The Importance of Improvisation

When the regular audience was stranded at home due to the pandemic, the UceLI Quartet improvised, playing Puccini’s ‘I Crisantemi (Chrysanthemums) to 2,292 plants in Barcelona, Spain.

When baseball fans around the world were stranded at home, their baseball teams improvised, filling their stadiums with cardboard cutouts of their fans.

World-class organizations around the globe have also improvised as it relates to the whole new world of remote hiring.

Yes, virtual hiring is becoming increasingly popular largely due to safety concerns and the need for social distance.

Many, many, organizations have discovered that hiring, onboarding, and training can be done virtually, efficiently, and effectively, especially due to today’s technology.

In fact, 51% of organizations have interviewed a candidate remotely, and 42% have extended job offers remotely.  Furthermore, 21% of hiring managers feel that remote interviewing will be the norm in the future.

That does not mean that there are not both benefits and pitfalls to virtual hiring.  Virtual recruitment can make the hiring process more efficient, but it can also add a lot of stress for job applicants.

Some of the additional benefits of remote hiring include:

  • Expanding the pool of candidates for consideration.
  • Obviously, virtual interviewing affords a solution to COVID-19 safety concerns for both the candidate and interviewer.
  • Affording flexibility to candidates, especially if they can’t travel from home or have childcare issues.
  • Quickens the hiring process.
  • Cost savings.
  • Gives the opportunity to the interviewer to assess how effectively the candidate works and communicates remotely.
  • As long as the interviewer uses the same standard set of questions for each job candidate, there will be less chance of pre-judgment and bias.  Oftentimes, when people are interviewing face to face, people are more prone to base their conclusions on “gut instinct” or first impressions, which is not always fair to the candidate.

With that said, there can be pitfalls with remote hiring.  Just some of these downsides include:

  • Candidates who are more comfortable with in-person interviews, may not adjust to, and get stressed out, by this new normal of virtual hiring.
  • Both the candidate and the job interviewer do not have the benefit of that first feel, impression, and intuition that comes with an in-person introduction and interview.
  • The candidate may not have reliable internet access or connectivity, which interferes with the on-line interview and communication.  Technological issues can also occur with Skype or Zoom, and as such, these should be pre-tested prior to the remote interview.

We are all trying to adjust to and work with the new “normal” brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and so we all have to embrace these changes in order to continue to be successful in what we do and how we conduct ourselves.  In many ways, we are fortunate to have the technology options that are available to us so that we can keep moving forward.


Sandy Chernoff
Sandy Chernoff
SANDY'S 30 years of didactic and clinical teaching in study clubs and continuing dental education, coupled with her almost 40 years of Dental Hygiene practice bring a wealth of experience to her interactive soft skills workshops. With her education background she easily customizes interactive sessions to suit the specific needs of her clients. Her energetic and humorous presentation style has entertained and informed audiences from Victoria to New York City. Sandy’s client list includes law firms, teaching institutions, volunteer and professional organizations and conferences, businesses, and individuals. Her newest project is turning her live workshops into e-learning programs using an LMS platform. Her teaching and education background have helped her to produce meaningful and somewhat interactive courses for the learners wanting the convenience of e-learning options. As the author of 5 Secrets to Effective Communication, Sandy has demonstrated her ability to demystify the complexities of communication so that the reader can learn better strategies and approaches which will greatly improve their communication skills and ultimately reduce conflict, resentment, disappointment, complaining, and confusion. As a result, the reader will be able to increase productivity, efficiency and creativity, improve all the relationships in their lives and ultimately enjoy a happier, healthier existence! Sandy blogs regularly on her two websites on the various soft skills topics that are featured in her workshops and e-learning programs.

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  1. It is not just a problem dictated by Covid but a prospect for the future.
    The difficult period we are experiencing concerns above all, as regards the profession of human resources, in the fundamental difficulty of face to face communication, which is a fundamental part of the selection. One of the things that is often underestimated but which remains a fundamental part of the selection is non-verbal communication, which is what the body tells us. Often during a selection, the interviewee prepares a speech and selects the information to give to the recruiter, who in this way struggles to understand the truth of things. For this reason, it is important to observe behaviors, gestures and sometimes even the smallest expressions in a selection process.
    Obviously the work and the selections must continue and consequently it is necessary to resort to different methods of selection and today the remote one is the most used to be able to speak with the candidates. Using Skype (or any other tool) solves the problem of the impossibility of being physically present at the appointment, but creates other problems, both from a technical and behavioral point of view, which we will now analyze:
    With regard to selectors, the problems arise above all from the fact that it is not possible to see the cognitive biases related to non-verbal communication, therefore it is more difficult to select in a reasoned way and following a certain type of programming. Non-verbal communication is very important and plays a fundamental role in the interaction. The unspoken is fundamental, but it must be seen and interpreted. Some tricks can be taken to solve this problem, such as asking a certain type of question or arousing a certain type of reaction, but a fundamental part of studying the profile will still be missing. For this reason it is advisable that the remote interview is the first step, and then, if the profile proves interesting, a face-to-face interview must be organized. Of course, times can expand in this period, but it is advisable to do them live as much as possible because our perception, after a certain period of time, will be flawed and the impartiality that should always accompany us will be lost.

    • Hi Aldo, thanks for sharing your excellent insights. You are right, this is an ongoing issue and of course non-verbal messaging is part of communication and must be paid attention to in all situations. I hope you are staying safe & healthy during this rather scary pandemic. It is so hard not to be able to socialize with friends and family but keeping the “bubble” small is important if we are going to prevent the spread of this nasty virus, especially for ourselves. Enjoy the rest of your week.

  2. Thanks for giving us an inside peek into the world of virtual hiring, Sandy. I hadn’t considered how the pandemic might be having an impact on hiring and recruiting, so thank you! I know my world has completely shifted. Since most of my work is training and speaking it’s all gone virtual. It’s strange to think that I had never delivered virtually before March and now it’s become the norm. There is indeed a learning curve involved and the discomfort that comes from that. For candidates, who may only interview a handful of times, I suspect this becomes a greater challenge.