Career Advice 1.1

Finding out whether a company’s mission, values and practices resonate with the candidate’s own desired career path and personal values is crucial to creating a positive team dynamic and a cohesive work environment.

Cultural fit is generally one of the hardest criteria to measure in a new recruit since it goes beyond the measurable benchmarks of technical capabilities. Hiring managers, therefore, rely heavily on face-to-face interviews to evaluate whether a candidate’s attitudinal traits and soft skills would fit the corporate culture.

As more companies transition to virtual recruitment processes as part of their work-from-home arrangements, assessing soft skills and alignment with company values the same way as in-person interactions can be challenging.

With a few adjustments, however, you can effectively adapt your existing interview procedures to video or virtual platforms while ensuring you are comprehensively assessing cultural fit to ensure a productive, long-term hire.

Related: Video interviewing takes the reins

1. Create a welcoming atmosphere

Video interviews can be more static than face-to-face interactions, while the sense of distance can make it harder to exhibit or read some of the natural behaviours that you would typically focus on to assess soft skills.

To conduct an effective virtual interview that emulates the atmosphere of an in-person interaction, focus on creating a personable atmosphere. This can break down some of the barriers that a virtual interview can present and encourage the jobseeker to be more expressive in turn.

While these may be second nature in a traditional interview setting, be sure to be present and engaged with every interview by offering a warm introduction, making direct eye contact, and smiling, nodding or using hand gestures as you would in an in-person conversation.

These are undeniably strange times so simply acknowledging the current situation and being transparent about its impact on your own role and the business can create rapport with the candidate. Taking the time to share your own experiences and check how they are managing the situation can be an efficient way to establish trust. Questions like “how have you found the experience of social distancing?” or “have you taken away any positives from this experience?” are engaging without being too personal, and glean an insight into their resilience, pragmatism and mindset in the face of uncertainty.

A virtual interview remains an interview, so you should still use this as an opportunity to assess an interviewee’s behaviour. Easily adapting to an untraditional interview with politeness, enthusiasm and professionalism is a strong indication of emotional intelligence and adaptability, while appearing un-engaged or distant throughout a virtual interview may be a sign of poor interpersonal skills or disinterest in the role.