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Empathy in the Interview Process

By September 17, 2020RETS Blog

Over the past few months, I’ve conducted numerous virtual interviews.  Considering that the vast majority of companies have moved to remote working and hiring practices, my job as a recruiter has transformed as well.  Although the online focus has simplified the hiring and on-boarding process in various ways, it has also caused unforeseen complications.

Typically, a large percentage of people experience stress when pursuing a job.  This figure is even higher during the COVID-19 pandemic due to unforeseen circumstances and company conditions. In this job climate, it is imperative that both job seekers and hiring managers are adaptable. Interviews are a two-way street, and virtual meetings are the new venue for interviewers and interviewees to get to know each other and determine if the position is the right fit.

One of the main takeaways that I identified from the new work from home lifestyle is the power of empathy.  Being a positive part of a candidate’s day leaves a lasting impact on the way they perceive you and the job itself.  Incorporating the element of empathy into the job interview process directly influences the trajectory of a candidate’s mindset and may strengthen or shift their goals.  Interviews are challenging enough to those that are not recruiters or hiring managers, because the general population does not consistently partake in interviews.

Although virtual conversations are not as ideal as in person ones, distractions are not always negative.  Distractions can lead to positive situations by showing that a candidate can work efficiently amidst a multitude of distractions.  An article by Forbes found that “36% of employers look for multitasking skills; 31% look for initiative; 21% look for creative thinking and the other 12% look for something else in the candidate.”  Although this article was written in 2013, these priorities are still in line today.  The ability to multi-task at home with personal distractions can be a great opportunity for an interviewee to display their quick-thinking abilities and strengthen their candidacy.

Providing an impression of understanding and flexibility is central to the relationship building portion of the job process.

Article by Forbes

Diane Blake serves as a Managing Director at RETS Associates, a national real estate executive search firm. She can be reached at

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