Today’s guest blogger is Jim Lyons, JD, CPC of LHI Executive Search in the New York City area. LHI is an investigative executive search & research outsourcing firm covering the information technology, capital markets, private equity/venture capital, digital & social media, mobile, cloud, big data, and legal business sectors. Jim has been an NPAworldwide member since 2012 and is currently serving as the chairman-elect of the Board of Directors. Below he discusses recruitment best practices related to video interviewing.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies, including major law firms made changes to their candidate assessment and hiring practices. For example, in legal search a lateral partner transaction typically takes several months to a year to close and get paid a recruitment fee. To my delight I was fortunate to process two partner transactions over the last 15 months that closed in 4-5 months. Why? It is easier to get all of the stakeholders to get on a video v. coordinating in-person meetings. Pre-Covid this time table was impossible.
In general, with the shift to remote work and remote candidate assessment, companies are widening their talent pool by recruiting workers from across the U.S. Meanwhile, the talent shortage is exacerbating the need to source talent beyond a company’s traditional market. Employers who are expanding their recruitment strategies should be aware of certain risks and obligations involved in remote hiring. In addition, practitioners should be informed of emerging employment law trends and be able to point out to clients obvious compliance issues. Of course, the client should always seek outside legal advice when appropriate. At the end of this text I have included some great employment law sources and some top national employment law firms that consult with businesses of all sizes, offering free webinars and they also provide counsel to recruitment, staffing and executive search firms.
First Round Video Processing Concerns
As much as video recruitment is now a daily part of the recruitment process, some candidates are pushing back on a first round video interview. These individuals could be passive candidates who may feel that a video would formalize them as candidates too early. These passive candidates are opportunistically intrigued about the marketplace, but just not ready to go the record as a candidate. In practice, I lead with a phone call first. I have found a much higher acceptance rate at the executive level as opposed to trying to engage first under a video.
In this marketplace, I have experienced first round video pushback from candidates. In short, they feel that their appearance, (although otherwise qualified for the job), may put them at a competitive disadvantage. Thus, some candidates/prospects are requesting that the first round discussion with both the recruiter and the client be telephonic. In essence, these individuals feel more comfortable establishing and communicating their qualifications outside of any bias that may arise under the lens of a video. As a talent acquisition professional, I feel that it is incumbent on practitioners to make best efforts to honor the candidate’s request. Understandably, the client may insist on a video interview (for all qualified candidates) down the road. Needless to say that talent acquisition professional conducting a search should never selectively pick and choose whom they video. All candidates under assessment should be on the same playing ground, unless of course they opt out. Below are some additional recruitment best practices surrounding video interviewing.
Recording Video Risks. When interviewing over remote video technology, be aware of the possibility that candidates may be surreptitiously recording. Video of an improper interview exchange could cause legal and PR nightmares for the recruiter and/or the client. Clients can help reduce this risk by requiring candidates to sign nondisclosure or “no recording/no publishing” statements in advance of an interview. Furthermore, practitioners should only ask appropriate questions, relating to the job, qualifications and past performance.
State Law Jurisdictional Concerns. One should not assume that by conducting a video interview they are insulated from state and local employment law. When you assess or hire an out-of-state employee, you must comply with the employment rules in their home state or municipality. Protections for marital status, sexual identity, gender identity, whistleblowing, and off-duty conduct, for example, vary by state.
Certain states and municipalities have also passed “ban the box” legislation that prohibits you from asking about a candidate’s criminal history before extending a conditional job offer.
More than 20 states, including Massachusetts, have passed “salary ban” legislation prohibiting employers from asking candidates about their salary history (although in some states only public employers are affected). Certain cities, such as New York, San Francisco, and Cincinnati, have similar laws.
Likewise, several states have enacted pay transparency laws which require employers o publicize wage ranges for vacant positions (Connecticut). When, where, and how those disclosures need to be made can vary by state. Several states require it upon request (Massachusetts has one such bill pending), but Colorado requires it in the job posting itself.
In conclusion, video interviewing, if utilized impartially as a qualification and assessment tool, is an valuable way to expedite the recruitment process. However, it is critical that the talent acquisition professional maintain a level of consistency in the use of video assessment for all candidates in the stream of consideration. Specifically, there must be fairness in the use video interviewing as an assessment tool. Concurrently, practitioners should be tolerant and accommodating respecting the concerns of candidates.
Lastly, clients, employers and candidates should always seek professional legal advice for critical HR and employment law issues. Below are some excellent resources for recruitment best practices and employment law updates.
Recruitment Best Practices and Great Employment Law Sites