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4 virtual recruiting strategies to implement after COVID-19

Hiring has changed due to COVID-19. Here are four virtual recruiting strategies to follow as you adjust to online hiring.

In a COVID-19 hiring landscape, developing great virtual recruiting strategies is critical.

Whether your company is hiring now to keep your business operating, or planning to rebuild the workforce as the pandemic abates, the work of screening and hiring candidates has changed. However, pivoting to virtual recruiting may not be as difficult as you think it will be. For one thing, many of the tools you'll need are already in place.

"I don't think the [recruiting and hiring] game has changed as much as the actual flow," said Chad Sowash, an industry consultant and co-host of The Chad & Cheese Podcast: HR's Most Dangerous Podcast, which covers recruiting issues.

Since you should already have a good sense of who you want to hire, and what kind of workers will succeed in your organization, adding new steps to the process isn't the right way to go, he said.

Instead, use technology to screen the growing number of available candidates, provide them with a better experience and, in general, become more efficient. 

I don't think the [recruiting and hiring] game has changed as much as the actual flow.
Chad SowashCo-host, 'The Chad & Cheese Podcast: HR's Most Dangerous Podcast'

Here are four virtual recruiting strategies to use as you begin hiring in a post-COVID-19 world.

1.     Spruce up your online presence

COVID-19 and the resulting move to remote business solidified the importance of a great digital marketing strategy.

"The idea of having some kind of website aimed at job seekers isn't new," said Mike Kahn, executive partner with recruiting firm the Lucas Group, based in Houston. "In fact, over the last four or five years candidates have made a habit of using the web to study up on potential employers before they even decide whether or not to apply for a job."

With that in mind, you should ramp up your digital marketing efforts to create a better user experience on all platforms.  

"My advice is to make sure your online presence -- whether it's your website, your YouTube channel, anything somebody can get into -- is done with good marketing," Kahn said. "That means you put the company's best foot forward and [make sure] everything is easy to use."

2.     Brush up on video conferencing tools

Even in a time of high unemployment, where potential candidates outnumber jobs, the candidate experience is still important.  

Because of this, many recruiters have turned to video platforms -- such as Zoom and Google Meet -- to facilitate the face-to-face interviews that HR and managers once conducted in person. While video conferencing tools are fairly user-friendly, making the transition to virtual interviews requires some thought and planning.

"Employers want to hire the best candidates available, not simply fill slots with the first person to come along," said Will Kelly, relationship manager at Dallas-based technology solutions provider Headstorm. "You don't want to have a great engineer who doesn't take an interview because you weren't able to set them up with the virtual infrastructure that you needed to ascertain their talent."

Shop around and find the video interviewing platform that not only works best for you, but is also easily accessible for the candidates.

"[The candidates have] got to represent themselves virtually, which a lot of them aren't used to doing," Kelly said. "There's a little bit of handholding, a little bit of getting candidates up to speed on 'This is what we're doing right now.'"

3.     Offer a virtual taste of employee experience

As you plan your virtual recruiting strategies, think about your candidate funnel and consider how technology can help you adapt each candidate touchpoint to post-COVID-19 hiring. One touchpoint you'll want to adapt is the initial workplace tour.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers invited candidates to visit, Kahn said. This gave candidates a chance to tour the facility and get a sense of the company's culture.

With today's widespread move to working from home, getting candidates to visit may not be wise or feasible. Videos aren't a perfect replacement, but some companies post a video tour of what it's like to work at their company. 

These can offer a vivid sense of the employee experience and get candidates excited about the prospect of working at a particular company, Kahn said.

"[In these cases] the video works so well because it uses actual footage of the facility and it's clean and it's sharp and it's well-produced," he said.

4.     Find online tools for technical interviews

In specialized industries, the interview process often includes sessions where candidates solve coding or other technical problems. If you previously held these sessions in the workplace, you will need to create virtual sessions to replace them.

A number of tools are available to facilitate such whiteboard interviews online.

Some tools -- such as HackerRank -- allow candidates to work through assignments on their own time, then send their results to the hiring manager, Kelly said. Another tool, CoderPad, allows recruiters to talk with the candidates throughout the test and throw curveballs at them to see how they work through problems.

"As long as you've got those tools, you'd be surprised how far you can get," he said.

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