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Best Practices in Virtual Recruitment to Help you Succeed in this New World of Work

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There is no doubt that COVID-19 has had a huge impact on remote work. Since early 2020, the U.S. workforce went from only 3.6% to 62% working remotely half-time or more. That is a rapid transition in an extremely short period of time!

Over the last several months, employers have been addressing challenges caused by this new virtual world of work. For example, businesses negatively impacted financially due to COVID-19 have been faced with having to do more with less. For others, measuring productivity and engagement, managing a remote/hybrid workforce, and – particularly with virtual and part-time schools’ schedules – supporting working parents – have brought about new challenges.

So how has COVID-19 impacted recruiting and hiring as the workforce has transitioned to remote or hybrid models? In a lot of cases, we have entered the world of recruiting, interviewing and onboarding without a handshake or an in-person meeting! According to QTI’s 2021 HR Trends survey, Attracting Talent is the number three HR Challenge for 2021. In addition, survey findings include:

  • 45% of employers have frozen/stopped hiring
  • 38% of respondents indicated that they have experienced a candidate pool change
  • 24% of employers are seeing an increase in the number of job candidates

Where do you begin? First and foremost, start with a fresh outlook and be open-minded.

 "In a lot of case, we have entered the world recruiting, interviewing and onboarding

 without a handshake or an in-person meeting."

Challenges in the New World Of Work

Start with a Fresh Outlook

Whether you are on a hiring freeze, hiring as usual or seeing increased hiring, you will likely need to modify your recruitment funnel to fit the rapidly changing environment. This pandemic turned out to be the kick that many companies needed to augment their existing strategies with a virtual component. Don’t wait to hire until in-person interviews are possible! Businesses still need to move forward and can take advantage of available talent. Many employers are actively re-evaluating their workforce strategies while others are redefining their recruitment approach – with the goal of casting a wider net.

  1. Think Broadly. Go beyond a commutable distance. The very nature of remote work means that it doesn’t matter where your candidates live. You can cast a wider net and find a higher caliber and more diverse pool of candidates. There may not need to be geographic boundaries to the job. This can be a tough idea to embrace, especially for those who have a more traditional “in-person” work mentality.

  2. Take a Marketing Approach. Marketing is very important to your recruitment process. When creating your recruitment messages, be sure to include “who are you” and “what your company does”. Remember, you can partner with your internal marketing department to bolster your employer brand!
  3. Rely on Technology and Collaboration Tools. Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other video and collaboration tools are part of our everyday lives. Embrace them as part of your virtual recruitment process.

Go Beyond the Job Posting

Your job posting can go beyond the traditional duties & responsibilities task list. Focus on what is important to the job to navigate the dynamics of the role such as creativity, problem-solving or sharp communication skills.

You can also talk about how your company recognizes the challenges employees are facing with changes in school and child care. Flexibility is one of the top benefits that candidates are looking for and sharing how your company may be able to offer that will positively resonate with the job seeker.

Pro Tip

If the employee will be working from home with confidential information, include in the posting “must have dedicated home office space with a closed door”.

Who Are You?

According to QTI’s 2021 HR Trends Survey, 95% of employer participants are doing at least some virtual interviews. As virtual interviewing becomes the new normal, companies need to find ways to provide assurance to candidates through the interview process. One way to do that is to communicate your culture through compelling stories that connect your mission and vision with the candidate’s values.

