I got a huge question and this I am sure will have a great deal of opinions, however we are a systems integrator for the federal government and recruit IT people for DOD/DOE sites and bases.  We focus on the SE US however are gaining contracts in Ohio and the Midwest. 

  1. Is it important to open offices there to interview people in person or just do it over the phone?
  2. Currently, we do a mix depending on the candidate's location and proximity to our home office in Charlotte?

I am interested in your opinion as opening another office is no small venture, however will it increase our recruiting capacity for projects won if we were closer to the base we are serving?

 

Thanks for the feedback!!

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Do you currently do in-person interview on every single candidate now? We actually rarely do in-person interviews due to the fact that most of our clients and searches are in other areas of the U.S., Canada, and overseas. It has not presented many issues as far as I know in regards to appearance and presentation.

Whether I am doing interviews in-person or vis phone, I always have a conversation and information for all my candidate about interview tips, etc.

Amber, I am not as concerned with the presentation of the candidate but rather does it offer a strategic advantage being closer to a site where you might have 50-100 people working?  Would you feel better if XYZ company had an office close to the base. does it matter if you can go and see them?  What effect does that have not only on recruitment but since our contracts are long (3,5,7 yrs) - how does being in person assist with retainment of those people?  Thoughts?

Sorry, I thought your question was about having an office there to interview in-person.

As far the retainment, what is your responsibility and/or issues that you deal with on these contracts? We do permanent placements, so I don't know what you usually have to deal with, and if that comes to where having someone close to the site would be a necessity. Our clients don't seem to care where we are located, but again, we are not doing the type of recruiting you are.

For the current clients you have, how has your physical proximity or distance impacted your ability to place and retain candidates thus far?

I guess I want to know if recruiting closer to the location helps secure more people per interview when you do it in person?  Issues related to retainment, we don't want people to leave during the project as that requires us to hire someone new and train them again.  So would meeting someone at an office closer to the base before accepting the job make them feel more comfortable?

 

Let me ask this - if you interview 50 people via phone and 50 people in person, and you want to hire 5 and keep those 5 long term; are you better off doing it one way over the other?

Jason,

 

I think this question really has more to do with the effectiveness of your interviews rather than the method.

 

If you have a good interview process to screen your candidates and make your selections, then the actual method shouldn't matter all that much in my mind. 

 

I have done interviews in person, over the phone and via the internet with Skype and personally, I do not really have a preference.  I conduct the interviews the exact same way no matter what method is used and have not noticed any difference in retention rates.  To me, if you have a good solid interview process it really wont make a difference. 

 

Now if you are talking about getting contracts, that is a different story.  There are places that would prefer to deal with people that have a local office.  They want to know that those folks know the area and know what they are getting into.  So you if you decide not to have an office there, I think it is almost a requirement that you go for a visit and see the area, understand the local economy and the demographics of he area.  This is going to be really important if your candidate pool is going to be local to the area.  If you are recruiting from a national candidate pool, it will still be important to be able to sell the local area to your candidates.....not a good thing to tell the candidate that you have never been there when they ask you if its a nice place to live.

 

Just my two cents!

 

Rob Rennells

Yes I do inperson all the time. They may do a phone screen first if they are not local. Butmy customer always meets inperson. No-one has hired with out a meeting face to face.

SKYPE!!!!

 

I guess my thought here would be - do you feel that having a local presence has been a key to your success up to this point?  It might be more intangible and hard to track though.

 

Most likely your success in a new area might be best achieved by replicating what works for you now.  If I were in a position to put 50 - 100 people to work I'd open an office there.

I say yes, unless it's a perm order that needs some finess.  High candidate volume, georgraphic location, and time sensitive job orders all make it extremely difficult to interview candidates in-person.  The agency that doesn't bring all candidates in-house to interview will win out more times than not.  Video and phone interviewing, as well as tools like interview questionnaires, save a ton of time and help recruiters effectively find the most qualified candidates fast. 

Ty - what type of interview questionnaires do you use?

 

We have done this for years but most clients say they have not seen this before (and always like them).

No, face to face interviews are not dead but, thanks to technology, face to face can be done remotely via skype or recorded video.  Phone interviews just dont capture the whole candidate; facial expression, mannerisms, etc.  I have been using both skype and recorded video interviews for a few years now and have found both useful. First in the process I use recorded video (where they upload video recorded answers to my interview questions) as a screening tool to see if they are viable, and I can also share the video with co-workers and clients. I then use skype if I think, based on the recorded video, the candidate has potential.

 

As for the relationship building to retain candidates and clients, I dont think physically being there is that important. You can "be there" with regular, consistient contact via phone calls, emails and skype if necessary. Building a relationship is about consistient, meaningful contact, not geography.

 

I think the more this kind of technology grows, the less brick-and-morter offices will be necessary....

I'd say save your money on opening another office, and invest instead in webcams - WAY less expensive.

Good Luck with your growth!! 

Allison- Well put.  Brick & morter locations will be less and less necessary.  You can learn just as much about a candidate through using tools like live & recorded video interviews, phone, and even email, especially if you are making regular contact.

 

Chuck- I couldn't find anything out that there fit our needs, so I ended up building an interview questionnaire tool called ZuzuHire.com.  We've been using it at our recruiting firm for a while, and recently rolled it out for public use.  It incorporates video, audio, essay, and multiple choice questions.  I can set you up if you'd like to try it.

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