The virtual hiring tsunami: How COVID-19 is changing the recruitment process for good

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CEO of recruitment tech firm, HireVue, Kevin Parker says the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way businesses recruit for talent…

As companies have adopted social distancing in all aspects of their operations, many have quickly turned to virtual interviewing as a way to safely and efficiently fill critical roles.

The sectors being hit

Key worker sectors in particular have seen huge spikes in virtual interviewing in recent weeks with the grocery industry up 450%, as supermarket giants race to fill hundreds of thousands of newly created roles, and the healthcare industry up 345% as demand continues to grow for staff to respond to the growing number of coronavirus infections.

Other badly hit sectors of the economy, have of course fared very differently when it comes to hiring. Many businesses are holding off on expanding their workforce. Others have drastically reduced their headcount, many taking advantage of furlough schemes, due to uncertainties around the pandemic and the changes lockdown has brought on our day-to-day lives and the services and products we are consuming.

Recruiting during times of crisis

However, many of our clients in these badly affected industries, like travel, non-essential retail and hospitality are busy planning ahead for the end of lockdown and the reopening of national economies. They’ll need to hire quickly and do so in a way that places candidate and recruiter safety front of mind.

Inspired by the speed of hiring across key worker sectors, these industries are themselves turning their attention to virtual interviewing to enable them to rapidly and safely hire or rehire thousands of furloughed candidates and new recruits once lockdown lifts.

At HireVue, we are well prepared to help our clients turbo-charge their recruitment efforts, in order to meet the sharp post-lockdown increase in demand for their services.

Having hosted nearly 15 million virtual interviews since 2004, our focus is on enabling employers and recruiters to bring their own ‘human-touch’ to the process, building strong and lasting relationships and selling candidates on the company culture, while our technology handles the parts of the process that need to operate with complete consistency — and at scale. We recently scaled up services to help a large grocery chain virtually interview over 22,000 candidates in just 48 hours through on-demand access that enabled candidates to interview for positions any hour of the day.

Our predictions

This is transformative for businesses as it not only simplifies the hiring process but it creates a new age of equal opportunity. HireVue enables recruiters to “widen the aperture” and to identify the most talented candidates from a very diverse pool. By enabling easy access to virtual interviews and by focusing pre-hire assessments only on job role-specific competencies, hiring teams can more fairly interview and evaluate a broad spectrum of candidates, whether neurotypical and neurodiverse candidates, those with disabilities,
and people from many generations and ethnic backgrounds.

During this period of social distancing, we predict that companies will be able to pivot from holding large, in-person job fairs at convention centres and to turn these into 100% virtual recruiting events, allowing interviews and assessments to happen anywhere, on any platform, at any time. As the 2020 graduate recruiting season gets underway, for example, we will see this play out on a big scale, with large organisations pivoting to virtual interviewing in order to replace traditional on campus careers fairs, live
interviews and assessment centres.

There is a lot of work to be done over the coming weeks and months, but one of the most exciting aspects of the forthcoming wave of hiring and re-hiring is this: businesses have a once-in-a-career opportunity to lead a transformation in how recruiting and hiring are done, for good.

Looking ahead further, this digital-first mindset is set to continue long after the pandemic is over. Having witnessed the advantages virtual hiring can bring, when companies return to the office, hiring managers and recruiters may never look at hiring the same way again.

Virtual interviewing will remain a permanent part of the hiring process, not only making it more efficient, structured and objective, but by enabling companies to transform their hiring to be both faster and more fair and objective.

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