Hiring Virtually: What We Learned In Our First Completely Virtual Hire

by Kate Neri | Aug 4, 2020

Like many companies in the wake of the pandemic, our office has been left empty with the team doing what we love to do from the safety (and sometimes chaos) of our own homes. Process changes, adjustments in how meetings work, and figuring out how to maintain morale (see some of our tips here) came with the territory, but when it was time to find the next Syrupian to join the family, figuring out how to find the right fit virtually was daunting.

The first thing we did was accept this new reality and made the best of video calls. After hundreds of Zoom interviews, I can still stand strong today and say: SKIP PHONE CALLS. Dive in head-first to the fun of video. The more time you have interacting with candidates “face-to-face,” the better. Video by no means has all the benefits of an in-person interview; however, it’s not a bad back-up option. Video still allows you to see how candidates handle tough questions, get a glimpse of their personalities, and, what I personally loved, observe how they conduct themselves in the awkward situation of meeting someone for the first time over video.

One major (and valid) hesitation with all-video interviews is the fact that it’s hard to gauge if a candidate is a good “culture-fit.” Whether it’s in-person or on Zoom, our values have always been our filter for good culture fits. Like Kraig talks about in his post about our values, these are core to our business, they represent the best qualities that we find in our own team, and give us clear direction for the types of folks we want to continue to recruit and hire in the future. Knowing these values are most important, we focused our questions around them to help gauge the culture side of things.

Finally, we asked ourselves, “What will the candidates miss most about in-person interviews?” A few things:

  1. Touring the office – We provided visuals of the office and other Syrup assets to really paint the picture of who we are and the environment in which they would work.
  2. Meeting their counterparts – We created extra checkpoints along the interview process to ensure they got to meet their counterparts which served our team as well in getting to know the candidates before hiring them.

Just because your hiring process is virtual now doesn’t mean it has to be impersonal. Think through your existing hiring process to find creative ways to simulate the interaction virtually, clearly outline what is most important in your next hire to give you and your team added focus, and leverage the tools that are out there to support you in this new “virtual” reality.

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 by Kate Neri

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