Insights

Video Interviews: The Key to Winning the Hiring Process During Social Distancing

March 23, 2020

In the age of social distancing, video interviews are crucial to keep the hiring process moving and avoid losing out on the best candidates. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty. With the necessity of social distancing to help blunt the virus’s impact, businesses and workers everywhere have done something almost unprecedented in the history of work: they’ve shifted, on the fly, to a remote work model. Front-line healthcare, logistics, government and service workers are still working in person. But for – almost – everyone else, in the space of a week we’ve seen a radical temporary change in the way business is done. Companies have shifted to teleconferencing instead of meetings, and so far, from what we’ve been hearing, it’s not as disruptive as it might seem on its face.

The sudden shift to remote work is a radical experiment in workplace organization, and one that could have lasting impacts beyond the coronavirus epidemic. Despite the wider uncertainty around global economic growth, one thing is clear: the companies that will thrive are those that can embrace remote working without missing a beat.

Companies whose systems and processes are resilient and flexible enough to quickly shift towards temporary remote work will gain an edge on companies who can’t make the shift. You still need to be able to conduct crucial strategic Procurement and keep your Supply Chain moving. Crucial operations and vendor selection, on-boarding and management need to stay online. And with the suite of digital technologies available, there’s no reason any of those things can’t continue to thrive through remote working. Pretty rapidly, companies have begun to adapt to the “new normal,” and those who can do it successfully will reap long-term benefits even when this crisis has passed.

There’s another crucial process that has to adapt:

Hiring.

As with those other functions, digital tools are allowing companies to get the job done while flattening the curve. For hiring, video conferencing is that tool. It used to be a time-saving measure. In the age of social distancing, it’s a business-saving measure.

Job interviewing through teleconferencing with Skype or other services has been a mainstay of the hiring process for several years. Companies will use teleconferencing to have candidates meet hiring managers, business leadership, and other stakeholders, but it’s mostly been a tool to get an initial assessment, rather than to close the hire.

The new situation on the ground is changing that. Just as the nimblest companies are changing their other functions to remote-work on the fly, the nimblest companies are also pivoting to teleconferencing to keep their hiring process moving and avoid losing out on the precious momentum they’ve built. Failure to do so can cost thousands of dollars in internal hiring resources, as well as the lost productivity of a new hire. It sets you back to square one. Your company isn’t going back to square one in terms of your other functions, so why would you go back to square one with your hiring, if you don’t have to?

Already, several of our clients at Argentus – some of them Fortune 500 and major public sector organizations – have pivoted their interviews to videoconferencing. These are second, third, final-stage interviews, not just initial screens. These companies, as well as others in a variety of industry, are making the switch for a few key reasons:

  • Like many other business functions, there’s no reason you can’t keep hiring through digital technology. Not only can companies conduct candidate interviews with key stakeholders through video conferencing, they can also manage the offer process, do all key paperwork, and initial onboarding, while leaving start date to be decided to ensure that the new hire can hit the ground running when they’re able to. Companies have been using these tools to digitize and streamline their process for years, so now might be the time to catch up if you aren’t already using them.
  • You avoid losing precious momentum. If you’ve already put in the time and cost to scope out job requirements, view profiles, identify candidates for interview, and maybe even conduct initial interviews, you end up paying good money – often thousands of dollars – for nothing if you abandon the process halfway through. Demand for Supply Chain professionals remains high, and those people might be taken off the table by other opportunities even if you pause for just a few weeks.
  • You gain a competitive advantage over other companies who have paused their hiring because they won’t consider video conferencing. If some companies are stuck in the past, and won’t keep their hiring process going digitally, why should you follow them? As we wrote about in our Argentus COVID-19 update, Supply Chain professionals in particular have been in massive demand for years. Even if the labour market softens, we anticipate that this demand will continue. Not only because it’s necessary to keep costs low – which is Supply Chain Managers’ bread and butter – but also because people who can keep Supply Chains moving are massively important during a time of disruption. Right now represents a chance to grab the top talent that your competitors aren’t pursuing.

During this time of uncertainty and immense change, companies need to prioritize core functions. But hiring is a core function – especially if you’ve already identified a need. The uncertain economic picture has companies gun-shy about bringing on new workers. But Supply Chain, Procurement, Logistics and their related functions are more crucial than they have been in our lifetimes – and those functions only work with top-flight people on the team. For our money, video-conferencing is the best way to get those people.

Count on it.

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