This Is Why and How Effective Virtual Recruitment Is During and After COVID

by Sarah Reyes

The still-ongoing COVID pandemic took countless lives, disrupted the modern way of living, and changed the face of history. People lost loved ones and jobs. If there is one thing humanity never lost amidst the chaos and confusion that would be hope.

There is a silver lining to the COVID-related disruptions. It highlighted humankind’s resilience, hopefulness, and adaptability. The catastrophe enabled us to roll with the punches until we could find the strength and power to fight back.

This resilience is none more evident in the corporate world than recruitment. With people locked in their homes and businesses temporarily remaining closed or working at a bare minimum, there has to be a solution to get the best and brightest people onboard.

And there is. Virtual recruitment is one of the best things ever to come out of the COVID conundrum. Not only does online recruitment underscore people’s creativity, resilience, and perseverance. It also opened a new methodology that will outlive COVID.

Although some people might wonder why and how virtual recruitment outlives COVID, this article aims to explain just that.

Effective Virtual Recruitment During COVID

The State of Recruitment Two Years into the Pandemic

The COVID pandemic brought many challenges to everyone, including employers and workers. 

A December 2020 International Labor Organization report showed that the pandemic wiped out more than 81 million jobs in the Asia-Pacific region alone. On the other hand, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 16.9 million people lost their jobs due to COVID, 57% of which were business closures.

In April 2021, the Pew Research Center released its survey results about COVID-related job losses. The report also highlighted the differences in policies between the US and EU. The US adopted unemployment compensation measures, while the EU focused more on employment retention schemes. Hence, there were more unemployed in the US than in the EU (9.6 million vs. 2.6 million).

These figures provide a rough estimate of how many companies folded due to COVID. According to Fortune Magazine, almost a hundred thousand establishments initially forced to shut down temporarily (140,104 companies) are now permanently out of business (97,966 firms).

COVID corporate survivors now face the challenge of picking the best-fitting candidates from the millions of unemployed globally.

In March 2021, enterprise video interviewing platform provider HireVue released its Global Trends Report, underscoring the state of hiring and recruitment worldwide.

The report highlighted the increased stress of looking for the best possible candidates.

Fifty-four percent of US, UK, and Australian hiring and recruitment managers reported a jump in job-related stress in 2020.

Forty percent of them pointed to the lack of quality, best-fitting candidates as the most significant stressor.

One in four hiring managers also noticed extended lead times because of a substantially lower proportion of candidate availability. Fourteen percent also reported difficulty managing different job posts, 23% of which took 14 days longer to fill vacancies.

You might also like: Five Reasons Why Pre Employment Skills Testing Should Be Part of the Recruitment Process

The Growth of HR Technology During the Pandemic 

A year after COVID began forcing governments to close international borders, HR technology vendors are on the rise.

The pandemic is changing how companies invest in HR technology. Close to 30% of businesses intend to increase nontraditional HR technology investments, underscoring the growing appreciation of remote work arrangements beyond COVID.

According to Human Resource Executive, 83% of HR leaders attribute their responsiveness and flexibility amidst the COVID chaos to HR technology. It also empowered them to become more resilient. Eighty-two percent of employers scaled their HR technologies to operate more effectively, accommodating the hybrid work model.

One of the HR technologies companies found most useful during the pandemic is recruitment technology. It includes applicant tracking systems (ATS), human resource management systems (HRMS), virtual interviewing platforms, and more.

Before COVID, only 55% of HR professionals and employers have either ATS or HRMS. Two years after, more and more companies are adopting these HR technologies. Experts believe that the ATS market will be worth $2.22 billion by 2027 and that 99% of Fortune 500 businesses now have the system.

An ATS is a crucial tool for contemporary HR professionals. It allows them to collect and analyze candidate information and organize prospects based on predetermined parameters to identify the best-fitting people for the job. However, it is not enough to seal the deal. Human resource managers must also utilize online recruitment technologies to validate the ATS-shortlisted candidate pool.

According to Cielo Talent, about three out of five (59%) HR professionals used virtual interviewing technologies during the pandemic, 65% of whom extended job offers without meeting the candidate in person. More than two-thirds (67%) of HR professionals also use virtual technologies for onboarding.

Although it is safe to assume these figures are arbitrary, Cielo Talent believes the trend will continue long after COVID. Eighty-two out of 100 HR managers said their respective organizations would continue using virtual interviews, while less than a third (32%) expressed confidence in their decisions to offer jobs to qualified candidates they did not meet personally.

