As COVID-19 continues to sweep the globe at an extraordinary rate, organizations are forced to adapt to a new normal. Gone are the red-eye flights and morning commutes. Gone too, are in-person interviews, site tours and offer discussions over dinner. These have been replaced with video calls, virtual tours, and instant messages. Each week, the pandemic further disrupts “business as usual” forcing companies to quickly adapt and respond to a changing environment.
Among other challenges facing organizations, attracting top leadership talent has become a reality adding to the Pandemic’s burden. For organizations where either great leadership has recently exited or where leadership voids are apparent, the need to attract strong, experienced leaders has become critical. The means used to attract and assess this talent has undergone dramatic changes amid the COVID–19 Pandemic. Adaptive organizations have been amplifying lesser used recruiting tactics and developing entirely new tactics, including:
Virtual Interview Days
With Social Distancing at the helm of the fight against COVID-19, companies have reimagined the candidate experience by creating virtual interview days. Video conference technology has enabled organizations to provide a robust and immersive experience to candidates. Through roundtable discussions, candidate presentations and multi-participant interview panels our clients have harnessed much of the momentum and engagement gained in traditional on-site interviews.
Virtual tours of manufacturing facilities are becoming common when attracting finalist candidates. Digital white boarding sessions have provided board members and investors with increased insight into candidates thought process, experience, and strategic vision.
Cycle Time Compression
Without domestic and international travel, on-site interview processes have shifted to virtual processes. Cycle times – which typically took weeks or months – can now be completed in a matter of days. This has substantially compressed interview and assessment timelines. Recognizing and utilizing this new cycle-time reality enables ready organizations to outpace traditional processes, engage candidates quickly and utilize the velocity to their competitive advantage.
Multiple offers coupled with lengthy multi-stakeholder interview processes had previously served as common roadblocks. Now, cycle-time compression has enabled adaptive organizations to engage aggressively, and rapidly close recruiting processes.
With so many stakeholders (candidates, CEO, Board Members) bound by the same stay-at-home restrictions – access and availability of these individuals has also increased. Utilizing this access to accelerate selection processes is having an impact on attracting top leaders.
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, referencing candidates has served as an instrumental step in the assessment process. Amidst the pandemic, more private equity firms are employing the tactic of reverse referencing as a new means for engaging and securing top talent. Reverse referencing is providing candidates with a list of individuals who can speak to their experience working with the company.
By utilizing their stable of executive talent – including executives within current and past portfolio companies, key client relationships – more private equity firms are providing candidates with direct access to their network. This tactic allows for increased transparency and a comprehensive means of validation and discovery for prospective hires and can prove quite impactful in the candidate experience.
The ability to adapt quickly to new recruiting tactics will attract leaders capable of driving organizations through this global health crisis and enabling future success is essential to the survival and growth of companies globally.
There will be lasting impacts as the new normal is defined in a post-COVID world. When it comes to executive recruitment, some of the novel tactics – developed out of necessity – may prove to forever change the playbook associated with engaging the and recruiting leadership teams.