Since I returned to the office in January, everything has been different.
Gone seem to be the days where we had two really quick interviews within a week to make sure the offer went out on Friday and the contract was drawn up the next business day.
It’s much slower, the pace isn’t as frantic, it’s calculated and the face-to-face interview step is back – which is great!
Team interviews are a great way to make initial connections, but let’s face it, it’s so important to go to your future workplace and actually meet the people you’ll be spending most of your time with.
After the lockdown we had this new way of interacting with people, then the candidate drought happened and now that we’re coming out the other side of the old new it’s refreshing to see candidates excited to head to the agency to meet their new boss or they are going across town to meet their new client.
Lara Hewitt, director of talent at R/GA says, “I think most of us have officially mastered the zoom interview by now. But that initial awkwardness as you confirm that you can both hear each other, the anxiety you get out of a candidate as they go to screen share, and the back-to-blocking it causes in some people means that we come face-to-face with open hugs.
“Having said that, I think it’s always important to remember the ‘why’ of face-to-face – it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. At R/GA, we fully encourage flexibility – personal is optional. From a talent perspective, we of course always want to meet and get to know our potential candidates, and in person is undoubtedly the strongest way to connect and engage.”
Ella Ward, Head of DDB Experience at DDB says: “When it comes to a new role, the office experience is quickly making a comeback to become one of the most important focuses of candidate interviews. It’s less “How often can I WFH?” and more “What’s the culture of your agency?”
So yes, Teams calls are great for the first fact-finding chat, but all good candidates (and good agencies) move on to face-to-face interviews after that. This is the best way to get to know each other
Emelie Lundberghead of Social and The Works, says: “I saw this social post recently that said ‘who you choose to work with is one of the most important decisions you’ll make based on the time you spend together.’
“We have a hybrid working model at The Works as we believe it helps foster connection and collaboration for our agency. This extends to the interview process, where the initial rounds are often conducted virtually, but we feel it is essential to meet the candidate in person for the final stage.
“This gives us the opportunity to get to know candidates on a more personal level, engage in targeted conversation and see how they interact with others. For them, it’s a chance to get a taste of the workplace culture and meet their potential colleagues – both important factors when considering a new position.”
Kate Raleigh, Managing Partner and Head of Studio at Poem, says: “Our agency fosters and prioritizes culture, and this is no different with the recruitment process. Our recruitment philosophy is similar to the work from home and office model, we are flexible. Having said that, it is more important than ever to bring back face-to-face interviews for both parties involved… Video interviewing has opened up our world by allowing us to see that we don’t always have to meet in person at every stage of the process and something , which we are still in the early stages to this date.
“Taking the time to have a face-to-face meeting allows us to cover subject matter that you might not have during a video call, and topics outside of the highly focused work issues often pop up and can help lead to more inspiring and interesting conversations from and both ends. It’s not rocket science, it’s just being more human, with both partners taking the time to meet, and unless there’s a good reason, such as interstate or unreachable, we’ll always choose face-to-face at this final stage.”
I believe flexible working is here to stay, but human interaction is a necessity in our industry. It encourages creativity, production, ideas + banter in the kitchen, which is always good for the soul and your mental health.
It’s exciting to see the way recruitment has shaped up now after the lockdown and the big shift to flexible working in most agency structures.
Kirsty Tavae is Director of TKR Group, a specialist recruitment agency based in Sydney.