Smoothing Out the Virtual Recruitment Process

With the coronavirus changing everything, many businesses are looking at permanent alterations to their practices, including recruiting. Much more recruiting is being done online, with in-person or online interviews coming only at the end of a longer online process. This increased reliance on virtual recruiting can help businesses find the right candidates by narrowing the field before interviews begin.

The following ten steps can help smooth out a new virtual recruiting process.

Step one, as part of an improvement to your virtual recruitment process, search for new software that integrates with your existing applicant tracking system (ATS). You should not have to reinvent the wheel. Find software that works with your ATS rather than requiring a new system. If a new system is required, make sure it has the features you need for your new virtual recruitment process. There are a plethora of vendors out there who can help you establish a new virtual recruitment process with the least amount of disruption to your business.

Part of step one is therefore to research vendors and their promises. Find out which vendors sell software that integrates with your existing ATS or can deliver a new turnkey system that integrates new processes. As part of a new virtual recruiting process, you may want to add new tests or job simulations. You may also want to add documentation, such as portfolios, to your ATS. If so, your first step is to upgrade your system, preferably without ditching your existing ATS.

Step two, before making the switch over to the new technology, give it a test run. Work out the kinks before marching real candidates through the process. A thorough test run can identify any weaknesses in the new system before it is put into use. Run test applicants through the system and see how it tracks them.

Step three, consider online tests and virtual job simulations. CVS, for example, has an online recruitment job simulation that runs candidates through six virtual customer interactions as well as stock checking scenarios. Before candidates see an interviewer, they are run through a battery of simulations to see what their responses are. This process eliminates weaker candidates and saves time for interviewers. As part of a virtual recruitment system, your business can create online tests and job simulations that help narrow the field of candidates without human interaction. A vendor can help you set this new process up.

Before taking the plunge, consider what parts of the job being recruited are amenable to virtual tests and simulations. Then create virtual tests for those parts of the job. A simple test, for example, could check for skill at Microsoft Excel.

This step is also part of step one, in which new tests and applicant procedures are added to your existing ATS.

Step four, manage candidate expectations. To relieve candidates of anxiety and to make the process for them smoother, have the recruitment process laid out before they enter it. Have each step be announced and allow for candidates to take a breather before starting the next step. This will allow candidates to follow the process more smoothly, lessening the number who drop out because of a hitch in the system. You do not want candidates to fail simply because they had to answer their phone, for example. For this reason, if a test is timed, announce the timing before it starts. Make the process transparent to the applicant.

Step five, conduct online interviews. Before interviews begin, make sure the camera and microphone are working and that the interview software is working. Many meeting platforms allow for interviews, including Skype and Zoom. Make sure that the platform you choose is working as it should, and then treat the online interview as seriously as an in-person interview. Take notes, and make sure your appearance is professional. Online interviews can be as revealing as in-person interviews, so take the time to set them up properly. COVID-19 has made virtual interviews the norm, so treat them as the new normal and be as personable as you would be in an in-person interview.

Step six, abide by the law. Do not use software or any process that discriminates based on age, disability, sex, marital status, religion, or race. Do not allow these categories to be considered during the hiring process. If your ATS asks about disability, do not allow a positive answer to be eliminated from consideration. Do not eliminate candidates for having too much experience.

Step seven, consider sharing Linkedin profiles. As a way of easing tensions for applicants, have interviewers share Linkedin profiles with applicants before interviews. This will allow applicants to get to know their interviewers before the interview takes place. This puts applicants on an even footing with interviewers.

Step eight, consider including supplemental materials in the virtual application process. This can include portfolios, cover letters, and specialized material suited to the job. This material can be reviewed virtually, eliminating candidates before the interview step. Add this to step one as a new feature of your virtual recruiting process.

Step nine, consider nonlocal applicants. Since virtual recruiting is unlimited in scope, consider nonlocal candidates. If a job can be done remotely, a nonlocal candidate is as good as a local one. If a job is tied to a location, a nonlocal candidate may be able to move to the job.

Step ten, integrate these steps into your first step, which is to consider new software for your virtual recruiting process. Review the entire new virtual recruiting process and take steps to implement it as part of your existing ATS, if possible. If a new ATS is required, make sure it integrates all the new steps of your virtual recruiting process.


As COVID-19 has changed the recruitment process, your online recruitment process needs to keep pace. Preferably without changing your existing ATS, consider new ways to expand and enhance your virtual recruitment process, perhaps by including tests and job simulations. Test your new process, and try out your online interviewing software. Before you know it, you will have expanded and improved your virtual recruiting.

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