Why Virtual Hiring Is the New Normal Beyond COVID

The discussion above underscores one crucial observation – online recruitment and other HR technologies are no longer a temporary solution to a pandemic-stricken workforce. They are the new norms from here on. 

Remote Work is Here to Stay

One of the most significant reasons online recruitment will outlive COVID is the increasing popularity of remote work. 

Industry experts predict that 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely by 2025. Even before the COVID pandemic, 16.8 million people were already working from their homes, hotels, cafes, and other outside-office venues.

Not only is remote work for ordinary employees. Managers are benefiting from a hybrid work model, too. A Fundera report observed that 16% of people remotely working hold managerial positions in their respective organizations. 

FlexJobs also has a survey to share. The organization said that three out of five women would quit their jobs if their respective companies disallow continuing remote work after COVID. The report also highlighted 52% of men have the same views.

The company also said that about two-thirds (65%) of remote workers will not want to return to a traditional office job after COVID. 

An Owl Labs report showed that seven out of ten remote workers are happy with their remote work, making them more productive and contributing to their respective organizations’ aims. Eighty-three percent of people also say they would be much happier if their companies allowed them to work remotely.

An AngelList and Buffer report also showed an increasing number of people preferring remote work arrangements over traditional in-office models. Eighty-four percent of employees choose a work-from-home scheme than returning to the office. They cite excellent life-work balance and more positive mental health as the driving forces behind their preferences.

An advanced recruitment technology caters to the growing remote work movement. It is unlikely that people will give up their newly found freedoms and the benefits of working away from the office after COVID. It is one of those things that people now look for in their dream jobs.

Effective Virtual Recruitment After COVID

More Companies Willing to Adopt a Hybrid Work Model

The hybrid work model incorporates remote work arrangements with traditional in-office work, providing employees sufficient flexibility without undermining the company’s strategic objectives. People can choose to work remotely on certain days and report to the office on others. The model addresses many issues that some business leaders raised against remote work.

Although more companies are reopening after a brief lull in COVID infection and death rates, there is a steady increase in the number of businesses adopting a hybrid work model. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, only a few firms adopted the work arrangement as a means to survive and continue serving their customers. Six months into 2021, that figure increased to 45%, implying an upward trend.

Eighty-four percent of these companies cite employee health, safety, and wellness as the most significant factor in deciding to adopt a hybrid work model. Employee productivity comes in a close second at 72%.

PricewaterhouseCoopers also released several surveys beginning in June 2020. One study showed 83% of business owners credit remote work for their success during the pandemic.

The majority of company executives (29%) also think that remote work three days a week is sufficient to balance work-from-home and in-office activities. One out of five employers would observe a five-day remote work-week for their employees.

As of December 2021, Zippia says that 74% of US companies are either planning or actively observing a permanent hybrid work arrangement. Businesses also report a 12% reduction in employee turnover rates while improving their cost savings to $11,000 annually per remote employee working part-time. Eighty-three percent of organizations also noticed better collaborations because of the hybrid work scheme.

Online recruitment will stay long after COVID is gone because companies will continue adopting a hybrid work model. It does not matter how many days businesses require their employees to report in the office weekly.

More importantly, organizations will benefit from a healthier workforce, allowing them to stay productive and become instrumental in pursuing innovative products and services. 

How Virtual Hiring Outlives COVID

Two things make virtual hiring the preferred technology moving forward beyond COVID. 

First, it supports the growing number of people wanting to work remotely. It allows them to lead happier lives, maintain an ideal work-life balance, enhance productivity, promote collaboration, and ensure better mental health. 

Second, online recruitment provides a reliable platform for companies moving towards the hybrid work model. It improves efficiency, minimizes cost considerations, and enhances overall productivity.

Businesses must now implement virtual hiring platforms and other HR technologies that improve recruitment efficiency. They must also ensure a more robust employee engagement while strengthening diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. 

These mechanisms will help virtual hiring outlive COVID.

Why Virtual Hiring Is the New Normal Beyond COVID

Increased Recruitment Efficiency

Recruiting new talent to fill different job vacancies is a grueling task. It requires HR professionals to create, develop, advertise, and manage job postings. They also conduct job interviews, review and analyze application credentials and documents, and perform background checks.

Human resource professionals also screen hundreds of applicants for a single position. These activities take time.

Before candidate interviews, recruiters and hiring managers to skim over hundreds of resumes looking for the best possible fit for their job requirements. Ladders, Inc.’s Eye-Tracking Study showed that recruiters only need 7.4 seconds to make a fairly accurate decision based on what they see on a resume.

