A recent HR Grapevine article talked about how a number of organisations will be looking to attract rival talent despite (and in many cases in response to) these challenging times, namely IBM’s HR chief Diane Gherson. The article goes onto talk about how virtual interviewing will become more commonplace in order to facilitate this alongside some best practice approaches.

While these best practices are useful from a practical point of view (have a good internet connection, be conscious of your surroundings etc.), we often see organisations fall into more fundamental pitfalls when looking to secure key hires, leading to hundreds of thousands of pounds of wasted investment.

These ‘pitfalls’ are outlined below and are as relevant to virtual interviewing as to face to face, in many cases more so:

Assessment criteria: an assessment output is only as good as the quality of the input. Before assessing, time needs to be spent considering what success in the role looks like (both technically and behaviourally) and that any job profiles clearly reflect the ambitions of the future strategy of the organisation and/or culture. This needs to then clearly feed into the virtual elements of an interview process (be this the actual interview or any tools used).

Unstructured interviews: Standard interviews whilst useful, can be influenced by factors such as unconscious bias, espoused information (i.e. what someone would say they ‘typically do’ vs. actually do), and in worst case scenarios, false information! Too many interview approaches do not delve into the detail required to make effective appointment decisions and get under the skin of how someone will actually operate if appointed. In a virtual setting this can be even more of a risk, with decisions being based purely on discussions around the CV and some high level examples. This has a significant impact with Harvard Business Review identifying as much as 80% of employee turnover stemming from bad hiring decisions. 

Untrained interviewers: Linked to the above, organisations can at times expect too much from their own staff. Behavioural interview training should be provided and HR and managers should spend time ahead of interviews discussing what exactly they are looking for to get at the most salient information. Including a trained behavioural assessor who can provide an objective picture of a candidate has been shown to lead to better appointments. 

Weighting of data sources: CVs and online tests are often used as leading decision metrics for appointments, particularly when applying the process virtually. While these resources are helpful, they can be open to other factors which can skew the predictive validity of someone being effective in a role. Depending on the role, best practice would recommend that evidence based interviews should provide the main weighting with additional resources such as CVs, online tests and references providing supporting evidence and/or guidance around where to target interview questions. 

Lengthy interview processes: Interview processes can become over engineered in efforts to reduce the possible risk of a bad appointment and the access to modern day virtual platforms can lead to numerous interview steps being implemented. Behavioural interviews can cut time in half, leading to less likelihood of losing a candidate to another company while bringing the same, if not a greater level of rigour to the decision making.

Candidate experience can be a huge factor impacting employer brand and with sites like Glassdoor, experiences are more transparent than ever. A survey by Clutch reported more than 90% of surveyed hires felt the interview process influenced their overall opinion of a company. This is as important with internal promotions, as poor assessment processes (or lack thereof) can have a negative impact on employee commitment and motivation. Additional consideration needs to be taken about how candidates are engaged when delivering the recruitment process virtually, otherwise this can feel particularly transactional.


To hear more on this subject and what you can do to address these potential pitfalls, drop us a line and get free access to  our latest white paper; Assessment: The Talent Management Game Changer.

Karl Daly

Karl has 15+ years of experience within consulting and in-house leadership roles which cross geographies, sectors and industries. Most recently he has led a global team of experts to develop and deliver innovative development interventions across Asia, the Americas, Europe and Australia.