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Recruiting Wisdom

Virtual Recruiting Reimagined: 2020 in Review

7
min read

This year has forced the university and professional recruiting event industry to pivot drastically, with the biggest shift being— going virtual. As we approach a new year, it looks like 2021 will be virtual-heavy as well.

Companies valiantly stumbled their way through the challenges of going virtual in 2020, and this effort will not be wasted as most of the virtual recruiting practices we picked up this year will permanently last even when we find our “new normal.”

Here are a few things the Flo Recruit team and industry recruiting leaders learned this year about the recruiting industry.

Recruiters are resilient

Recruiters are the face of the company. They are the first person potential hires meet and the old saying holds true— first impressions last a lifetime. Throughout all of the uncertainty 2020 brought us, recruiters continued to keep their chin up, promote positivity, and work hard to find jobs for people in the year’s turbulent market. Building rapport, educating candidates on the company, and selling them on the opportunity are key functions of the role.

As Jenny Pajares, HR Generalist at Modernize, put it, “I lean into the importance of a positive candidate experience. This has been such a turbulent year on both personal/professional levels, so being able to provide a smooth experience for candidates can make all the difference. A lot of the candidates I interacted with had lost their jobs due to the pandemic and were dealing with extreme levels of stress. The biggest thing that helped was being able to provide clear, constant communication and keeping them in the loop at every stage. With all the uncertainty in the world, it has never been more important to serve as a steady resource for the candidates.” 

Recruiters are master event planners and multi-task in superhuman ways. They work under tight deadlines and fight their competition to engage the top candidates in the market. Before COVID, most of the recruiting process was done in-person. From networking events, university and industry career fairs, interviews to orientations, the human to human contact was the foundation of any recruiting program’s success. 

Recruiters would spend much of the recruiting season traveling from university to university, working long hours, and maximizing face time as much as possible. All of that came to a halt in 2020.

Throughout the year, the Flo Recruit team observed the amazing resilience the recruiters on the ground had for turning their programs from an in-person experience to a virtual one. The universities continue to pump out interns and grads regardless of the pandemic looming over us and the law firms continued to hire. It was up to the recruiters to find a way to meet company hiring goals in a virtual setting which was no easy task.

Technology industry talent leader Angie Meier, Sr. Manager of Talent Acquisition from Uship, told me, “We are absolutely as productive (if not more so) working remotely. We have been able to take our branding virtual via virtual events and tap into nonlocal talent pools.” 

Technology is king

Companies like Zoom saw tremendous growth in 2020. They were able to add immediate value in solving for the professional remote lifestyle. Specific to the law recruiting industry, Flo Recruit was quick to launch virtual recruiting products for both the law firms and top law schools in the United States.

Flo Recruit covers the full gamut from webinars and virtual chats to virtual interviews and candidate feedback collection. I’ve been in the recruiting industry for over 15 years and even though I enjoy going to career fairs in person, it was sorting through the hundreds of paper resumes that would be an unwelcomed, daunting task the next day.

It was even more tedious to chase down feedback from hiring managers and other interviewers from their in-person networking events and interview sessions to learn they forgot most of what they talked about and who they met. Flo Recruit’s ability for interviewers to collect feedback on candidates digitally is a game-changer.

The tool provides employees a structured way to weigh in on their experience with candidates during virtual events in real-time. The dashboard gives interviewers easy access to review candidates so forgetting someone wouldn’t happen. Just like Flo Recruit, many other companies rose to the challenge of creating virtual recruiting solutions this year, and because of that, the recruiting industry has quickly innovated and hopefully permanently evolved for the better. 

Hiring needs still exist

Flo Recruit reports that legal hiring needs didn’t change noticeably despite the uncertainty 2020 brought to the market. The competition to hire the very best also remained. Students continued to keenly put in their work to ace their interview and law firms got creative in coming up with ways to entice students to interview with their firm.

According to Business Insider, up to 70% of jobs aren’t listed. One survey conducted by Linkedin, suggested 85% of jobs are filled through networking. The pandemic has created challenges with how job seekers and hiring companies traditionally network. The networking dinners, in-person university career events, and everything in between were halted this year. Even so, companies continued to have open positions to fill.

Networking may naturally come easier for extroverts, but introverts can equally find success in networking too. Nothing replaces the energy of mixing and mingling over happy hours in a vibrant room, but products like Flo Recruit create solid substitutes that yield the same candidate output for a fraction of the price. 

The traditional job interview experience has changed forever

Before 2020, almost every position I filled required the hiring team to meet candidates in person. We’d fly candidates from all over the country to our office just to lay eyes on them for a few hours. Now, 100% of the jobs I fill are filled by candidates the hiring team has never met in person.

Thanks to virtual recruiting solutions like Flo Recruit, companies can hire with confidence despite not having met candidates in person at all. Long time recruiting expert Adam Rosenfield stated, “I see some really awesome collaboration [between recruiting and hiring managers].”

Angie Meier continued to also say, “My interactions and conversations have been more meaningful [in a virtual setting] and in fact, I’ve had more “facetime” with leadership during these times than when in office previously, where people so often are satiated by quick fly by conversations.” It’s easy to get distracted from running around the office all day in an in-person setting and a pro of being virtual is the undivided attention one gets in video meetings.

In summary, 2020 has been a challenging year. With challenge comes learning and innovation. Happy New Year’s from the Flo Recruit team. May 2021 bring all of us joy, success, and new beginnings.

Christina Wells

Christina Wells is the VP, People at PLANOLY, and Advisor to Flo Recruit. She is a regular contributor to the Flo Recruit blog and more. Connect with her about recruiting, human resources, and learning & development best practices on Linkedin.

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