Employers Rush to Virtual Recruiting Tools as Virus Hampers Pipelines

Warehouse Worker

Even as hiring falls and unemployment rises as the coronavirus freezes the world’s economy, many employers are strengthening their talent pipelines and getting used to new technologies in order to prepare for the eventual recovery.

“Generally, there has been pretty significant disruption,” said Ben Slater, vice president of marketing for recruiting platform Beamery. However, he added, a number of employers have accelerated hiring to meet new demand, particularly in industries such as logistics.

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The need for more workers makes perfect sense in some industries. Hospitals and clinics must treat patients in person. Airplanes, trucks and trains rely on human operators to transport passengers and goods. Even advanced warehouses need people to make sure packages are properly handled and routed.

But for companies that rely on office workers, hiring has become tricky. In-person interviews have gone by the wayside—at least temporarily—and collaboration between talent acquisition teams and hiring managers must now be done virtually.

A New Ballgame

How employers approach recruiting has changed in the last several weeks, said Keca Ward, senior director of talent experience at Phenom. “A month ago, we were actively recruiting—screening, interviewing and onboarding—but today we have a different priority,” she said. “Now, the focus is on sourcing job seekers and building up a qualified talent pipeline. We are preparing for when hiring picks back up, post-pandemic.”

Companies are taking steps to ensure their technology and processes are ready for the recovery, as well, observes Slater. “A lot of our customers are using this time to make operational and process changes that are harder to roll out when their teams are all carrying a high req load,” he said.

Virtual Recruiting Tools

Not surprisingly, the requirement for many people to stay home has disrupted the interview process, especially for parents. While videoconferencing applications like Zoom or Google Hangouts are helping to fill that void, Slater says some employers are using one-to-many applications to keep their pipelines moving. For example, one company holds 30-minute introduction and learning sessions for new additions to their talent community.

Just as they’ve had to embrace remote work in order to continue operating, many employers have little choice but to adapt to the world of virtual hiring. Virtual job fairs and video interviews are less likely to be considered nice-to-haves, Ward believes. “At the moment, we don’t have the luxury of in-person, face-to-face meetings, so all talent acquisition professionals have to get comfortable with the technology available to do their jobs,” she said.

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