How the Pandemic has Changed the Interview Process for C-Level roles

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Steve Jobs was once quoted as saying, “The secret of my success is that we have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world.” This mindset is essential in today’s competitive labor market where employers are not only competing for top talent, but new technologies have enabled executives and their employees to work from essentially anywhere. This means the recruiting process has changed in several ways: 

  1. Companies are realizing that to recruit top talent in today’s environment—they must display a great deal of adaptability quotient and 
  2. C-Suite level interviews may need to include targeted questions about managing remote and hybrid teams.

Let’s start with the former: companies and hiring managers must display a high level of adaptability quotient and emotional intelligence (EQ) to recruit top talent in today’s tight labor market. Human Capital Solutions (HCS) recently worked with one of North America’s largest wire and cable producers on an Executive ESG, Sustainability search. During HCS’ initial discovery calls with the client, the hiring manager brought a matrix to the table that clearly detailed what the hybrid work model (company expectations) would need to look: how many days this position needed to report to the office, travel and housing arrangements should the prospective candidate live in a different state, clearly defined remote work expectations, and more. Through the search and ongoing market intelligence, HCS found that candidates really valued receiving this clarity and detail during initial conversations. As candidates moved through HCS’ internal interview process and the client’s interview process, the hiring manager displayed a high level of adaptability quotient and ironed out the details of each candidate’s hybrid work model to attract the most qualified and talented candidates.  

That now begs the question: how do you find executives, like the hiring manager mentioned above, with the level of adaptability quotient and EQ needed to create detailed and vibrant hybrid work environments? That brings us to our second takeaway: C-Suite interviews may need to include targeted questions about managing remote and hybrid teams to identify candidates with the desired level of adaptability quotient. Those questions could be: 

  1. How did you maintain a high degree of employee engagement with hybrid, remote teams? 
  2. What technology and systems did you implement to ensure everyone could maintain a high level of communication and collaboration? 
  3. How did you modify your personal behavior to ensure you were evaluating remote and in-person employees equally and excluding proximity bias? 

The role of an executive, especially the CEO, is now much more than running a profitable business. In the post-pandemic environment of remote and hybrid work amid what has been dubbed the “Great Resignation,” companies and key stakeholders are looking for a different set of qualities in their leaders such as empathy, servant leadership, and a focus on workforce well-being. 

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