How to get started with Virtual recruiting

I know, it’s hard to imagine an end-to-end recruitment process without in-person interviews and interactions. Trust me, you can still offer an exceptional and authentic candidate experience and meet your hiring objectives. I made this transition myself several years ago, and I found that it just takes some adjustment and a little creativity. You might even surpass your expectations!

Connect with your team to define your virtual recruiting process

Yes, these are trying times. The way you were working has transformed completely, especially if you were used to working at an office, your candidates came in for interviews, and your recruitment efforts were largely office-based. As in any transition, you might feel uncertain and concerned about your ability to perform your work and deliver the same results you used to.

You’re certainly not alone, as this is something that a lot of people have been struggling with during the past several weeks. The truth is, you are still able to go through all the usual stages of the hiring process from home. It’s just a matter of adjusting and taking advantage of all the means that you have on hand for this purpose. 

One of the first things you’ll want to examine is your process:

  • Step back and rethink your company’s process and find new creative ways to maintain hiring momentum, while still relying on well-founded criteria to back up hiring decisions. 
  • Brainstorm and collaborate with your team to create a virtual process that works for all of you. 
  • Define how you’ll move forward from now on. 

My essential advice is no matter how you decide to adjust your process, always give it your company’s personal touch. 

It’ll just take a couple of weeks for you to realize that face-to-face hiring processes don’t necessarily translate into quality results, and a great virtual hiring process can lead to excellent decisions and great fits. 

Look at your virtual recruiting technology

Look for platforms and software that better match your needs and requirements for communication, scheduling, and organization while working remotely. This is also a good moment for you to reach out to your main recruitment software, and ask about what they offer that could help with your current needs. 

If you are new to recruiting software, this might be a helpful resource to get started.

Virtual recruiting: It’s still all about the candidate experience 

Focus on the candidate experience and then focus on the candidate experience again. Your level of engagement and communication with candidates doesn’t have to be any different now that you’re working virtually, and there are ways for you to even improve the overall experience for them. 

For example, take the interview scheduling: Candidates no longer need to drive to an office or ask permission of their current employer to take the entire afternoon off. This is a huge advantage. Candidates will likely take the interviews from the comfort of their own home office and quickly go back to their work or daily tasks once they’re done. 

Virtual recruiting offers greater flexibility, which translates to a smoother journey for those applying for a job. If you want to go the extra mile, consider using self-scheduling apps, for candidates to grab a time and date that better suits their availability. 

Here are some tips for enhancing the candidate experience in virtual recruiting:

  • Maintain and enhance your best practices in the virtual environment and try to be one step ahead of any inconvenience you may encounter. For example, join your virtual interview a few minutes in advance and have a backup plan in case you bump into any technical difficulties. Dress accordingly and try to reflect the best of your company’s values and culture during your conversation with a kind and respectful attitude. 
  • Consider creating aid “materials” you can share with candidates via email to showcase your company’s culture and to give a sense of what it is like working at your company in the best virtual way possible. I send out SweetRush’s Culture and Values book, which offers a personal and authentic introduction to our company.

Face-to-face in a virtual world: video interviews

The easiest way to translate the face-to-face interaction with candidates to a virtual environment is scheduling video interviews. Seeing reactions and expressions can reveal a lot about someone’s personality, and in this case, about the person on the other side of the computer screen. 

My tip: Always communicate in advance that it’s a video interview, so candidates can prepare themselves and find a quiet and appropriate space. This is especially important in these times when many of us have several family members around the house! 

Check out my article on how to conduct a video interview with many more tips.

There’s no such thing as too much communication in virtual recruiting

Prompt and candid communication has always been one of the most important distinctions of a successful candidate experience. This is even more relevant in a virtual environment, so aim for overcommunication. 

Here are my essential tips on communication:

  • Make yourself available to candidates using a variety of channels, e.g., email, Skype, and your cell phone number if you don’t have a work phone at home. 
  • Make an effort to reply to every inquiry in less than 24 hours. Let candidates know when they will hear back from you. 
  • Set clear expectations about the stages of the interview process, including the number of interviews and the possibility of having to take a test.
  • Be transparent when the process changes and be empathetic when it requires patience from candidates. They will appreciate this more than you can imagine. 

Bringing your chosen candidate on board in virtual recruiting

For the final stages of the process, when you decide to bring someone on board, make him or her feel welcome and part of your company and team from the very first moment. Here are some of the things we do at SweetRush to embrace new team members who are working remotely:

  • Send an email or post on your internal social channel introducing them to the team.
  • Schedule brief video meetings with different team members.
  • Announce them at your company-wide virtual meeting.  
  • Have all documentation and on-boarding processes available in different virtual platforms so new hires don’t feel lost when joining from home during their first weeks. 

On the other hand, make sure to close the loop appropriately when a candidate doesn’t get selected. A brief phone call or an email to candidates who don’t get the job takes only a few minutes. 

Virtual recruiters: empathy matters

Finally, try to be as empathetic as possible. Looking for a job when the job market and conditions are “normal” is already stressful for many people. Now think about having to go through interview processes when there’s so much anxiety and uncertainty in the entire world, especially the financial stability of families, companies, communities, and entire countries. 

Chances are, you’re not always going to receive the best reactions from applicants, particularly those who don’t get the job. Think about the way you communicate with candidates and put some extra thought into the words you use before sending an email or a text. 

Practice compassion and kindness in every stage of your hiring process, and make it your signature way of conducting yourself and connecting with others from now on, whether it’s virtual or face to face.