2020 has left its mark on everyone—personally and professionally. Many companies have had to adjust strategies and processes to transition from yesterday’s ‘digital-optional’ world to today’s ‘digital-only’ world. For the HR industry, this transition was even more challenging. As the leaders of business operations, HR professionals pioneered the virtual transition while working with limited teams and extensive budget cuts. Despite the economic uncertainty in the world, hiring is still needed. Due to the pandemic, there has been a 135 percent increase in remote job positions.
HR knew that tackling virtual hiring was a major priority. At the beginning of this digital transformation, it was reported only 16% of HR professionals were prepared to adapt to a virtual hiring and recruiting process. The ability to adjust to virtual work processes is becoming more crucial to success because we have no way of knowing when or if this virtual environment will end. In fact, Global Workplace Analytics predicts 25-30% of employees will continue working from home multiple days a week into 2021. Throughout this virtual transition, organizations adequately prepared and equipped to make the digital leap will have the advantage in attracting top talent.
There’s still time for HR leaders to improve virtual hiring processes and maximize success in the digital-only world. Here are three tips to make virtual hiring a success:
Increase Support for Candidates
Throughout the virtual hiring process, it is important to maintain an air of professionalism. It is easy to forget the formalities of hiring when you may be working from your couch at home. Not only should you maintain company standards while at home, but you should also provide support and courtesy to candidates who may be new to virtual hiring.
To do this, start by providing a meeting agenda to inform the candidate what to expect during the virtual interview process. Share meeting information and invitations no later than two days before the meeting. Lastly, maintain open communication and support in case interviewees encounter technical difficulties. This virtual hiring process is new to many of us, not just on the business side, and candidates will appreciate the support.
Preparation will help candidates feel more at ease going into the interview, creating a positive and beneficial hiring experience for both the recruiter and the candidate. It is important to note company culture is one of the main deciding factors for candidates. As a recruiter, it is your job to reflect your company’s culture, and providing support and teamwork during the process indicates a positive workplace culture.
Despite the many months of using virtual platforms to communicate, technical issues can still occur. Be proactive and have a plan B ready to go in the event of an issue during the hiring process. For example, exchange phone numbers with the interviewee before a call, in case of total technology failure.
Technology issues are not ideal in any situation, yet it can be a great way to witness your candidate’s problem-solving skills. Be attentive to how they react to the unexpected situation. Are they quiet and look to you to fix it, or do they jump in and try to solve the problem? Do they remain calm, or do they look flustered? You might find it difficult to evaluate the candidate and their behaviors as well as you could in person, but in instances like this, take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about how they handle unpredictable situations. This is a good indicator of how they are likely to react to adversity as an employee.
Be Cognizant of Soft Skills
When conducting a virtual interview, it is crucial to be attentive to candidates’ soft skills. As the world navigates an unprecedented situation, recruiters should identify candidates who can work effectively despite changing work environments. For this virtual transition and remote work environment, look for candidates who exude strong leadership, adaptability, communication and teamwork skills.
Evaluating soft skills may be challenging when communicating virtually, but stay aware of mannerisms, eye contact, body language and how they carry themselves overall throughout the interview process. These little details and glimpses into who they are as a professional can greatly assist in determining whether the candidate would be a great fit.
With the remote work timeline remaining a mystery for most, it is best to prepare for the possibility it may be around for quite a while. There are two ways to deal with adversity: stay stagnant and let it overtake you or use it as an opportunity to improve. I suggest using this adverse situation to improve. Regardless of how long virtual processes will be required or highly suggested, it will still be a major component of work operations. To ensure your company’s success—now and into the future—take time now to add virtual hiring practices to your skill set and use it to attract top talent.
Brian Anders joined WorkSmart Systems in 2019 as the Director of Human Resources.