By Patricia Bexis, Senior Consultant
Over the past year, the way we have interviewed has completely changed, and although there were virtual interviews before the pandemic, most employers have changed their process to rely only on virtual interviews during this time.
This has caused a shift in mindset for not only hiring teams but also for the interviewee. How can you truly get a sense for the employer you are meeting with when you are not able to experience the culture and energy of the organization live in person as you would have in the past when walking into an in-person interview?
What can you do as the interviewee to get more information and make the best decision for your next career move when it comes to exploring an organization you have never truly met in person?
The answer is to ask questions. You are probably thinking “Yes, I always ask questions during an interview! How is this any different?”
We all know that asking questions in an interview is just as much for those hiring as it is for the individual being interviewed, but now more than ever, it’s key to know who you are signing a contract with and ensure there is a fit both ways. Traditional questions that have been asked in the past are still good options but now you will want to place more focus on culture questions and team dynamics.
A great way to do this is create a strategic approach to your virtual questions and break them into three categories:
- The Company
- The Team
- The Role
When you are in an interview you are going to want to make sure you have a good understanding of how the pandemic has affected the company and the team but also where the challenges for this role now lie based on these changes.
Here are some questions that could help you determine that you are signing an employment offer with the best organization for you.
Company Focused Questions:
- What are the goals the company is striving to achieve? This is a great question to ask regardless of the pandemic as it helps you to see what the company’s priorities are before joining.
- How has the company culture shifted during the pandemic? Understanding how the culture may have changed is important as it offers insight into internal dynamics and communication during this massive time of change.
- How and when do employees receive feedback? This question could be geared toward the team or the company as a whole as it is leadership-focused. Knowing how a company promotes employee growth through feedback is important. As a new employee, you want to ensure the style and frequency line up with your expectations.
Team Focused Questions:
- How does the team collaborate effectively when working virtually? Collaborative team questions are not new but understanding how this has shifted during the pandemic helps you to understand the virtual communication style and how it blends with your own style.
- What have been some of the challenges the team has faced trying to stay connected in a virtual setting? Getting an understanding of what challenges the team and in turn, the successful candidate would be facing when walking into a new role also gives you a stronger understanding of what pain points the organization is dealing with and what is also deemed as important.
- What are some of the qualities you are looking for in a successful candidate in this role? This is one of my favourite questions as it allows you to highlight key skills you may have missed if the interviewer brings up something that has not been covered. As well, this is a great question to have in your back pocket regardless of current interview scenarios.
- What are the major changes this role has had since the pandemic began? Again, as with previous questions, the way the role has changed and where the new challenges lie are important factors so you can gauge what skills and priorities the organization deems are important. If this does not line up with your own values, then this organization may not be an ideal fit. If it does, you have even more to be excited about when it comes to working with them!
These are just a few questions to add to your toolkit when it comes to interviewing the interviewer throughout the virtual hiring process. There is no one way to get a full picture of what you might be signing up for, but having strategically thought-out questions will give you a better idea of the values of the organization and if you would truly enjoy working with them. It is also important to remember, even as we begin to reopen many organizations will be sticking to a hybrid model which means these virtual interviews are probably not going anywhere anytime soon.