What to consider when transitioning to virtual hiring 

James McGill, Vice President International Customer Success at HireVue 

'Must Haves' for a compelling business CV, virtual hiring, computerA global pandemic quickly puts your company’s business continuity plan into sharp focus – something all of us are learning as coronavirus continues to spread.

But the truth is that HR leaders and talent teams on the front lines always knew what a critical part hiring plays within that larger picture – especially for organisations that find themselves still hiring hundreds to thousands of employees in spite of (or in many cases because of) the world’s ever-changing circumstances. For a current example of this, look no further than the thousands of roles urgently being sought by supermarkets and e-commerce warehouses across the country as demand for their services soars.

In order to continue searching for the best talent in such a situation, you can’t rely on traditional methods. In-person interviews simply aren’t possible, and a remote or depleted workforce also means that companies won’t necessarily be able to evaluate candidates in as in-depth a manner as they would have previously. This is why many companies are now turning to technology to find and interview talent remotely while social distancing rules are in place. Solutions such as video interviews and online assessments are quickly becoming a necessity, but pivoting existing hiring processes to the virtual world can be a challenge for talent teams unused to these models.

When it comes to planning for a transition to virtual hiring – whether in the short-term or with more permanence in mind – and evaluating the multitude of solutions on offer, there are three critical factors that you should consider in order to keep internal disruption at a minimum and maintain meaningful interactions with your candidates:

Factor 1: Stability and security

With many of us having already transitioned to video conferencing to host everything from client calls to team drinks, you could question the requirement for a separate recruitment platform. Afterall, couldn’t you just host your interviews using one of your existing providers?

However, as the recent news cycle around the vulnerabilities that have been found in some of the most popular video conferencing platforms demonstrates, many of these platforms have been criticised for their sub-standard privacy and security certifications – making them wholly unsuitable for a task that is as sensitive as interviewing and hiring.

Instead, finding a virtual interviewing technology that is purpose-built for hiring not only ensures best-in-class security, including compliance with GDPR and regional laws and regulations, but also nets you more bespoke review, sharing, and ratings features at the same time.

When it comes to asking the right security-related questions about a platform you are considering, you should note that your data will be accessible through two separate means – the vendor’s system and the cloud provider’s system (e.g. Amazon Web Service or Microsoft Azure). Of these two, it is the vendor’s system (policies, procedures and controls) that you need to scrutinise most carefully – cloud hosting providers are regularly certified to a range of data security standards. What security measures have they put in place? What certifications do they hold?

Note, implementing data security standards is difficult, and earning individual security certifications is a lengthy, rigorous process, so you may find that some vendors try and skirt this question.

Factor 2: Seamless Tech Stack Integration

Any unexpected change in business can have lasting repercussions for your team as they try to adjust – and a switch in hiring models is no different. In order to minimise that disruption internally, you need to make sure that any new technology you bring in integrates into your existing ecosystem quickly and efficiently.

By selecting tools that integrate with your current technology stack, such as candidate relationship management solutions, Applicant Tracking Systems or assistive intelligence tools,  you can reduce potential redundancies and create an environment that gives some much needed stability back to your talent acquisition teams, so they can focus on what matters most: building and maintaining relationships with your employees and candidates.

Factor 3: Comprehensive Support

Finally, one of the most fundamental requirements of making the switch to virtual interviews is ensuring that not only are your hiring teams well supported in their use of any new platform, but also that your candidates have access to the same immediate and responsive support.

With time pressing and budgets likely already squeezed by the ongoing crisis, it can be tempting to look for the quickest and most cost-effective solution to implement in the short-term. With the stake high, however, it’s important to take a deeper dive into what is behind any solution you are considering. Make sure to ask the right questions about the support and service levels that a vendor can provide before jumping into a partnership. Is support global? Is it 24/7? How is it accessed?

A technology failure can lead to the loss of the perfect candidate, and disillusionment of your internal team, so it’s imperative to ensure that you have access to a global support team who can jump in and provide immediate guidance.

Conclusion

By rapidly transitioning to an effective virtual hiring model now (bearing the above factors in mind), HR leaders can continue to help their organisation find critical talent – in spite of COVID-19 or any other situation we might face. But this shouldn’t just be seen as a short-term solution. By taking the first step towards bringing more of the process online, companies can diversify the way they hire candidates and actually open up the talent pool to candidates that might not have been considered through the traditional hiring process. And that can only be a positive thing for everyone involved.

James McGillAbout the author

James McGill is VP of International Customer Success at HireVue. In his role, James is responsible for guiding businesses through their transformation journeys to hire the best talent faster. With more than 20 years of experience, James has held leadership positions with companies leading the way in business digital transformation, including salesforce.com and Adobe.


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