Considering hundreds of candidates might be applying for a single post, it is not uncommon for HR professionals to spend a few hours skimming resumes. Only then can employers begin the interview process.

According to Yello, 36% of employers take one to two weeks to complete the interview process, while only 23% end with a job offer within a week. The report also observed that recruiters spend more than two-thirds of their time on scheduling interviews.

Recruiters devote 60% of their time screening candidates, 42% conducting interviews, 48% posting new jobs, 38% sourcing candidates, 35% evaluating candidates, 28% making decisions, and 8% waiting for job offer acceptance.

Recruiting and hiring is such a tedious and time-consuming process that many HR professionals report getting burnout. The pandemic saw a 59.5% increase in HR professional burnout rates, now at an all-time high of 77.3%. 

Recruitment technology and other HR technologies can help make recruitment and hiring processes more efficient. It streamlines various processes, allowing recruiters and hiring managers to engage candidates and employees.

Fifty-nine percent of employers, hiring managers, and HR professionals believe advances in HR technology will produce a more streamlined, effective, and quicker recruitment process. 

HireVue’s report also provides the same conclusions. Fifty-four percent of virtual interviews quickened the hiring and recruitment process, with 41% of hiring managers attributing success in finding the best-fitting candidates to virtual recruitment technologies. 

After the COVID chaos and confusion, HR technologies will play a crucial role in advancing corporate recruitment policies. Companies will never return to the largely-inefficient paper document management system, saving time and resources for more essential activities.

Supports DEI Initiatives

Investing in advanced HR technology, such as virtual recruitment platforms, enhances a company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs. Artificial intelligence can help collect and analyze pertinent data that provides insights for decision-makers to improve their DEI initiatives.

Experts agree that technology raises awareness of DEI needs while increasing employer accountability. Recruitment technology empowers HR managers and business owners to take the necessary steps to fill under-represented groups in their respective organizations. It allows decision-makers to identify and plan specific actions to tweak or eliminate discriminative processes and practices.

Accessibility is one of the pillars of effective DEI programs. An accessible workplace prioritizes the needs of its diverse workforce, offering unique support systems without prejudice, discrimination, or judgments. 

Although DEI programs have gained momentum after the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements, experts say the adoption remains lukewarm. According to the Elevating Equity: the Real Story of Diversity and Inclusion report about 80% of businesses only pretend to know DEI.

More than three-quarters of businesses do not have DEI goals. Two out of five companies also view DEI work as an integral function of HR departments, performing the role of an enforcer to mitigate reputational, legal, and compliance risks.

While these figures might look dismal, experts agree there is a silver lining. More companies are now embracing DEI initiatives as an integral part of corporate philosophy. 

Recruitment technology can play a crucial role in helping companies integrate DEI principles. HireVue’s report cements this observation. The organization says more than a third (36%) of employers improved diversity in their respective organizations using virtual recruitment technologies. 

There is no turning back. With more business owners and executives committing to advance DEI principles in their respective organizations, virtual recruitment platforms will continue to grow beyond COVID.

Promotes Better Candidate Engagement

The Human Capital Institute reported that 60% of candidates have negative experiences with prospective employers. Seventy-two percent of these candidates share their negative experiences on social media, tarnishing the company’s image to the public. Negative online reviews can shoo 55% of job seekers from a business, robbing the organization of potentially high-quality talent. 

HireVue’s survey observed that 35% of employers use HR technology to increase time spent on candidate engagement. Automation allows HR professionals to interact with candidates, provide value, and establish an enabling relationship. 

After all, candidate engagement aims to eliminate sourcing by creating a readily-available talent pool. Businesses can encourage candidates to apply for other vacancies. 

Virtual recruitment technologies can improve candidate engagement, allowing job applicants to build a lasting positive impression about the company. It builds relationships, enabling the business to create and strengthen its pool of high-quality talent. It does not matter if the candidate did not land the job; other positions might soon become available.

Enhancing candidate engagement is one of the unique ways virtual recruitment outlives COVID. Job seekers will continue to expect a positive experience from companies. If not, they always have social media to vent their ire and disgust.

Final Thoughts

Virtual recruitment and other advanced HR technologies will outlive COVID. These platforms allow businesses to increase recruitment efficiency, incorporate DEI strategies more successfully, and enhance candidate engagement for better branding and talent acquisition.

These aims will never go away even with COVID gone. Hence, it is fitting and proper that modern businesses choose the best possible online recruitment technology they can get for their respective organizations.

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