Borderless Talent Assessment online

Globalization has not only changed corporate growth strategies across borders but also influenced the way corporations seek and assess the best international talent worldwide to add value to global career opportunities. In the last decade, video conferencing facilities and techniques have come a long way to facilitate various global Personnel assessment.
Fast-forward to the present day, and we have accumulated extensive experience in utilizing various video interviewing technologies and online tools. Juhani Konu, the Managing Partner of InterSearch Finland and a Shareholders of InterSearch Worldwide with more than two decades of international executive search experience, has personally conducted almost a thousand video interviews to effectively assess talent for one of their major clients in several countries around the world.

Once upon a time HR Consultants and HR Managers used to fly all over the world to do that. Nowadays an in-depth assessment can easily be done using a personal laptop or video conferencing facility in a Boardroom. There is an endless variety of technologies and service providers, which vary in quality to allow for a seamless conversation with no audio delays and good sync with the image – a key aspect for effective online interviews.

There are various aspects that require consideration when conducting interviews via video conference

• Legal aspects and compliance with local Data protection (or GDPR wherever applicable), as the rights of a candidate vary considerably from country to country. For example, in the Netherlands & Germany, candidates have extensive rights: they have the final say concerning their report, both in terms of the content and whether the report can be sent to the hiring manager at all
• Cultural aspects require the interviewer knows the main cultural differences between countries, but he/she should be also ready to deal with an individual who does not fit any of the general classifications. In some countries, candidates are likely half an hour late or too early in the videoconference room due to heavy traffic jams. You cannot require prompt timing from the candidates in such cases
• Each person ’s reaction to the use of a video connection must be managed. It often happens that in the early stages of the interview it is necessary to wait the candidate has relaxed and got accustomed to the situation – otherwise it’s very difficult to have informative and high-quality conversations. In such cases, the interviewer can smooth the tension by telling about him/herself first
• Fast-paced environment – or at least that feeling during a videoconference may be more stressful than usual for both the interviewer and the candidate. One feels there is not enough time and that has an impact on the communication style, which is strongly influenced by felling under pressure.
For a well-prepared interviewer with a sound experience this is easily overcome with thorough preparation and a well-thought-out plan for the interview. Video interviewing is energy consuming also for the interviewer, and therefore it is advisable to limit the number of interviews on the same day, do something relaxing before and after the interview. Taking a videoconference assessment in turns with a colleague is a good tool to manage the situation even more effectively. Don’t forget that video interviewing methodology can be developed further and adapted to different kind of situations: utilizing case exercises and simulations may be more challenging than usual for both parties, but it’s worth bringing them in
• Technical aspects mainly related to poor connection may happen especially with countries where high-speed internet is not yet available. An experienced interviewer can manage a wide range of technical problems during the interview and must be able to determine when conducting such an interview is no longer possible without affecting the desired outcome.
• What do our clients appreciate in such kind of assessment we have performed for their internal evaluation worldwide: “Having reliable yet flexible assessment methods is extremely valuable for us as a global company operating in over 70 countries worldwide. Our teams are often virtual and the team members can be located almost anywhere. We want to maintain high quality in all of our recruitments evaluating our candidates equally, regardless of their physical location” according to Ms. Saara Eder-Falck, Director Employee Experience & Talent Acquisition at Wärtsilä.


• By Juhani Konu – Managing Partner of InterSearch Finland