It’s now a common business practice to have a virtual recruiting program due to the effects of COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines. One of my organizations, a social media marketing company, has transitioned all of our recruiting efforts to 100% virtual. We have cancelled all future in-person job fairs and conduct all interviews virtually.
And truth be told? I have no regrets.
It took a few weeks to get used to the “new norm,” but since my team tweaked our traditional process to a modern and streamlined virtual program by adding virtual interviews, homework assignments, and online assessments, we are making faster and more cost-effective hires with less disruption to the business. The verdict is still out on if the quality of hiring has improved, but I am confident that quality of hires from virtual recruiting is at least equal to hires from traditional in-person recruiting activities.
A few of the most impactful benefits of establishing your virtual recruiting program:
COVID-19 has changed how many of us interact in person socially and professionally. Traditional interviews usually entail an in-person element that is meant to facilitate personal connections. Now that many companies are working remotely, meeting in person for interviewing is most likely off limits. Building a virtual recruiting program will allow the business to continue growing and meeting hiring demands.
Attending recruiting events and job fairs in person is expensive. After tallying up the people, supply and travel costs, the cost per hire is considerably higher through physical events than through virtual.
On top of costs, precious time is spent by the employees you are sending to in-person events. With virtual recruiting events, it’s easier for your recruiters and employees to balance their day-to-day job while still contributing to the recruiting program because they can hop in and out of virtual events from their workspace, wherever they are in the world.
We all have the fear of something going terribly wrong when we are interviewing for a new job. Getting stuck in traffic, not finding parking, and all around being late for some reason outside of our control. I compare the interview experience for a candidate to playing an away-game in any sport. The candidate is on someone else’s turf and, therefore, immediately disadvantaged and outside of their comfort zone.
I have found candidates have been more at ease when they are interviewing with my company virtually, which allows for cutting through the pleasantries and warming up the conversation. We have more time to focus on what the interview really entails. Seeing candidates interview from the comfort of their own homes has been a pleasant showcase of the material value of a virtual recruiting process. Having virtually interviewed dozens of candidates in the past 2 months, I can consistently see that candidates are more confident and comfortable in their own workspace as opposed to ours. Even though we are staring at one another through a computer screen, I feel I am getting the same amount of connection— if not more.
There are many pros to in-person interviews, but there are also many cons. One of the biggest cons is that meeting people in person enables hiring bias to creep in at a higher rate. We are human and, unconscious or not, we judge people by how they dress, or even how “professional” they may look.
One study conducted by the American Psychology Association found that “when it comes to height, every inch counts--in fact, in the workplace, each inch above average may be worth $789 more per year.” When we interview virtually, we are less distracted by irrelevant details of appearance and focus more on what candidates have to intelligently say.
In-person recruiting events and career fairs can be a challenge for some to attend— whether due to lack of transportation, finding childcare, or time spent traveling. Hosting virtual recruiting events opens up the doors for anyone and everyone to attend. Flo Recruit’s platform enables companies to host a group of candidates in a single video room or 1:1 chats for interviews or more personal conversations.
Being more inclusive with your virtual recruiting program allows more diversity in the candidate pool, which many studies have proven hiring diverse talent is good for business. Diversity in the workplace brings creativity, inclusion and different perspectives to the table where strategy and business decisions are made.
No more fighting for conference room space to hold interviews or delaying interviews because there is no conference room available. As most interview schedulers and recruiters know, scheduling an interview can be downright frustrating. Unless your office has a dedicated interview room, it can be tricky to find an available conference for a large block of time during the day.
Even if your company has a dedicated interview room, you may find yourself constantly trying to balance the multiple interviews happening at the same time. A virtual recruiting program eliminates the awkwardness of two or more candidates bumping into each other while they are onsite interviewing for the same job. Now the interviewers can simply toggle between video chat links in their calendars and interview privately from the comfort of their own homes.
Features like Flo Recruit’s Virtual Events allow recruiters to bulk schedule events with a personalized schedule builder and auto-generated conferencing links to make interviewing large groups of candidates a breeze.
After 15 years of being in the recruiting industry, one thing I —openly— have never perfected is the ability to discreetly review resumes and take notes during an in-person interview. I am always afraid the candidate will see what I’m writing, and it forces me to either write in code that I may end up forgetting after the interview, or try to memorize noteworthy points and jot them down later.
There is also the timing of making a note while in front of someone. I don’t want to stress out the person if they connect a statement they made to the note they think I’m taking. When I’m interviewing someone virtually, I am transparent and say I’m pulling up their resume on my screen and will be taking notes. By making that announcement, I put the candidate at ease knowing that I’m paying attention to the interview, even when they see my eyes drift to take notes, instead of thinking I am disengaged and doing other work. I have been able to be more thorough, comprehensive and confident when I’m interviewing over a video call.
Companies doing their part to flatten the curve during the COVID-19 pandemic proves we are all willing to get creative and adapt to the changing times. Many large tech companies have announced their employees may work remotely indefinitely because employees are proving that productivity is not dipping when the workforce is not in the same building.
A company’s recruiting program is one of the most valuable business programs— through recruiting, companies identify their next generation of talent. Who we hire determines the company’s future. Making an investment in a solid virtual recruiting company ensures the company can continue to thrive during disruptive times.
Recruiting in this post-COVID-19 era will forever change the recruiting process, and in my opinion, for the better. Companies will utilize more technology from sourcing, screening, assessments, interviewing, and onboarding that will streamline and automate the recruiting program as a whole. This enables companies to hire candidates faster with higher quality.