The internet allows us to reach the entire world through virtual communication. To recruiters, this provides a wide variety of opportunities. They can search the best possible candidates in their field, regardless of where they are located. Virtual recruitment has taken off in the last years and is still developing. It’s high on the wish list of a large number of Talent Acquisition managers. Technology providers often promise that it’s easy, but it isn’t always easy to get it right.
What is virtual recruitment?
In short, virtual recruiting describes a hiring process that takes place remotely, without meeting the candidates face to face. Instead, recruiters rely on technology to host video interviews, virtual events, surveys, and assessments to evaluate their applicants remotely.
1. What are the advantages of virtual recruitment?
- Ensuring continuity of recruitment in difficult and remote situations
We all have been confronted with COVID-19. This pandemic has accentuated the need for remote hiring strategies. In many cases, the pandemic has forced entire teams to work from home. Still, by having a virtual recruitment process in place, you can continue to hire and onboard new employees.
- Saving time through an effective process
Virtual recruiting enables you to screen more candidates in a shorter amount of time, especially if you’re using scripted and recorded video interviews and online assessments. But even traditional video conversations can be scheduled more flexibly to fit around a busy schedule.
- Reducing recruitment cost and spend
A well-designed virtual recruiting process allows you to automate a lot of manual tasks. That way, you can streamline and optimise the entire process to ensure your money is used effectively on identifying and recruiting the best possible applicants.
- Minimise bias and increased access to talent
Optimising your virtual recruitment efforts ensures a consistent approach. It is essential to create an equal footing and reduce common hiring biases for all candidates. This will also help identify candidates you might miss with more traditional recruiting. What’s more, a virtual hiring process brings convenience and allows you to access a global talent pool and recruit people from different parts of the world in an efficient way.
Obviously there is also a downside to this way of operating. In spite of the advantages listed above, there are still a number of reasons why someone would prefer face-to-face interviews and refrain from remote recruiting after the COVID-19 pandemic.
These drawbacks don’t necessarily discredit virtual recruiting. On the contrary, they pose challenges that, with careful thought and consideration, can be overcome with a hybrid approach.
2. What are the limitations of virtual recruitment?
- It’s harder to measure or capture the cultural fit
Without candidates coming into the office, introducing them to the team, and showing them around, it can be a challenge to determine whether they complement the company’s culture. Face-to-face interviews are of great value here, as it gives recruiters the chance to engage with candidates on a more personal level. Anyone can hide behind a screen, but in person, it’s harder to hide your real personality.
- The candidate experience might suffer
If you’re only using virtual recruitment strategies, candidates don’t always feel as valued and engaged as they might with in-person hiring methods. This is especially the case when all your video interviews are limited to one-way communications. It is a rather impersonal experience for the candidate.
- Process design needs extra attention
The process design has proven to be of great value in traditional recruitment; it brings efficiencies and the insights to support decision making. When you’re automating the process, it needs to be a monkey-proof and well tested design and setup. If your organisation is used to bypasses and quick fixes, the process design part will require attention.
3. How to make your virtual recruitment process a success?
To boost your chances of building a successful virtual recruiting process, there are a few things to keep in mind. They all hinge on the needs, size, and capabilities of your company. Of course, the more advanced tech you have access to, the more options you’ll have available. Here are our tips on how to recruit virtually.
- Adapt your recruitment tech stack
A good virtual recruiting process is largely supported by technology. You might need to adjust your usual recruitment tech stack. Check if it has the necessary capabilities. For example, if you’re planning to conduct one-way video interviews, does your existing tech support that or will you need to implement new applications? Can you upload company videos to your assessments to introduce your organisation and its culture? Do you have tools to organise virtual hiring events? (More on that later)
Whenever you want to implement new software, make sure that it integrates with your ATS to create a seamless virtual recruitment experience for recruiters and hiring managers.
If you are hiring higher volumes, you might want to consider using chatbots as virtual recruitment assistants. The nice thing about using a chatbot is that they can be available all day and every day, to answer your candidate’s questions. It is important the chatbot is programmed to answer frequently asked questions and/or redirect candidates to where they can find the help they need.
- Let candidates experience the job and the company culture
It was already mentioned; virtual recruiting doesn’t allow inviting candidates on site for a meet and greet or an assignment and therefore they cannot experience your workplace culture. You can overcome this barrier by providing appealing virtual experiences. For instance, you could take candidates on a virtual tour of the office, have them ‘meet’ various members of the team, and get them to complete tasks that mirror the kind of work they’ll do on the job.
You should also pay special attention to your culture pitch during the interviews and come up with examples and stories to build a picture of your company culture in your candidates’ minds.
- Keep candidates informed every step of the way and customise candidate experience
Just as traditional recruitment, the process of virtual recruitment can lack transparency, which often leaves candidates unsure about where they stand. This is usually due to a lack of personal connection and feedback. However, when you’re using digital and remote strategies to screen potential candidates, it doesn’t have to mean you can’t offer a human touch to the experience.
To tackle this issue it is important to make candidates aware of what your virtual hiring process looks like from the start, and in what stage they are at. Explain to them beforehand what tools you’re using and how they can prepare.
Another good idea is to introduce the candidate to whoever is interviewing them (before the day of their interview). Perhaps you could organise this via e-mail or LinkedIn? This allows the applicant to do their homework about the interviewer and often works wonders for putting the candidate’s mind at ease.
You can automate a lot of recruitment communication with candidate relationship management tools, e-mail marketing software, or even your pre-employment testing suite. You can send your candidates relevant information based on the stage of the recruitment process they’re in, or who the hiring manager is.
Keep the lines of communication open – be sure to encourage candidates to reach out with any questions they have. Give candidates an option to contact you via their preferred communication channel, such as social media channels (LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook), e-mail, Whatsapp and don’t rule out phone contact as it contributes to the candidate engagement and personal connection
- Transform your career events
Anything is possible with modern technology! These days, traditional career events and job fairs can be undertaken virtually. You can host anything from open office days to networking events online, providing you have the right technology, know-how and experience to do so. Digitising these events is an effective way of giving candidates a good insight into your company’s culture. Next to that, virtual hiring events tend to be cheaper and generally more accessible to larger pools of (international) candidates than traditional in-person events.
- Abide by the law
Whenever you use recruiting technology and collect data online, you must abide by the law. For example, comply with GDPR guidelines. And if you are recruiting in different countries, be aware of the legal guidelines of those countries, as local employment and privacy laws may differ.
Ready to improve your virtual recruitment activities to fulfil your vacancies? In times as unpredictable as these, it’s good to know that technology enables us to keep connecting with new candidates. Virtual recruiting has the potential to transform your recruitment process and lets you source and hire candidates remotely. Additionally, it facilitates a cheaper, faster, and more efficient hiring process, while empowering you to further expand your candidate pool.
If you would like to discuss some ideas on virtual recruitment or if you are looking for advice, please feel free to reach out.
About the author
Eugene van Berkel is Managing Partner at TalentIn. With his expertise he helps organisations build and execute their workforce strategy, making sure that what is designed can be implemented.
TalentIn has extensive national and international experience in developing and improving strategies for the recruitment of your permanent and temporary staff. We know how these programmes can be designed and implemented successfully. We advise, but can also provide practical support. Are you interested? Please contact us for an appointment without obligation via www.talentin.eu, firstname.lastname@example.org or +31 10 307 54 22