Hays’ Gaelle Blake outlines the different ways you can breathe life into your employer branding when interviewing candidates remotely.
Due to the coronavirus crisis, many organisations are operating in a new, increasingly complex reality, which requires difficult decisions to be made on a regular basis. Now more than ever before, organisations are being held to account over how they make and execute those decisions.
Ultimately, it will be how leaders and their organisations have responded, and continue to respond, to the pandemic that will have a profound impact on people’s propensity to want to come and work for you – and stay.
Undoubtedly, this kind of scrutiny will impact the employer brand of organisations the world over, so it’s unlikely yours will emerge unscathed or unchanged. Therefore, changes to your strategy will likely need to be made. Many employer branding experts even predict there will be a seismic shift in how organisations present themselves to potential employees as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This can be challenging to portray when engaging with a prospective candidate virtually. After all, when conducting face-to-face interviews, the candidate immediately gets a feel for your employer brand by simply setting foot in one of your offices, by experiencing the sights and sounds of your carefully crafted working environment, by interacting with your people.
But this sensory experience isn’t as easy to replicate when interviewing remotely. So, what steps can you take to help bring your brand to life during the remote recruitment process?
1. Bring back the office tour
Just as you would when interviewing face-to-face, it’s a great idea to record an office tour ahead of time and send it to your candidates or conduct it live during the interview if you’re able. This may also be a great opportunity for you to highlight how your organisation is changing the environment to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your employees while adhering to physical distancing measures.
2. Put your video skills to the test
Encourage your hiring managers and interviewers to record and send short introductory videos to the candidates before the remote interview. Use this as an opportunity to provide some insight into why they are hiring for the role and the impact it will have on helping the organisation realise its wider organisational purpose. It also adds more of a personal touch, which will be lacking when conducting interviews virtually.
3. Make your senior staff members accessible
Ordinarily, if a candidate was interviewing face-to-face, they may have the opportunity to meet different members of the senior leadership team, even if just in passing. To help replicate this, consider sending video clips or links to articles in which these senior leaders have been featured.
4. Make virtual coffee catch-ups a priority
Similarly, during a person-to-person interview, you may provide the opportunity for the candidate to meet the wider team, if appropriate. This is a great opportunity for the candidate to assess team culture and get a better feel for the organisation. It’s important that this opportunity isn’t forfeited just because you’re running the interview process remotely. Instead, you could consider inviting your wider team to join towards the end of the interview or even set up virtual ‘coffee intros’ separately.
5. Don’t let small talk lapse
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a hugely challenging time. Coupled with feeling unsure or nervous about having a remote interview – something they likely won’t have too much experience of – the candidate may be feeling uneasy. So, take this opportunity to demonstrate any values you have around kindness and compassion by beginning the interview by asking how the candidate is and if they have any concerns about the format of the remote interview before you begin. Encourage the candidate to ask questions throughout and do all you can to put them at ease.
6. Adjust your questions to the Covid-19 context
People have been irreversibly changed as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. Not only that, but what you’re looking for from a talent perspective may have also changed. So, consider whether the questions you’re asking in your remote job interviews need to change too.
For example, as hybrid working will become more common, it may be a good idea for you to ask if the candidate prefers to work independently or as part of a team. You may also want to tailor your questions to assess the candidate’s soft skills, such as adaptability and communication, which will become more important in the next era of work.
7. Distribute some goodies
Ahead of the interview, you could consider sending a small package of branded merchandise or examples of your products to the candidate. If you’re a service business, think about sending videos or testimonials from your customers to really bring what you do to life for the candidate.
8. Ask for feedback on your employer branding
Consider sending surveys to candidates so that they can feed back on their remote interview experience. The more data you have, the better you will be able to refine your approach going forward.
By Gaelle Blake
Gaelle Blake is director of permanent appointments and construction and property at Hays UK and Ireland. A version of this article previously appeared on the Hays Viewpoint Blog.