Grit. Openness. Being full-hearted. These are some of the core values of The Trade Desk—and the digital advertising technology company takes them very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that hiring managers use a company framework with specific questions aligned to each value when interviewing candidates.
By its own admission, The Trade Desk’s unique interviewing process has turned out to be a challenge in a virtual environment. The framework, after all, came with the simple assumption that most interviews would be in person. “We pride ourselves on hiring for emotional intelligence, for instance,” says Vina Leite, the company’s chief people officer. “Teasing that out can be a bit difficult on a video interview.”
Welcome to yet another thorny issue brought on by the COVID-19 era. Like The Trade Desk, firms across the globe are discovering that removing the in-person element to hiring and onboarding is a dramatic shift. Indeed, in many cases, decades of honing best practices have vanished—perhaps forever. In their place, smart firms are racing to solve the puzzle of incorporating a face- to-face system with “modern” interviewing.
For many, the transition hasn’t exactly been smooth. Lorraine Hack, a Korn Ferry senior client partner who specializes in technology and digital transformation, says during the initial months of the pandemic there was a lot of consternation on the part of both organizations and new hires about offering or accepting a job without meeting new bosses and team members in person. “Both sides felt a little like they were wearing blindfolds,” Hack says.
Some of that feeling, experts say, hasn’t left. But many months into the process, key human resources leaders have begun to realize that a better choreographed virtual hiring and onboarding experience can be a competitive advantage. The trick, says Hack, is knowing how to shift the process—creating a fast connection to the firm, its people, and its culture. It’s a matter, experts say, of going virtual—but still going human.