As we at StoneWood scramble to cope with unfolding events and the unknowable road ahead, our offices have been emptied into individual residences stocked with the technologies to enable our internal and external interactions to continue. While not without its occasional challenges the physical transition has been manageable.
For the most part, our clients have not cancelled their projects. We continue to recruit, interview and report regularly on our progress. Not surprisingly, candidates’ appetites for change during this existential nightmare varies widely depending on individual circumstances and the condition/security of their industries, companies and positions. Some cannot call us back fast enough while others are too busy to return our calls. Many candidates we talk to are ruffled and anything but venturesome at the moment. That said, others are happy to engage. To our surprise some employers are already being judged for the manner by which they are handling the crisis and their staff. Generally, with most people at home, availability to talk is not an issue.
Candidate and client interviews are now conducted via video rather than in person and have generally been without incident. That said, while a good vehicle by which to become acquainted with candidates, using video interviewing alone has been an adjustment as it remains a connectivity challenged facsimile of the real thing with lags that occasionally stilts conversation. They are also cognitively taxing as one seeks to evaluate candidates while dealing with the ambient distractions of basement or home office bookshelves cluttered with all manner of paraphernalia. That we (ok make that I) prefer to interview candidates in sterile, neutral office settings rather than in more contextually and data rich home settings is admittedly concerning. Afraid that the problem was solely me, a cursory review of the academic literature seemed to confirm that video still lacks equivalency to in-person interviews.
Our clients are extremely tentative to make hiring decisions absent of in-person meetings. Thus, we already have several projects that await borders to reopen, airplanes to fly and our clients to physically meet finalist candidates. In the instance of one organization, a firm whose revenues are soaring due to the demand for their ‘essential’ products and services, the CEO cannot finalize the selection of an executive essential to meeting that demand until she is able to enter Canada. In the meantime we are finding ways to keep the parties engaged and the processes moving forward.
Let’s see what the next 10 days will bring …
About the Author
Robert Hebert is the founder and Managing Partner of StoneWood Group Inc., a leading executive search firm in Canada. Since 1981, he has helped firms across a wide range of sectors address their senior recruiting, assessment and leadership development requirements.