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  • Joanne Rencher

Remote Hiring: Art Over Science

Recently, I was talking with someone who had just joined the team at one of my clients. She was highly energized by the remote interview process. She shared the experience with pure joy. It was inspiring.

The fact is that there will forever be a pre and post-COVID footnote to our work. The hiring process is no different.

Pre-COVID, it was very common for geographically dispersed companies to use a mix of technology and in person interviews to seal the deal. Today, the hiring process across all industries will require the delicate work of selecting top talent who mesh with your culture to be done through a computer screen.

During my Virtual Conference in May of this year, The Radical Transformation of HR Post COVID-19, Maury Hanigan shared rich insights about what is potentially lost during remote interactions. She talked about the loss of connection, familiarity, understanding, among other things. As Maury noted, this loss is exponentially more difficult for new hires. All of this means that employers engaging remotely with prospective employees will need to work harder. They'll need to be more creative. Moments of interactions will need to be more intentional.

My client's new team member described a process where that organization really nailed it. But, it didn't happen by chance. It was premeditated.


It should go without saying that meetings of any sort require diligence in preparation. This organization was thoughtful about the entire interview process, from the numbers of people participating to the questions asked and the debrief which followed. The then candidate (now employee) felt tended to. She was made to believe that the process mattered, and therefore, the role mattered. They chose technology which was comfortable for all involved, and that carried them the rest of the way.


Hiring processes, already quite lengthy pre-COVID, will be longer still in this climate. Getting schedules to align, maintaining momentum after each meeting and keeping all parties fully engaged is hard work. At times, people will fall short. This organization set realistic expectations around timelines, and ultimately surpassed them.


Candidates need to be exposed to the good, the bad and the ugly. This organization shared all three during the interview process. We must accept the fact that aspects of our organization's 'DNA' will be repellant to some and life-giving to others. Employers who embrace their vulnerability will be seen as authentic. Authenticity will always rule the day.


As Maya Angelou so eloguently said, "people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." The good news is that throughout this particular interview process, the candidate felt valued. There is no substitute for that.

So, while we adjust to our computer screens and tackle technology glitches, let's continue to raise the bar in talent acquisition. The next great hire is counting on it.

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