How to Recruit Talent in a Virtual Environment

COVID-19 Recruiting staffing Talent Talent Management and Recruiting

The global Covid-19 crisis has drastically changed the structure of work, as evidenced by the fact that nearly 16 million Americans are now working remotely since the onset of the virus. While many employers have been able to successfully transition individuals to virtual work arrangements, companies that are still hiring during the pandemic may be struggling with how to recruit new talent outside of the traditional in-person hiring process. But by leveraging technologies and innovative solutions, organizations can minimize hiring disruptions and create virtual recruiting strategies that can keep talent pipelines flowing despite social distancing.

Most organizations are currently in one of two hiring categories; ramping up hiring to help address evolving business needs during the crisis or evaluating current hiring practices in preparation for post-pandemic recruiting. Either way, organizations likely share a common struggle — how to engage with, hire and onboard talent without ever meeting the prospective employee face to face.

For companies looking to resume hiring and keep building a talent pipeline effectively — and safely — during and after this global pandemic, here are some tips to consider:

Host virtual job fairs. On-site and on-campus career events are not likely to resume in the near future amid social distancing concerns, but that doesn’t mean job fairs are a thing of the past. Organizations can host virtual job fairs to interact with prospective candidates from anywhere in the world — providing employers access to a broader pool of talent — and removing the barrier of travel for candidates. And while the inability to speak face-to-face may seem like a hindrance, today’s digital platforms allow recruiters and hiring managers to still interact one-on-one with candidates through the use of “virtual lobbies” and chat features.

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Utilize online skills assessments. A key component of the virtual hiring process is a digital skills assessment check. Electronic assessments provide an engaging experience for applicants and can utilize AI tech to measure candidate potential, delivering faster results with greater accuracy. Additionally, talent leaders shouldn’t just limit digital skills assessments to new hires. Skills assessments are a great way to reveal both untapped potential and reskilling opportunities for current employees, thereby allowing organizations to fully utilize and create new opportunities for their existing internal talent pool.

Interact with candidates through text messages. Communication with job candidates has traditionally been done via emails during business hours, which can be a slow-moving, back-and-forth process. The pandemic, however, has created the opportunity for a more flexible communication environment. Rather than delaying engagement with potential candidates, employers can feel empowered to connect with talent through texts or messenger-based platforms that allow individuals to provide and receive answers faster, and allows talent to engage directly with employers in a more efficient manner. Additionally, chatbots are another useful communications tool that can streamline the recruiting process by allowing candidates to access key information 24/7.

Conduct video interviews. Interviews are all about human-to-human interaction, but today’s social distancing guidelines make it hard, if not impossible, to conduct in-person meetings. However, organizations can still interview candidates through video platforms — such as Microsoft Teams or Modern Hire — making it easier for candidates and employers to continue having face-to-face conversations in a virtual setting. Video interviews also eliminate the need to coordinate travel and make the scheduling of interviews much easier, which can ultimately shorten the entire candidate screening process to days rather than weeks.

Be prepared to onboard remotely. While traditional orientation sessions and taking new hires out to lunch may not be options at the moment, properly onboarding new employees must still be a top priority — especially because new hires will need to get up to speed on company culture and work responsibilities remotely. Employers should prepare to use video calls to engage with new hires, introduce them to colleagues and conduct regular check-ins. Also, don’t be afraid to celebrate a new hire via video chat or a social media announcement. Consider holding a virtual happy hour and even send a “welcome swag bag” to the new employee’s home. That type of employee engagement can boost morale and help make new hires feel included.

The Covid-19 pandemic will likely change how employers recruit talent in the long-term, but if companies prepare now and leverage innovative technologies and strategies, they’ll find navigating recruitment now and in a post-pandemic world will be much easier.