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The Virtual World of Post-Covid Recruitment

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This article was originally published by Personnel Today. You can view the original article here.

By Ali Hackett

It’s been a delight over the past few weeks to see people enjoying meeting up with relatives and friends again, play and watch sports and go shopping for more than just essentials.

But with recent local Covid-19 flare-ups in cities like Bradford and Barnsley, and a potential second wave coming this winter, I think we’re all aware that the threat hasn’t gone away and that everyone has a responsibility for curbing the spread of the virus. For us in the business community this means we need to continue prioritising ways to facilitate remote working.

Many in the talent acquisition world are already familiar with the advantages of virtual platforms, having spent the past few years experimenting with functions such as live chat, webinars and live video streaming. But the past few months has forced deeper and more widespread adoption of these technologies, as recruiters try to acquire the talent they need while still adhering to social distancing rules.

Many have discovered that by employing the right technology for the right application, it is possible to make this process engaging and satisfying for candidates – often even more so than ‘traditional’ recruiting.

We’ve been exploring ways to use digital tech to enhance recruitment for many years now and have discovered all the joys and pitfalls! Here are three tech platforms you can employ to upgrade the experience for candidates, and the benefits they offer for recruitment;


All together now

Live chat sessions are a really great way to link candidates up – with you, the people they will be working for and with other employees. You can construct online ‘events’ to allow candidates to ask questions about the role and the organisation. This might be an exclusive chat between one candidate and someone in the organisation, or a larger event with a number of candidates and a range of current employees.

We’ve discovered that the latter can be very powerful in raising the confidence of potential recruits. Hearing from peers is very inspiring, and candidates are likely to attach more weight to how they talk about the organisation. Live Chat is also a really useful way to help applicants prepare for the various parts of an assessment, particularly if there are tests that are unique to your business.

You also have the possibility of setting up Live Chats with a particular group of potential candidates to offer them coaching – perhaps helping students work on their interview skills, for example. Or for organisations that are having to pause recruitment at the moment, a Live Chat session with a group of recruits half way through the process could be a good way to keep them interested while decisions are still being made internally.

With these kinds of group sessions you are setting up an instant community which can then be revisited for other events – a great motivator in these socially-distant times.

Don’t forget Live Chat sessions aren’t just about text. A fully customisable platform like ours also offers the ability to share video content, presentations or live stream, allowing you to offer recruits a rich, inspiring experience.


I’m still listening

Chatbots are basically programmable icons attached to your website that can respond to a range of common candidate questions. They can save your team a lot of time by automating the first layer of enquiries from potential candidates but do it in such a way that the tone conveys your organisation’s culture right from the start.

At a time of such uncertainty, candidates appreciate the opportunity to be able to get answers to their questions in their own time – often in the evenings when your team would be unavailable.

Of course, a Chatbot is only as good as the quality of the information that is fed into it, so our job is to help clients to predict frequent enquiries and construct appropriate responses, on-brand. Once you have a Chatbot up and running, this process gets easier as you can regularly update the programming to incorporate new questions.


You’re welcome

Virtual on-boarding is the term we use for the digital platforms that can guide a candidate right through the process that follows being appointed to a job – any legal checks and notice period, through to the first few weeks or months of being a new starter.

Ours is called Timeline, and has been designed to make the whole process simpler and more engaging, both for candidates and recruitment teams. Ultimately, it aims to reduce the risk of people backing out of job offers before they start.

We use a familiar social-style layout to make it feel inviting and interesting for users, and can customise it for a variety of types of recruits whether that is a large volume of graduates, or a select group of senior execs.

Timeline can house a variety of content, including Chatbots to handle those late-night random questions, live chats to put new recruits in touch with their new colleagues and managers, plus video and text content. It can also take care of the admin aspect of requesting documentation.

After their first day on the job, Timeline can help organise workflows, and offer a channel for new employees to give feedback on the recruitment process. In short, virtual on-boarding platforms can manage the whole process of delivering new recruits into their jobs ready to hit the ground running.

There is still a lot of uncertainty about what the next few months will bring, and the extent to which social distancing can be eased. But progressive organisations are already discovering that, far from being a tolerated Plan B, virtual methods of recruitment are actually enhancing the process for both candidates and recruiters.

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