Despite the challenges due to the pandemic, it’s critical for many organizations to keep their talent acquisition functions moving, and to keep employees and candidates safe, that means turning to virtual solutions. To help talent leaders with this transition, we created a Talking Talent series with our experts here at PeopleScout to cover the issues that are most pressing during this uncertain time.
This profile shares insights from PeopleScout Global Leader of Affinix Client Success and Strategy, Allison Brigden, on transitioning to a virtual talent acquisition solution. Allison leads the Affinix Client Success Team and PeopleScout’s strategic technology partnerships.
Allison shared her insights about virtual hiring solutions from her home in Chicago.
Many Organizations That Provide Essential Goods And Services Need To Keep Hiring, And It’s Important To Keep Both Employees And Candidates Safe During The Process. What’s The Best Way To Do This?
The best way to do that is to continue your recruiting process, but to do so virtually. Recruiting has undergone a digital transformation and practically, all of the recruiting steps can be handled virtually. By moving to this type of process, you can provide access to jobs in a completely safe environment without contact for either the employer or the job-seeker. Of course, candidates have been able to apply online for a long time and recruiters can review resumes online, but most interviews have continued to be done in person.
Nowadays, interviews can be done virtually through technology tools that allow you to have a live, two-way video chat or a pre-recorded video that the candidate can complete on their timeline and at their convenience. Later, the audio or video recording can be reviewed by both the recruiter and the hiring manager.
This technology can also easily support a process that can be fully virtual from the time candidates apply and through the offer and on-boarding. Although this technology has been available for a while, it hasn’t been fully adopted. However, this is an opportune time for us to use the available technology.
In particular, a virtual hiring solution allows us to put health and safety first, but also provides access to jobs for those who need one during this challenging time. There’s also been a huge spike in jobs for remote workers, and a virtual hiring solution is directly aligned to that remote work environment, as well, so it’s a very good time to introduce that and transition to a virtual process for your recruiting.
So, What Does A Virtual Talent Acquisition Solution Look Like?
A virtual hiring solution leverages technology, but it can also have a highly personal touch. By using technologies to their full advantage, recruiters will have more time to spend with applicants. On the flip side, technology also allows applicants to engage with multiple interviewers. You can even have a panel interview with multiple different interviewers to connect with a candidate at the same time.
Meanwhile, strive to make your virtual conversations feel more personal; just because you’re leveraging technology doesn’t mean you have to lose that personal touch as part of the process.
To further answer this question, a virtual hiring solution should involve the following components:
1. First, have an easy application that can be completed on a mobile phone. It should feel like an online shopping experience and should only take four to eight minutes. There should also be an immediate next step, so the applicant can drive the process.
2. The next step could be a text exchange in which you ask questions about the interview schedule or the requirements of the job. Or, it can be a video exchange or a candidate-friendly assessment process. All of this can be done on the candidate’s mobile phone.
3. Another important component of a virtual hiring solution is giving candidates the ability to drive the process forward. For instance, with automated self-scheduling, the candidate can see the available interview times and select one for themselves, either via text or via an online web experience. This also allows candidates to keep the process moving – whether it’s a phone interview with a recruiter or a live video interview.
The offer and post-offer process can also be done virtually. This has been done by phone for a long time, but now there are also more options for a personalized and engaging on-boarding experience – which can be especially helpful right now when people are feeling a little bit isolated or disconnected.
As an example, after someone has accepted an offer, send a welcome video to their phone or preferred device. Use this opportunity to welcome them and tell them what to expect on their first day.
Moreover, the entire virtual hiring process can be fully branded to elevate your employer brand and the connection you have with applicants. These are the components you’d want to have in place while building your virtual process.
In summary, a virtual hiring solution can be very safe while still being highly effective. It doesn’t require contact, but it also gives you that chance to connect with potential new employees and provide a personalized experience.
Can You Tell Me Some Of The Short- And Long-term Benefits That People Would See With A Virtual Hiring Solution?
Things are changing quickly. It’s very important to remember that we’re all in this together and, as such, we need to be understanding and flexible as things develop. PeopleScout can definitely help with both short-term benefits for the job-seeker, as well as long-term benefits for the company.
Short-term benefits are fairly clear. The virtual interview and scheduling process provides a completely safe, no-contact method to further the recruiting process, which is a clear shortterm benefit. Another short-term benefit is speed-to-hire. We typically see a reduction of four to eight days in the time it takes to fill a job.
By providing a more automated, applicant-driven process, you can enhance the candidate experience and acquire better talent faster.
Virtual interviews and automated scheduling are also long-term benefits because companies will see improvements in their business outcomes as people reach productivity faster. A few additional benefits include reducing travel costs for interviews (if you would normally have candidates travel in for an interview) and a lower overall cost-per-hire.
Plus, once you have a virtual process in place, you don’t need to return to previous hiring practices; you can continue the virtual process and reap the same benefits.
Giving candidates more control in the process – whether that be the option to record an on-demand video or audio interview, or scheduling an interview themselves – puts them in a position of controlling the process, which is a great improvement in the candidate experience. If you implement this virtual process today, you’ll see these short- and long-term benefits that you can carry forward as the future unfolds.
How Do You Transition To Or Implement A Virtual Hiring Solution?
The good news here is that this transition is a light lift. Most likely, a large part of an employer’s process is already virtual. Everyone can apply online. Recruiters can work online to interact with the systems already in place.
Mostly, you just need to focus on the steps that are traditionally face-to-face, like the interview itself or some parts of the on-boarding process. You probably don’t need to overhaul the whole application and hiring process; rather, you can just introduce this virtual interviewing and scheduling component. Also, if you’re working with a provider – like a recruitment process outsourcing partner – they can actually handle much of that transition for you. Even if you have an in-house team, it’s not a very difficult transition to make.
The biggest challenge will be the adoption and training. Employers should focus their efforts on helping hiring managers understand the process and share the short- and long-term benefits so that they can drive adoption within their organization.
For A Lot Of Organizations, Hiring Face-to-face May Be Deeply Ingrained Into The Culture. How Can You Make Virtual Interviewing Work In A Way That Still Feels Authentic And Personal For Both The Hiring Manager And The Candidate?
A big part of this is comfort level. And, the only way to truly get comfortable with something is to start using it. So, the comfort level will increase for everyone involved as they continue to use the technology. This is true for candidates, too. The first time they do an interview like this, they might have increased nervousness. But, there are things you can do to make it the best experience possible, as well as to make it feel authentic and personal.
Even though this is a virtual interview, as a recruiter, you want to be prepared so that you have meaningful questions to ask. Make sure you have pertinent information about the job and that you’ve reviewed the resumes so you’re not going in cold.
For employers, I also recommend testing your connections and making sure everything looks and sounds good. Then, once the video interview begins, reinforce your employer brand by letting the candidate know unique things about your company culture that may appeal to them. Displaying your company culture is especially important during the virtual hiring process, as candidates do not have to opportunity to visit you onsite.
Beyond displaying your company culture and employer brand, also make sure you ask the right questions during the interview to better understand a candidate’s experience and competencies. Likewise it’s also important to communicate openly and authentically about the role and your expectations.
After the interview is done, it’s important to provide some sort of feedback to the candidate and let them know what the next step is in the process. Whether or not a candidate is moving forward, provide them that information in a timely way so they’re not left wondering and end up feeling disconnected from your brand.