Three Tips for Improving Your Virtual Hiring Process

Many recruitment professionals and business leaders expect remote staff to become a key feature of workplaces moving forward. A recent Global Work From Home survey discovered 76% of employees want to continue carrying out their jobs from home, and forecasts that 25-30 million people in the U.S. will work remotely within the next two years.

As the demand for remote work opportunities increases, the use of video conferencing and virtual tools for hiring new staff grows as well. Cielo’s Future of Work survey indicates 59% of respondents are embracing video interviews, with 65% extending an offer without an in-person meeting and 67% employing a virtual onboarding program.

How do you ensure your virtual hiring process sets your company up for success? Here are three suggestions to consider:

Make space for authentic connection

Traditional in-person interviews allow for plenty of casual interactions. In the short walk from the lobby to the meeting room, there are numerous cues and clues to pick up from a candidate’s body language, tone of voice, conversation topics, and more. It also allows for additional exchanges with staff, like receptionists and assistants, which can provide valuable insight into a person’s character.

Establishing authentic connections in online interviews requires extra time and energy. Dedicate the first 5-10 minutes to small talk, allowing time for a candidate’s nerves to subside before diving deep into their qualifications. At Smart Savvy, we ask interviewees to come prepared to answer, “So you were born, then what?” Our tried-and-true icebreaker lends itself to all kinds of creative interpretation and always results in fascinating conversations.

Adjust your expectations

Don’t expect video calls to go smoothly every time. When dogs bark in the background or Wi-Fi decides it’s done for the day, avoid letting these disruptions affect your perception of the candidate and their ability to perform the job well. And no matter how the online interview goes, please don’t evaluate the candidate based on your first impression – it’s one of the biggest mistakes hiring managers can make.

Before beginning a virtual interview, gain a deep understanding of the soft skills required of the role and consider how much weight should be given to how candidates carry themselves. Does on-screen uneasiness or quietness disqualify them from consideration? It may be a fair assumption for a customer-facing role, but may not be strong indicator of success for other internally focused positions. How comfortable they are (or aren’t) on a video call doesn’t always translate to how well they’ll do their job.

Adapt your process

Simply shifting the same-old interviews online may not be the most efficient, effective way to find new talent. Evaluating hiring processes and employing new techniques for making objective, balanced judgments are worthwhile.

Panel interviews, work samples, and cognitive tests can help predict job performance. Screening candidates over the phone is another opportunity to gauge personality fit and build genuine connection. Inviting a promising candidate to join a virtual happy hour or coffee break can help to seal the deal.

And once contracts are signed, having a successful remote onboarding process can help you train, retain and delight the new hire you worked hard to find.

Remote work and virtual meetings were a necessity. And now they’re becoming the norm. This is the perfect time to reassess your company’s recruitment practices to ensure you find the right fit for your role, remote or otherwise.