Executive Hiring During Coronavirus

The importance of hiring executives typically insulates those roles from the ups and downs of economic swings. However, with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and related measures to slow the spread of the virus, we are seeing a slow down of hiring in certain industries as companies are instituting remote work policies and eliminating non-essential travel. 

The impact on hiring is not expected to have a long term impact. C-suite, board, and related executive leadership roles are too important to leave open too long. In fact, most expect a delay in hiring of a quarter. Some companies are adapting with the times and taking advantage of video interviews to keep the process moving.

It’s likely that executive level candidates are not overly familiar with video interviews. The practice is not something that was common even a few years ago, and at this level of the organization, the preference is to meet candidates face to face to get a feel for their emotional intelligence, leadership skills, and general personality. After all, culture fit is critical and that is tough to gauge on a video.

But if you are asked to participate in a video interview, there are a few elements you’ll want to be sure you’ve checked and double-checked prior to the scheduled time. First, make sure your connection is stable and can handle the video stream. There is nothing worse than joining a video call of any kind, but especially an interview, and realizing you don’t have the required plug-ins or software downloaded. The first impression is that you’re not prepared. This goes for both the interviewer and the interviewee. 

Also make sure you know what you look and sound like using your laptop or tablet. Try to avoid using a smartphone for a video call. If the sound is poor or the camera isn’t optimal, consider purchasing a microphone and webcam with a higher resolution than your laptop camera. Often these add-ons can improve the placement of the camera and microphone to improve your appearance. 

Along with the quality of the electronics, be sure you find a quiet location with an acceptable background. The bathroom is out. Test out different locations to see where you have good light and a neutral background. And dress as you would for an in-person interview. Finally, one of the most difficult elements of a video interview to master is looking at the camera and not your monitor. Making eye contact by looking at your camera is a way to demonstrate your comfort level with the medium This is something you should practice a few times prior to the interview.

Even with video interviewing, the recruiting process is going to be longer as a result of the social distancing. As a candidate, you have to be prepared for a longer transition period. A longer recruitment can have benefits and drawbacks for both the companies hiring and the candidates who are searching. 

For example, new candidates may become available due to layoffs in certain sectors. This opens up a new pool of candidates who were not previously looking. On the flip side, some candidates that were in the mix may decide to stay put due to the uncertainty in the economy. They may feel safer in their current role as opposed to being the new person at the company where they might be more prone to being let go if there is any turbulence. The grass may no longer appear to be greener to them. 

Companies that have strong balance sheets and exercise prudence during this time will be able to weather the storm without a significant impact. They may also be able to upgrade their team at a lower relative cost during a challenging time. If you have questions about hiring during economic uncertainty or how to handle remote interviewing, please send us a note.