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Helpful guide to virtual recruiting in crises and beyond

Virtual recruiting will continue to be used once the COVID-19 crisis is over. Find helpful resources facilitate successful remote hiring now and in the future.

“Pick up the phone and talk to the candidate. Give them the verbal handshake and build that relationship so they will trust you. That’s what it is all about” – Derek Bambrick

Virtual recruiting is more relevant than ever right now, as the war for talent hasn’t been locked down by any means. While companies have been using online recruiting with increasing frequency over recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated its widespread adoption.

With billions of people having to self-quarantine and shelter-in-place, working from home is being encouraged wherever possible. This means that HR managers now need to manage existing staff and recruit new employees remotely.

Moving Towards eRecruitment 

Where larger corporations had already started adopting virtual recruitment policies using the latest technology, smaller businesses now need to do the same thing. In many cases, this means they’re leapfrogging some of the interim stages, and going straight to a fully-fledged remote hiring policy.

Whether a company has just started recruiting online or has been doing so for some time, it’s important to continue the interview process and maintain an online presence even if the current lockdown has slowed down the process of appointing new employees.

At some point, the Coronavirus crisis will be over and the job market will become very aggressive. Applicants will be accustomed to remote recruitment practices and will be expecting them, so organizations would do well to adopt the practices now and keep them in the future. The technology – Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning and data analysis – used for remote hiring also streamlines the process and can save busy HR directors a lot of time, so it’s recommended for several reasons.

Businesses can implement eRecruiting policies, as they are beginning to be known, in a few different ways. Formulating in-house platforms, purchasing specially designed software or using a dedicated agency are all options. In each case, HR personnel will need to be closely involved, managing the system and liaising with all parties involved.

Some of the most helpful general eRecruiting resources to be used in and beyond the COVID-19 crisis are social media platforms, chatbots, targeted emails, resumé checks and video interviews. Whether they’re offered on in-house software, bespoke technology or specialist agency platforms, their basic functions remain the same.

Social Media Platforms

Barack Obama was the first US president to harness the power of social media during his election campaign, and we’ve seen how the platforms have changed the way people consume news, interact with friends – and now, seek and apply for jobs. Organizations can use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other channels to tell a unique story.

The visual impact on prospective applicants is immediate and fosters a sense of familiarity with a company’s corporate culture that can encourage individuals to submit their resumés. Often, the submissions can even be accepted via the social media page. Once the initial advertisement for positions has been posted on a social site, the rest of the process can be completed by an automated workflow that guides job seekers through the application process.


Chatbots are software applications that conduct online conversations. They can be used to screen applicants by asking relevant questions. From there, they can direct them to the most suitable jobs for their skill set or reject them if they aren’t right for any of the jobs that a company currently has available.

Chatbots’ machine learning means that their filters become more sensitive over time, so that the bots are better able to screen job seekers. Wade and Wendy, Smashfly, Brazen, Ideal and Eightfold all offer chatbots that are very popular with HR teams right now. They can be used on business homepages, or at specially hosted virtual recruiting events targeting college graduates.

Targeted Emails

Sophisticated algorithms can identify suitable candidates who meet all a job’s requirements and who are available, and companies can then reach out to those individuals with targeted emails. This feels far more personal than a general advertisement of the position, and many more people will feel motivated to apply. 

Resumé Checking

Digital resumé checking can streamline the recruitment process considerably, and it’s simple with the right tools. Software can be set to search for specific keywords or phrases, rejecting the applications that do not contain them. Resumés can also be sorted according to skill set, wage expectations or other criteria relevant to the position, and stored for possible future hires. 

Current employees’ details can be updated automatically to reflect any new skills, and then sorted and ranked according to the latest information.

Video Interviews

In the face of COVID-19 lockdown measures, remote meetings and job interviews are the new normal. Zoom and Skype are two options that allow for free video calls, with certain limitations such as Zoom’s time restrictions which are removed in the paid versions.

Video interviews are incredibly useful and time saving, whether people are required to shelter in place or not, but they do pose certain difficulties. One obstacle that is often mentioned by HR managers and other recruiters is the challenge of putting a candidate at ease on a video call so that they’re able to show themselves in the best light.

To help with this, interviewers should be encouraged to be as empathetic as possible. Other suggestions for best practices in remote interviews include setting a schedule for the video call and informing everyone of the order of events in advance, doing a trial run with all necessary technology, and choosing quiet, clean and well-lit areas in which to conduct the interview.

Recruiters should also try to maintain the air of professionalism that they would have in a physical meeting, and should follow up the virtual interview with a thank-you email, request for feedback, and instructions on any further steps that need to be taken. All these measures should facilitate successful remote interview processes with the best possible applicants.

Upskill Opportunities

If recruiters have spare time while their companies are hiring less due to financial cutbacks forced by the COVID-19 outbreak it’s advisable that they use the reprieve to upskill. They’ll be more prepared when the market recovers, and training in data analytics and other skills can make them even greater assets. 

How is your company managing its virtual recruiting and recruiters now, and how does it plan to do so in the future?

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