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The New Virtual Face of HR: Collaborative Conversations with Kim Pettibone

The trend of conducting face-to-face, online job interviews has increased 49% since 2011. Technology is revolutionizing all aspects of HR, from identifying candidates, interviewing, onboarding, conducting orientations and more.

I had the opportunity to discuss technology’s impact on HR with Kim Pettibone, PGi’s Human Resources and Talent Management Director and an HR professional with over 20 years of experience.

Josh Erwin: Thanks for joining me today Kim. For starters, why don’t you tell us a little about your role and background?

Kim Pettibone: I’ve been at PGi for 17 years now, and I’ve been in HR for over 20. You name it, I’ve done it in the HR world: training and development, recruiting, leadership development, management development, etc. I currently lead all the activities associated with acquiring talent both internally and externally. I still really enjoy getting the opportunity to work on recruiting and conduct interviews myself. I love talking about PGi, our positions and what makes us unique and special.

JE: In today’s era of virtual connections, how has technology such as web conferencing affected the recruiting process?

KP: Efficiency gains! There’s nothing like connecting with someone live, virtually. It may be a virtual connection, but it’s as live as you can get, and sometimes it’s even more telling than a face-to-face interview.

You can also really highlight the rapport that’s generated through a virtual interview. In iMeet® for example, you can fill in your bio, your social information—candidates can read it and connect with you earlier in the process. In HR we change our profile pictures a lot, which is a great conversation starter. It can help candidates open up a lot faster than in a more traditional interview.

Sometimes we take our virtual nature for granted. I’ll meet with sales managers that I’ve worked with for years but never met face-to-face. It’s so much more than a voice—with the visual connection from video conferencing, you see a person, you know a person.

video interview 2JE: Has a virtual interview ever revealed things about a candidate that you wouldn’t have gotten through just a phone interview?

KP: We’re a technology company, so comfort level with technology is something we’re always on the lookout for, particularly for our sales teams. When we’re interviewing to fill multiple sales positions, we’ll invite candidates into live iMeet sessions to chat with sales leaders. The ones that are the most comfortable with virtual communication and tools will come in early, set up their profiles, try out the VoIP connections and other features, etc. People who have the aptitude for it will really get into the thick of things.

Often, I’ll deliberately not provide a lot of instruction to candidates to see how they handle themselves. I’ll leave my iMeet room open and encourage them to drop in early, grab files and explore the tool ahead of time. Those who did interviewed extremely well. Those who didn’t tended to struggle.

JE: What does the future hold for technology use in HR?

KP: There are challenges. HR as a profession tends to be somewhat conservative. They’re hesitant to involve and engage in new technologies, not because they’re not proficient, but because of a worry about “What rule am I breaking by using this tool?” We have to help HR professionals understand that it’s a safe way to gain efficiency and shorten the time to build rapport, which is so critical.

Another practice that we haven’t discussed yet is orientation and onboarding, which has traditionally been a process of primarily “pushing” information out. We want to make that a more collaborative process, to really connect new hires with HR, the company and each other by having live sessions in GlobalMeet®. The initial feedback has been hugely positive. They love making the connection to the organization and having the virtual opportunity to network.

Interested in more information on virtual interviewing? Register for Kim’s webinar on HR.com and learn:

  • How to reduce time and costs to acquire top talent in geographically diverse organizations.
  • How to use video interviewing to improve the quality of the candidate you bring into meet face-to-face with the hiring managers.
  • How to identify top talent that may be overlooked in a typical resume review and traditional recruiting process.

About Joshua Erwin

Josh is a content creator and strategist with a passion for all things tech, such as the latest gadgets, apps, games and more. Josh loves listening to and playing music and is a big college football fan, especially for his alma mater Georgia Bulldogs. When not writing for PGi, you’ll find him gaming or drumming on Sundays for the Atlanta Falcons.

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