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Putting people first during the coronavirus

In Talent Wins, the definitive book for reimagining and creating talent-driven organisations (it’s brilliant!), the authors state: “Talent is king.  Talent, even more than strategy, is what creates value.” 

As we try to get to grips with the coronavirus crisis, now, more than ever, is the time to put people first:

  • Protect talent.  Make the safety and well-being of employees your priority and invest, as needed, to ensure a safe and healthy working environment.
  • Prepare now for your future talent needs.  Challenging times and uncertain market conditions often make critical talent available.  Plan now and acquire the talent you need to fuel mid- to long-term growth after the coronavirus has run its course.

(Bain & Company, 2020)

But how do you acquire the talent you need to navigate the coronavirus crisis during lockdown measures?

Well, coronavirus is spurring remote hiring and ‘CNBC make it’ spoke to the experts from Glassdoor and Modern Hire to find out their top tips for getting the virtual job interview right:

Advice for clients

Be prepared — familiarise yourself and other interviewers with the candidate’s resume and the job description to give the virtual interview the formality of an in-person one. Likewise, keep the candidate informed on who they’ll be interviewing with so they can prepare questions of their own. And, of course, check your tech. 

Have a strategy — think carefully about the skills and attributes you’re looking for in a candidate and design questions that dig into each one.

Communicate openly — keep candidates well-informed at each stage of the interview process. Without being able to give them a warm, in-person reception, it’s especially important to show them their time and efforts are valued.

Remove distractions — be respectful to the candidate and position yourself away from distractions, including your smartphone, as you would in an in-person interview. 

Reinforce employer brand — ensure interviewers at all stages of the recruitment process convey a consistent message about the company’s mission and values. 

Give the candidate time — pause to ensure the candidate is done with their response, before moving onto the next question to account for time lags and lack of usual social cues.

Advice for candidates

Test your tech — make sure your internet connection and video conferencing program are both working well prior to your interview. 

Dress appropriately — dressing for success is no less important for remote interviews. Dress smartly, like you would for an in-person interview, and ensure your surroundings are tidy. 

Be prepared — do your homework just as you would for any other interview, rehearsing your responses to key interview questions and preparing your own questions for the interviewer.

Be personable — make eye-contact, smile often and generally engage with the interviewer to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role.

Remove distractions — ensure you’re fully engaged with the interviewer by removing all distractions, including your smartphone.

Follow-up — send a follow-up note to your interviewer, thanking them for their time.

A global corporate practice that Sparkes has links with is showing real agility during these unprecedented times.  New potential hires are being given more scrutiny; however, they have not frozen recruitment and are still keen to acquire top tier talent.  All interviews are being conducted over Skype and new joiners are being sent IT equipment to their home address in order to be onboarded remotely. 

At Sparkes, our thoughts are with all of our clients and candidates during this extremely challenging pandemic.  We will get through this together and we are here to help you prepare now for your future talent needs.


Bain & Company

CNBC make it

Talent Wins