Candidates are nervous about this new world too so knowing what to expect during the interview is essential for ensuring a good candidate experience and maintaining your employer brand. Be sure to share what recruiting during COVID-19 looks like for your company by including this information in the job posting, on your website and even include it in the email acknowledgment that goes out when a candidate applies. Helpful information to include about the hiring process includes:

  • Type of interview: virtual, in-person or both
  • Interview question expectations
  • Job location: remote, in-office or a hybrid?
  • Safety measures being taken by the company

Interview Considerations

Whether you are interviewing in-person or virtually, many of the same best practices preside such as:

  • Understand what skills or attributes will contribute most to your organization. Don’t overlook high-performing candidates simply because they don’t have work experience in your industry.
  • Know what skillsets your business needs, but also be OPEN, EMPATHETIC and NATURALLY CURIOUS when you speak to candidates. Look beyond their resume to get at their WHY. This mindset will be beneficial so you don’t turn away someone who could potentially be a great fit for your company.
  • Use behavioral-based interviewing to gain a deep understanding of an employee’s performance, ability to navigate teammates and customers, and ability to adapt and be resilient in today’s crisis-hit workplaces. These types of questions can also help you discover one’s self-awareness, self-regulation, time management, motivation, empathy and social skills.
  • Continue to involve multiple interviews with different people for shared impressions – this is great for the candidates and great for you! Virtual interviews have allowed some organizations to be more flexible in interview scheduling. For example, instead of finding a half-day for a candidate to come in and have multiple back to back interviews, candidate interviews can now be spread over multiple days and be held via Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

Remember this is an anxious time for everyone. Your candidates might be feeling worried or nervous not only about the interview itself but about money, their livelihood, their family and many other stressors. Be empathetic and thoughtful throughout your approach and in your interview process.

As the employer, it is most important to always be flexible and forgiving when it comes to virtual interviewing. There may be some things that happen unexpectedly such as connectivity issues, a barking dog or a cat making an appearance in the background (yours or the candidates!). Remember, those unexpected happenings are not the end of the world and keep the interviewing rolling. To help ensure a successful virtual interview review and follow our eight quick, virtual interviewing tips.

Top Tip for Virtual Interviewing:  

Always be Forgiving & Flexible

8 Quick Tips for Virtual Interviewing

  1. Provide instructions and a link in advance.
  2. Allow extra time in case of connectivity issues.
  3. Establish a professional setting - company specific Zoom background
  4. Prepare in advance - know the job description, the candidate's resume, and specific questions to ask.
  5. Be engaging and use "eye contact".
  6. Control background noise.
  7. Appear as professional and personable as you would in person.
  8. Follow-up with next steps via email.

Consider the Candidate Experience

It is also important to consider the candidate experience. If your organization is conducting in-person interviews, recognize and appreciate that people might have a legitimate fear of interviewing in person due to COVID. Highlighting your commitment to employee safety can help alleviate some of that fear. Additionally, if the employee’s work location will be virtual, be sure to describe to your candidates how you and your team have developed a sense of community without proximity. This will demonstrate your company’s commitment to developing meaningful relationships at work, even during this virtual time. Lastly, consider a virtual workplace tour. Use your phone to record the office and show them the work environment – this helps them feel connected to their physical workplace even without ever stepping foot in the office.

Virtual Onboarding Upgrades

In many cases, onboarding new employees looks different today than pre-COVID. Consider how you are giving your new hires exposure to your culture quickly --letting them feel connection and form relationships. For example, you can send new employees a “Welcome to the Team” Swag Bag or host a team virtual welcome lunch. Without the benefit of meeting new co-workers in the hallway or lunchroom, think of experiences you can provide that will allow new employees to connect with their colleagues. One opportunity is to assign a “work buddy” who is their “go-to” for any culture, company or process-related questions.

What has remained consistent in the talent acquisition process for many employers? The number of interviews and the candidate screening process.

Virtual Recruiting is Here to Stay

Remote working conditions have had an impact on the talent acquisition and recruiting process. And, if one thing seems certain, it is that virtual recruiting is here to stay. What is important now is taking time to review what is working for you and what is working for the candidate in this virtual world and make adjustments as needed. Remember, flexibility and understanding are key for attacking virtual recruiting head-on in 2021!

  • 81% of talent professionals agree that virtual recruiting will continue after COVID-19.
  • 70% say virtual recruiting will become the new standard.
Source: LinkedIn: The Future of Recruiting North America

Are you ready to put these best practices in virtual recruitment to work? Contact us!

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