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 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 interpretations and always results in fascinating conversations.

Such techniques help recreate the rapport-building aspects of in-person interviews in the online space, ensuring that you can still get to know candidates on a personal level, even from a distance.

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 for 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 a 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.

It’s crucial to assess candidates holistically, taking into account their skills, experiences, and potential contributions to the organization, beyond their performance in a single online interview.

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.

Consider incorporating panel interviews, work samples, and cognitive tests to better predict job performance. Screening candidates over the phone provides an opportunity to gauge personality fit and build genuine connections, setting the stage for a successful virtual interview. You might even consider inviting a promising candidate to join a virtual happy hour or coffee break to help solidify the connection and evaluate their cultural fit.

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. Adaptation and innovation in the hiring process are essential to finding the best talent in today’s evolving job market.

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.


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Smart, Savvy + Associates is a recruitment agency that specializes in connecting companies with marketing, communications and creative professionals at all levels, from coordinators to C-suite. Based in Vancouver, B.C., our team of marketers-turned-recruiters have an in-depth understanding of the industry and work diligently to find best-in-class talent for each search. Get started today.