan to incorporate a mix of virtual and in-person interviews moving forward. But what’s the right mix?
I’ll break down the challenges and benefits of both remote and in-person interviews, and let you in on what I think is the right mix to get the best talent on your team.
Shifting from in-person to virtual interviewing comes with a whole slew of obstacles. Video conferencing software was not designed for interviewing. Let’s take a look at common challenges from each side of the screen.
Interviews interrupted by work-related requests: In actual in-person interviews, top candidates are unlikely to be distracted by work notifications popping up on their phones. But it’s different in the virtual on-site world. A top candidate can be deep in conversation with a potential future employer, then get contacted by their current boss with an urgent request. Even if the ping goes temporarily unanswered, it throws off the rhythm of an otherwise solid interview.
No-shows and last-minute cancellations: People don’t have to plan their whole day around a virtual interview. Sometimes candidates don’t even take official time off. With such a low time and effort commitment, candidates sometimes agree to a final round interview that they then cancel last minute. In general, candidates are more likely to plan and prioritize in-person interviews versus virtual ones.
Candidate pool limited by accessibility: Video interviews can be a barrier to entry for less tech-savvy candidates. Some people may not have access to video conferencing software, but unless they need it for the job, it should not disqualify them.
Difficulties in understanding the culture: With virtual interviews, candidates risk missing major deal-breakers that would have been obvious in person. For example, they have no way of knowing how diverse the work environment is outside the small pool in their interview panel. They can walk away from a three-hour conversation with no idea what the company culture is really like.
Limited conversational flow: It can be a good sign when an interview runs over its scheduled time frame. For in-person scenarios, the next person in the interview panel might patiently wait outside the room. In the virtual world, over-time etiquette is less defined. Rather than winding to a natural end, there’s pressure to wrap quickly when a third person enters the virtual meeting room.
Virtual interview fatigue: The same way one Zoom call can blur into the next, so can multiple virtual interviews. Candidates interviewing for several companies at once are more likely to forget exactly what they thought about each. On the flip side, it’s also harder for the candidate to make an impactful first impression via video–especially if they’re just one of many Zoom interviews this decision-maker has that day.
So what’s the right mix given those challenges and benefits? I think virtual interviews are a great option for earlier stage interviews. I prefer talking to candidates remotely for the initial screening conversations. Then, when there’s a good match, it’s best to have final leadership conversations on-site, especially when you hope to move towards the offer. This way you can sell them not only on the opportunity but get them excited about the fun working environment.
First impressions are always the most important, so it’s crucial you get them right. Your workplace can be a powerful way to showcase your company culture to top candidates. Once they see the environment, it brings back those in office memories that are nostalgic to what we’ve missed in the last 2 years. Here are a few tips for creating a workplace experience that wows candidates:
Virtual or in-person, every step is crucial. And to seal the deal, if you have a great workplace, flaunt it.