Hiring in times of Corona, an interview with Philip Alsén – Global Talent Acquisition Director at Syncron

Many companies are facing the never experienced before and feared scenario, of having to hire without ever meeting the successful candidate face to face.

Recently we helped Syncron, a Private Equity backed, industry-leading cloud-based after-sales service software solutions company, headquartered in Sweden, on a retained search to hire a senior executive into their management team – Philip Alsén, their Global Talent Acquisition Director, has agreed to tell us all about this 100% virtually driven experience.

1. How do you know H.I.E.C and with how many hires have we helped with so far?
We were introduced to HIEC through one of our Private Equity investors, and since then we have hired 3 senior leaders to our global organisation.

2. Can you describe your experience on the latest assignment H.I.E.C helped with, considering it was a 100% virtually driven search, with no face to face interviews with the candidates?
H.I.E.C worked very efficiently with us from start to finish. Compared to other Executive Search firms H.I.E.C showed a lot of flexibility in altering the process to make up for both the urgency we had but also the special circumstances that the recent crisis has caused. We quickly calibrated profiles and had close, continuous check-ins to be able to quickly act on candidates’ and our needs.

3. What part of the process do you think helped you get to know the candidate that was hired the most, and vice versa?
We quickly got to interview the first candidates which meant that we could then spend time on the ones that were most interesting. The virtual interviews are always trickier to perform, and require a lot from the interviewer to pose the right questions. It’s easy to fall into a trap of asking too vague or easy questions because you don’t want to add further difficulties to an already strained video interview where you don’t get the full interaction. We also performed an assessment which helped us to further understand the drives and personality of the final candidate.

4. What would your advice to companies that are at a final stage of making a 100% virtual hire themselves be?
My recommendation would be to perform an assessment where you go into personality, traits and drives. This is one of the dimensions that is harder to asses when you are not sitting in front of the person you are interviewing. If you don’t have the internal ability to do it, there are many firms that can easily support you in this. Spending the extra money will give you the assurance that you know what you are buying, but also give you a lot of insight into how you should on-board the person and coach them.

5. Do you think your hiring decision making and business model will change after Covid-19 and once everything goes back to normal?
No, not really. Things will change but it’s too early to say what that change would look like.

6. As a repeat client, can you tell us what made H.I.E.C stand out in comparison to other executive search firms?
The sense of urgency, the flexibility and the amount of time and energy that went into the search from H.I.E.C’s consultants and supporting team. This is one of the best experiences I have had with an executive search firm. In the end a firm is only as good as the people in it, and I must say that I am really impressed by H.I.E.C and their supporting teams!


Lori Rodwell