If you're in a people and services business where people are your product, securing top talent for your business will have a direct impact on the success of your financial year. KJ Green, Head of People & Culture, takes us through her best tips on developing an employer brand through virtual interviews.
To recap: what is your employer brand?
Quite simply, your employer brand is how you are perceived by anyone who could want to (or already) works for you. Your employer brand comes from what you are communicating to that audience - the stories, behind-the-scenes glimpses, values, and so on - embedded in your company's voice and hiring strategy. It's leaving impressions on the best candidates before you need to hire so that when you do, you're saving time and money with a guaranteed pipeline.
Let me let you in on an industry secret...companies that are consistently attracting top talent are rightly focussed on their employer brand. And it doesn't always have to be big. Especially in a virtual world, even an interview can be the perfect opportunity to showcase your employer brand.
Tips to make virtual interviews a part of your brand touchpoint
Recruitment is rarely an easy task. The market is competitive, commitment is hard to find, and the whole process can be time-consuming. To hire at scale, it's about working smarter not harder at attracting the right people. Interviews are an important step of the hiring process because it's likely the first touchpoint a potential candidate has with a real person from your organisation. Even the most confident of candidates can find interviews nerve-wracking and will assume the way you treat candidates during the hiring process mirrors the way you'll treat them after hiring. If a positive candidate experience is factored in when they're evaluating job offers, then a bad candidate experience is detrimental. Candidates who might not make the cut might still leave a bad stain on your business and EVP (Employer Value Proposition) if they feel like their time was not valued enough or was denied a fair interview.
Although restrictions and safety measures are slowly relaxing, virtual interviews are here to stay. Google Meets is slowly replacing the Costa Coffee downstairs and that makes a difference in how you manage your employer brand.
The important thing to remember is that you are being interviewed just as much as you are interviewing. So don't forget the basics...
Ensure that the candidate has the link well in advance and knows who they will be meeting.
Dress as if it was for an in-person interview (at least from the waist up...).
Prepare a well-lit and distraction-free environment
Avoid the urge to multi-task. Look at the camera directly and turn off the other applications on your computer.
Try to attend a minute or two earlier so you can welcome them when they enter the virtual meeting room
Incorporate some small talk
Diving straight into the interview can feel a little abrupt, so start by asking about them. In the absence of the 'walk' to and from the meeting room, taking the time to get to know the candidates on a less formal level can be an impactful icebreaker. They'll be able to step back from traditional interview personas and project their real personality to you more.
Show them around the office
Most people might still be working from home right now, but the beauty of the office is that it's a part of your brand...your identity as a business. The seen and unseens of your office help candidates visualise what it would be like if they were to join the company and the culture you're describing actually at work.
Talk them through the 'new normal' (but maybe don't call it that)
How has the pandemic affected your company culture, what are the new ways that you connect as a team? How do you collaborate on projects? How regularly would you be expected to come into the office? There is no one size fits all when it comes to the pandemic in the working world. Candidates need to understand the expectations of them if they were to join your company.
Introduce them to the wider team
Right now, we aren’t relying on everyone to be in the country...or even in the office. Make the most out of your new online tools - provide the candidate with access to senior leaders and diverse colleagues. Perhaps a call with a 'buddy' or bringing the HR Manager in them to run them through the benefits package.
Ask for feedback
Like I mentioned earlier, interviews are a two-way street. Whilst sharing feedback with each candidate on their suitability, take a few minutes to understand their experience on your hiring process. Could there have been better communication? Was the application form too long? How about the information available online on your company? Be open to giving and receiving feedback through an informal few questions or a survey you can send out after.