How to Hire and Apply with Leadership Authenticity with Julie Mahfouz Rezvani

Written by Jamie Hunter

March 12, 2021

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We don’t need to tell you that the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the employment landscape. Most of us have fully adapted to commuting down the hallway instead of the highway to get to the office. In-person conversations with colleagues and boardroom meetings seem like distant memories. Networking has moved from the local pub to the comment section of LinkedIn. 

But how has the pandemic altered the way hiring managers and recruiters onboard new employees? 

Julie Mahfouz Rezvani, founder and managing director of The Orion Group, has nearly two decades of experience in recruitment staffing, and is noticing an empathetic approach to interviewing that may not have been as commonplace prior to COVID-19.

“We’re all in this together,” Julie says. “That’s the expression, but we really are. And it’s important as a prospective employer to start with the basic question to prospective candidates: ‘How are you doing?’ It’s the elephant in the room … As an employer, when you ask that question, it shows empathy, it creates a connection that, ‘Yeah, I know this is something we’re all going through, how are you managing it?’ And I think it sets the stage for an open and honest interview and I think it lets guards down. That’s where I always encourage people to start.”   

She also feels that questions focussed on problem-solving are important.

“COVID has created situations where we’ve had to learn how to problem solve at every level,” Julie says. “Whether it be while you’re at home and you’re on a Zoom call and the doorbell rings, or your dog starts to bark, or your kids who are homeschooling in the next office or the next bedroom are knocking on your door. Problem solving and how you sort of navigate through those disruptions, those disturbances, that’s a really good question to ask. And there isn’t a right answer. I think what you really want to hear from people is how far have they come in being able to manage those types of interruptions, what have they put in place to make it easier, and how are they dealing with that?”

Prior to founding The Orion Group, Julie held the role of vice-president of sales for Direct Energy. She co-founded and was the executive director of the award-winning Mes Amis Canada, a not-for-profit, civil society organization which assisted over 2,000 refugees and other new immigrants settle into Ontario. She is also the recipient of the Governor General of Canada’s Sovereign Medal.

Julie has a wealth of knowledge and experience that we’re excited to have her share on the latest Leading With Nice Interview Series podcast. Check it out below — you’re not going to want to miss this one!

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