Despite the changes in hiring practices and procedures over the past two years, virtual hiring isn’t new to the hiring process. Hiring managers and human resource professionals have been taking advantage of these methods for quite some time. Phone screen interviews are one example that has been used for many years.

However, managing the entire hiring process remotely can be daunting — especially if your organization has not previously taken advantage of the available technology or is still relatively new to the practice. For those that have implemented virtual hiring strategies, the process is much more streamlined and efficient than only relying on traditional in-person interviews.

Keep reading to learn the benefits of virtual hiring and how to use it to your advantage.

The Appeal of Virtual Hiring

Born out of necessity, virtual or digital hiring allows hiring companies to connect with candidates over a video conferencing platform instead of just the traditional in-person format. Virtual interviews will never completely replace meeting in person as certain occupations, senior positions, and follow-up interviews often require meeting face-to-face. Yet, for most situations, virtual interviews offer significant advantages for both the hiring organization and the candidate.

Here are the strongest advantages of virtual hiring:

  • Speeds up the hiring process. Hiring is time-consuming. Conducting interviews virtually allows hiring managers and HR professionals to schedule interviews closer together allowing them to conduct more meetings during their day and therefore to review more candidates in less time.

  • Requires less time commitment. Virtual meetings only need to consume the time they are scheduled for since travel time isn’t a factor. In most cases, just a few minutes before the scheduled time is needed to log into the platform.

  • Improves scheduling challenges. Since less time is required, virtual hiring allows greater flexibility for both hiring professionals and candidates when meetings can be scheduled.

  • Expands the candidate pool. Remote working arrangements have proven highly successful for many organizations. This has also opened opportunities to hire talent outside of their direct geographic area. Virtual hiring makes connecting with out-of-area candidates easy and without the challenges of travel requirements.

  • Less stressful for candidates. Interviewing can be stressful. Not having to think about allocating time for travel, parking, or extended time away from work allows them to focus their energy on effectively sharing their abilities and career goals.

  • Showcases the hiring company as modern and technologically advanced. Organizations that remain current on technology and changing employment trends will be more highly desired than those that remain stagnant. Something as simple as using virtual hiring shows they are adaptive to change.

  • Convenient for everyone. Over the past couple of years, nearly everyone with a wi-fi connection has used some form of video conferencing. After a short learning curve, the technology has made personal connections highly accessible.

Of course, this change in the hiring process does have a couple of drawbacks that hiring managers and HR professionals need to be aware of. The biggest hurdle can be communication. If either side of the virtual interview is unfamiliar with the video platform or has connectivity issues, effective communication will be impeded. For this reason, it is always advisable to have a contingency plan in place and to share contact information before the interview.

The other common concern is that virtual interviewing degrades the hiring process by losing the human connection. While connecting over video will never be the same as personal interactions, the experience can be just as rewarding and beneficial. Video interviews still allow both parties to not only hear each other but to also see each other’s facial expressions and nonverbal gestures. All it takes is a little practice to get comfortable with the technology.

Best Practices for Virtual Hiring

To make the most of virtual hiring, consider the full spectrum of your hiring process that occurs before, during, and after the actual interview.

  • Be prepared for a different method of interviewing. From being comfortable with the conferencing platform to being on video, get comfortable with being on video versus being in-person.

  • Help your candidates prepare. Instead of providing directions to your office, make sure your candidates know how to connect over video and what to expect before their interview.

  • Plan your interview. While you should always know how you want to approach your interview, when multiple members of your team are involved, more thought should be given to the flow of the conversation and who will lead each part.

  • Consider your environment. Instead of making sure you have access to a conference room available, with virtual hiring, you will need to pay attention to possible distractions. This means not just noise interruptions, but possible unwanted guest appearances from pets or other people.

  • Prepare for the unexpected. Technology glitzes will happen from time to time. Take the same approach you would as if you were giving a formal presentation. Consider what could go wrong and develop a backup plan for each potential situation. The most common is an alternative way to connect (such as a phone call) or a backup interview date.

Embrace the new

Virtual hiring has pushed its way into the forefront of hiring practices for many organizations. However now that it’s here and regularly used, don’t expect this interviewing format to fade away. Hiring managers and HR professionals have experienced the advantages of this tool. Companies have recognized the value of looking beyond a set geographic perimeter. And for candidates, it’s a glimpse into how your organization might embrace change.

Hiring practices have adapted over time and will continue to evolve. Embrace virtual hiring as a positive shift that will make your hiring process faster, more efficient, and broader in its application.

What’s more, embracing a digital focus can also assist in your employee onboarding process. Access our Virtual Hiring Toolkit for more details on virtual hiring and onboarding remote employees.

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