Virtual Hiring Isn't Going Away Anytime Soon

Efficiency and accessibility are only a few of the reasons why virtual recruiting and hiring practices will continue to grow.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer
Co-founder and CEO, XOR.ai
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The past year has led businesses worldwide to dramatically shift their operations. What started as a daunting challenge ended up being a moment of evolution for many companies, showing what we’re truly capable of under extreme circumstances. Management was worried about what would happen, and employees showed us they could maintain or improve their productivity even when working remotely for the first time. Companies that were previously unaware realized the power of virtual teams and the technology that facilitates them, with 87 percent saying they will prioritize these investments in the future to sustain remote work.

Together we have experienced this online working revolution while navigating the challenges of the past year. This shift has touched every sector in unique ways, and this is especially true within recruiting and HR, which has started embracing technology and to save money and provide an improved experience for candidates. Through a shift to virtual career fairs, automation-assisted text message recruiting, and video interviews, hiring has changed and may never be the same – and for good reason. 

Recruiting’s virtual future

Running a company that provides software that facilitates virtual career fairs, HR automation, and other hiring tools I have seen firsthand this shift into the virtual. We hear time and again that these methods dramatically improve ROI and help companies find top-tier talent. We can see the movement toward remote work and remote hiring that allows companies to break into global markets that give them unprecedented talent access. Career experts predict that 80 percent of recruiting will be virtual for the foreseeable future. While this is a huge factor pushing online hiring, many are finding other benefits as well. These include the increased speed of the hiring process, the reduced cost, the improved candidate experiences and infinitely improved

Related: A Definitive Guide to Hosting Online Events

Virtual career fairs are the epitome of efficiency, allowing recruiters to talk to talent over live chat, audio calls, or video calls. Some setups allow the potential candidates to be pre-screened so that recruiters can immediately set them up for an interview. These interviews can be scheduled through calendar integration on some programs, thereby streamlining the hiring process. Not only are hiring managers able to speak with prospects country-wide or globally, but the ease and speed of these events lead to much higher candidate retention.

With an expected 31 billion active mobile devices by 2023, it is no surprise that text-to-hire has become popular. In fact, 78 percent of people are already receiving some kind of text correspondence from companies. It is proving to be one of the best ways to reach potential talent, especially those who aren't spending time searching through job boards. Some text-to-hire technology implements chatbots to pre-screen candidates and set up automated calendar dates for interviews when the applicant is available without exhausting the recruiter's time.

One of the most obvious benefits of transitioning to chatbots and automated recruiting is the cost savings. The price tag of traditional, non-virtual hiring events can be debilitating. When you tthe cost of renting a space, logistics, food and beverage, flights, and hotel rooms it quickly adds up. By transitioning to online events, the savings can be meaningful, as can be the candidate experience and retention rates.

Improving the candidate experience, diversity and accessibility

This study by IBM shows that a positive candidate experience means that applicants are 80 percent more likely to apply to other positions at the company, twice as likely to recommend the hiring organization to others and twice as likely to become a customer of the company itself.  So, how do virtual tools improve the hiring process? They make applying to jobs easier. Rather than filling out a vast, impersonal form that turns away many candidates, text-to-apply options and automation allow for a smooth and painless application process. Chatbots ensure immediate responses and constant communication with every candidate.

Related: Pay Close Attention to Candidate Experience for Long-Lasting Benefits

Beyond quick responses, these technologies guide the candidate through automated scheduling if they pass the pre-screening, speeding up the entire application process. A candidate is much more likely to be hired by you if you get to them before your competition. Alternatively, if they don't qualify for the position, your automated workflow can guide them to other positions that may better fit their skillset.  

Embrace the new virtual hiring reality

Whether due to disability, health concerns, or other barriers, virtual hiring and expanded remote work have opened the eyes of many to how we can provide greater accessibility in our workplaces. While these changes have been convenient for many, they are necessary for some to work at all. By moving to a virtual hiring platform, we allow for a more accessible and diverse workforce.

Related: 6 Ways to Cultivate a Diverse and Equal Workplace

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, we will see virtual practices continue to evolve. In all sectors, we see the empowerment of workforces and companies realizing the power of tools like automation, virtual events, and remote teams.

Companies that have embraced these tools will continue using many of them, even as some return to working in the office. If you are on the fence about trying these tools out, now is the time to jump on the bandwagon - these changes will only continue to take root in our workplaces and propel our companies into a global, virtual future.

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