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Is Virtual Hiring Good or Bad for Business?

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COVID-19 imposed new conditions on hiring practices — but is that necessarily a bad thing? Three Westchester-based hiring executives share their thoughts on virtual hiring — now and for the future.

Photo courtesy of Allison Madison

Allison Madison

President/CEO
Madison Approach Staffing,Elmsford

“[Prior to the outbreak,] hiring by committee was increasingly happening, with three, four, even five in-person interviews scheduled. Add to that commutation demands on the applicant, and you can see how the traditional model could be both inconvenient and time-inefficient. Also, most companies conduct the process backward. Most people do the interview upfront, often because they are hiring for [personal] affinity, not for skills or job fit. I do the reverse: I’ll process the [paperwork] and do a brief phone interview first; toward the end, I’ll do a more in-depth interview. What people need to remember is that there’s almost no correlation between interviewing and job performance. So, virtual hiring can be a much better fit for a wide variety of companies.”

Photo courtesy of Pam Peterkin-White

Pam Peterkin-White

Vice President, Human Resources
United Hebrew of New Rochelle, New Rochelle

“We used to do practically all of our interviews in-person. The pandemic obviously made that impossible, so around the end of March, we started doing all our first-round interviews (and sometimes second-round interviews) via Zoom or FaceTime, and for those who made it to the second round, we’d have them come in to meet with a hiring manager. What this did, which turned out well, is force us to look for a certain level of computer literacy, a practice we’ll retain going forward. It also seems to have made the interview process a lot faster than with in-person interviews. At this point, I’m 99 percent certain we will retain virtual interviews for at least the first-round applicants.”

Photo courtesy of Joseph Saccomano

Joseph A. Saccomano Jr.

Office Managing Principal, New York Metro
Jackson Lewis, White Plains

“In an environment where we have both in-person and remote options available to us, we will choose in-person over remote wherever possible. I’m also a firm believer that in-person training is superior to remote training. Here’s why: Whether it’s antidiscrimination or sexual-harassment training, or training on our systems, you get more questions when it’s in-person — and it’s the questions that show you whether you’ve gotten across your message. Ultimately, whether it’s an attorney or support staff, it says a lot that [applicants] want to make the effort to meet us in-person.”