Interviewing via video link: Tips for Hiring Managers

Dani Hussey

Dani Hussey, Director of Operations and Talent at Alium Partners shares her latest insights and advice on interviewing interim and or Transition Managers via video link.

With 10 years’ experience within the Interim Management and recruitment industry, Dani leads Alium Partners internal and external operational activities, including IT, marketing, contracts and Talent Management strategies. Alium Partners is part of Valtus, the leading Interim and Transition Management company in Europe.

In the interim world of work, there is no better market than an economic crisis. When a company is in crisis, often the cost of failure to deliver change far outweighs the cost of hiring an Interim Manager.

How do you ensure you make the right decision when taking an Interim Manager through your recruitment process? This editorial looks at the key factors that businesses should consider when looking to hire an interim.

Hiring managers and candidates alike value the opportunity to meet in person as part of the usual hiring process that we have all grown accustomed to, this ensures a good fit with both the business and culture. Current circumstances have meant that the businesses focussing on growth or looking at a restructure or turnaround, have been forced to make these decisions based on virtual interviews, over MS Teams or Zoom.

How do we ensure that we promote a great candidate experience whilst also guaranteeing a thorough and fair interview process at the same time?

For many Interim Managers, interviewing via virtual meet is unfamiliar; some have never experienced a virtual interview. An interim would normally want to build a rapport quickly in order to establish trust and credibility when handling a business-critical project and this is mostly done in person.

Hiring companies that manage this process well and impress interims, will stand out from an employer brand perspective.

USING THE RIGHT TECH

There are many different platforms, so it is important to ensure that your candidate is able to join your meeting without the added anxiety of their video or mic being incompatible with your software.

The tech you have in place may be well known to your business and come as second nature to you and your team, but the Manager may have been asked to use a number of different platforms previously and this can get confusing.

To create a great candidate experience:

  • Make your choice of tech clear and unambiguous.
  • Put together a simple user guide with tips (and images if necessary).
  • Allow the interim an opportunity to test their connection.
  • Send a clear calendar invitation with all links, meeting IDs and passwords.
SETTING THE SCENE

Well prepared Interim Managers will have researched your business prior to your meeting, however, they may be unaware of your company’s protocol. For example, in this new normal where many have settled into a ‘work from home’ lifestyle, they may not be aware that your company requires appropriate business attire.

Many managers may have young families and pets at home. Interviewing over a barking dog or hungry children badgering for their lunch does not set the most relaxed of environments. Be mindful of this and ask for a convenient time when distractions may be minimal.

To create a great interview experience:

  • Brief your candidate on anything it would be useful for them to know in advance.
  • Let your candidate know about any expectations for dress, formality or timing.
  • Bear in mind the normal family circumstances your interviewee may be in.
  • Set a meeting time that is convenient for both you and your candidate.
  • Ask your candidate when is the best or quietest time.
PROVIDING ADEQUATE COMPANY INFORMATION

If the interim can’t interview or commence an assignment at your office, they won’t get to experience the environment and culture of your workplace. This can impact the insight that they would usually gain from immersion into your company and could reduce the initial level of engagement and rapport needed with key stakeholders they will be working closely with.

Adequate briefing on the physical and cultural aspects of the business is important in order for the manager to make a sound judgement and decision.

To share the culture and atmosphere of your company:

  • Tell your interim about the physical, historical and cultural ethos of your company.
  • Introduce your team and workplace with video, photos and virtual tours.
  • Share your social media and internal communications channels.
INVOLVE YOUR TEAM

Due to the limitations that virtual meetings present it may be a good idea to involve multiple stakeholders throughout the process, resulting in a more rounded decision. I am not suggesting bringing the whole team or company in, but those whose departments or divisions will be impacted by this interim manager can help to provide valid feedback.

A first or final stage interview, for example, could be an informal chat over a “Virtual Coffee” to see the more personal side of the interim. This can help to give you a better insight into how they would engage with the Board and stakeholders in a more relaxed setting.

To generate productive team involvement:

  • Include team members who will work regularly with the interim in video meetings.
  • Vary the intensity of video meetings from to casual to gain personal insight.
  • Get feedback from stakeholders about the interim and offer channels of communication.

At Alium Partners, we guide many managers through the interview process, both for interviews with ourselves and with our clients; this gives us an exceptional and much-valued insight into the recent experiences of both managers and clients. As part of Valtus, we draw on a pan-European experience of business culture in many countries to help, advise and guide our Interims.

For more insight, to request assistance with virtual meetings or to learn more about our Alium Partners interview process and onboarding value-add, please feel free to contact me at 020 7398 7500 or email Dani.Hussey@aliumpartners.com.

Download the PDF copy of the paper here