May 5, 2021
Since the pandemic began, we have adapted our search practice to this new reality, working to build human connection and support our clients, search committees and candidates in a virtual world. As we ponder the future where we can gather again in person, what will we go back to doing and what is here to stay?
As the COVID tide begins to turn with the proliferation of vaccines, many envision returning to the office and happily abandoning the “new normal” for the old familiar. When the virus turned everything upside down and we all headed home, we adapted to fully digital while striving to maintain human connection in a virtual world. With that journey came the expected downside, but it also brought many unanticipated benefits.
Who would have imagined a year ago that Zoom would become a generic household name as common as Kleenex, or that “You’re on mute” and “Which one did you get?” would be among the most frequently heard phrases? We worked with pets and children at our sides and lawn mowers and leaf blowers in the background. Waves, surges and tiers took on new and weightier meaning. What do we anticipate as we imagine nudging our way back to the office? How do we build on the creative solutions and unanticipated gains in going virtual and working remotely?
Video interviewing is never ideal and cannot replace a face-to-face meeting, but it is something we have utilized for years when distance or circumstances precluded gathering in person. Before, virtual interviewing could be daunting to many candidates as they wrestled with new technology on top of the inherent stress of an interview. Now, most professionals have mastered the technology and have a comfort level with the medium that makes the virtual format seem like virtual reality. Although we will always opt to meet candidates in person when feasible, we anticipate that video interviews will remain part of this preliminary phase of the search process.
Clients and search committees have also been forced to resort to engaging with candidates virtually throughout the search process. We have provided our clients with as much insight and detail about the candidates to provide that missing dimension. We support search committees by facilitating the interview and taking notes so they can focus on connecting with the individuals. When possible, we provide candidates with virtual tours of the organization and suggest opportunities for informal connection and open dialogue with our clients. It is our expectation that in the future, finalists will meet stakeholders in person and will visit the hiring organization to ensure mutual interest and cultural fit.
We miss our colleagues and are eager to be together again at the water cooler or to pop into each other’s office for a quick brainstorming session. While away, we remained closely connected through creative, productive and interactive meetings. The ability and option to shift to a hybrid or remote work model is proven and successful but we look forward to moving into our new Pasadena office where we will be welcoming our clients and candidates in person this summer. The jury is still out on whether our dogs will be joining us.