3 Considerations for Hiring in a Virtual Environment 3 minute read Written by I/O Psychologist, Justin Deonarine 1) Remote interviews (via web conferencing) are just as effective as in-person interviews. Sources such as Indeed and Harvard Business Review have suggested the idea that candidates will be more comfortable during remote interviews, as they are in a familiar environment. This will help them present their authentic self, allowing you to gain more insight to who they truly are. Of course, this isn’t to say that a virtual interview removes all challenges for a candidate. While an in-person interview requires the candidate to consider factors such as travel time to ensure that they’re arriving to your office on time, candidates instead need to double-check that their technology works in the remote world. A stable connection is critical, as well as having an alternative method of connection if something goes wrong. I’ve heard others experience challenges such as power outages and cameras/headsets disconnecting during interviews, forcing these candidates to switch to a difference device (such as their phone) to complete the interview. Just remember: The person might not be wearing pants during a remote interview, but you don’t have to either. (Pants are highly recommended for in-person interviews.) 2) New interview techniques (e.g., recorded interview questions) are not a replacement for proper candidate evaluation. While recorded interview methods can be more efficient for the employer, it can also be a double-edged sword. While it reduces the amount of upfront work for the hiring team, what are they actually learning about the candidate? Candidates can rehearse and revise their recording until they feel it presents the picture that they want to project. So, are they actually effective? No matter what your interview process looks like, the common advice provided for running the most effective process is very similar. For example: Follow a structured process that is easy for your team and the candidate to follow. (Recorded interviews help with this. They are structured and consistent for each applicant.) Establish trust with the candidate. This will help them feel more comfortable engaging with you. (Recorded interviews may struggle with this one, because it’s hard to build trust if you’ve never interacted with each other.) Communicate with the candidate to keep them in the loop. Don’t ghost them. In the end, recorded interviews won’t fully replace the need to learn more about your candidate and to build a relationship with them. 3) Assessments play just as critical of a role these days. It’s still true that resumes, references and interviews (in-person, remote or recorded) still do not provide the full picture of a candidate. Resumes can be embellished, interviews can be coached…and how often do we hear a reference give a negative review of a candidate? (And, if/when you do, you have to wonder why the candidate picked that person as a reference.) The reality is that we still need to evaluate the candidate’s true self, and psychometric assessments are still the most direct way to gather this information. However, with remote roles becoming more common, you also need to reconsider the traits that candidates need for the new environment. For example, employees may need to make more decisions independently, or may need to put more effort into maintaining relationships with colleagues. If you’re seeking candidates who seek diverse input before moving forward (because it’s easy to connect with others within the office environment), keep in mind that this approach may hinder their success while working remotely. Closing Thoughts Ultimately, the same advice for in-person hiring applies when hiring remotely: Make sure that you’re not setting your candidate up for failure. Gather the objective information that you need to get to know the candidate at a deeper level. Make an effort to get to know the candidate. Make sure that your criteria for the role aligns with the environment that the person will be working in.