The chief people officer of a $40 billion software company on how hiring managers can improve the virtual interview from the initial reach out to the final round
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Remote hiring has been a challenge for companies across the board. Facebook's Head of Global Recruiting, Miranda Kalinowski, said it's challenging to keep a human element present in the recruitment process, and for candidates to get to know the company culture. Hinge CEO Justin McLeod said that the biggest challenge is in getting new hires acclimated to the company through onboarding. Joan Burke, chief people officer at the e-signature company DocuSign, has felt these challenges and more. For instance, at DocuSign, managers said they didn't want to hire new employees at all if they couldn't meet them in person. This was a problem, Burke tells Business Insider, given that DocuSign isn't set to return to the office until June 2021. So Burke needed to teach them how to shift their mindset. "Our recruiter said, 'If you don't hire them over Zoom, our competition is going to hire them over Zoom, so get used to it,'" Burke said. "That was really helpful for the managers to say, this can work, and this can be meaningful." Business Insider spoke with Burke about the two pieces of advice she gives hiring managers to help them improve the candidate experience, from the initial reach out to the final interview. Keep the number of people involved to a minimum In a normal interview setting, it's already stressful for applicants to meet with several people. But during a remote interview, it's even more challenging. That's why Burke recommends only two people be involved in the interview process: the recruiting coordinator and the hiring manager. "Just having one point person has really helped with clarity, and giving the person the best experience," she said. When DocuSign would bring people into the office to interview pre-pandemic, they would often have them meet with several individuals on one day. This is easy to coordinate in-person, but can be stressful virtually. It's important, she said, to make the process straightforward. "Make things as streamlined as possible," she said. Be understanding of small interruptions Since interviews are taking place at home, interruptions will probably happen, whether it's a baby crying or a dog barking in the background. So it's important to be understanding of these diversions and not let them take over the interview. During a recent phone call with a candidate, Burke said they were interrupted when an Amazon delivery driver rang the doorbell. The interviewee apologized and asked if they could answer the door because they needed to sign for the delivery. "In the past I might have thought, 'Well that was weird,'" she said. "But now I'm like 'Okay cool, whatever.'" Burke also said she's helping managers not be quite so rigid about things, "like if someone's kid walks in right in the middle of a conversation," she said. If a child does walk into the room during an interview, Burke said it doesn't hurt introduce yourself to the child and strike up a small conversation. It shows you're empathetic, and it's the type of courtesy you would hope to get from someone if the situation was reversed. Plus, it leaves a good impression on the candidate. "Show that humanness when you can't be in-person," she said.SEE ALSO: Most bosses think they're doing a better job leading than they actually are. Here are some ways to close the gap. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here's what it's like to travel during the coronavirus outbreak
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