How to Stay Ahead of Challenges to Virtual Recruitment

Mar 11, 2021

In response to the lockdown measures of 2020, virtual recruitment went from “nice to have” to “need to have” seemingly overnight. As talent teams use innovative recruitment software to transform the ad hoc solutions of 2020 into long-term strategies for the future, they are paying particular attention to virtual recruitment for several reasons:

  • Work-from-home arrangements are expected to continue for some time, with hiring managers predicting that “26.7 percent of the workforce will [still] be fully remote” at the end of 2021 1 and flexible remote policies on the table for 57 percent of employers even after the pandemic ends. 2
  • A significant number of people apply for positions outside their geographic areas (for example, during the fall of 2020, “more than a quarter of all applications submitted through iCIMS’ platform were from out-of-state candidates”3 ), which limits the use of in-person interactions during the hiring process.
  • More and more companies are embracing the use of communication tools (such as video conferencing) that facilitate teamwork and collaboration among geographically dispersed colleagues. In fact, over two-thirds of the executives interviewed for one recent survey believe that “video conferencing delivers many of the benefits of being face-to-face.”4

In light of these and other similar trends, now is the perfect time for HR to pause, reflect, and strategize on what’s next for virtual recruitment.Considering how successfully the HR industry collectively rose to the challenge of quickly adapting a process that depends on human interaction to one that works in a virtual environment, there is no doubt that HR can achieve much more in this area when it has more time to plan. By understanding and anticipating areas of opportunity, HR can stay ahead of challenges related to virtual recruitment and successfully develop and implement effective virtual hiring practices.

CHALLENGE: It’s tough to stay compliant when business and legal requirements vary from state to state (or country to country).
SOLUTION: Implement one system for viewing robust analytics from multiple recruitment tools.
The key to quickly and efficiently compiling reports to meet widely differing requirements is to access information from across the entire HR tech stack. A platform that integrates all of the organization’s recruitment software solutions (such as tools for video interviewing and onboarding) provides transparency into the full talent life cycle, thus yielding flexible and straightforward reporting.

CHALLENGE: Social distancing makes it more challenging to engage candidates who have higher expectations for virtual interactions.
SOLUTION: Secure high-performing hires by using engaging and scalable outreach throughout the hiring process.
To create high-touch experiences, most modern career sites now have recruitment chatbots, smart applications that automatically respond to FAQs in order to keep curious career-site visitors informed and interested. Allowing candidates to self-schedule interviews and using text messages for communication with potential hires can also help companies meet modern expectations for engagement. By freeing up recruiter time earlier in the hiring process, organizations not only reach more talent with no added effort but also gain more time for meaningful relationship-building.

CHALLENGE: Without in-person validation, the dreaded “application black hole” feels even more isolating.
SOLUTION: Check in regularly with candidates (but use methods that don’t incur extra work on the recruiter’s end).
The speed of an organization’s outreach can make the difference between an anxious applicant and a promising prospect. Timely responses are especially important when different time zones (and related communication delays) are involved. Text-based recruitment software is one great solution that allows recruiters to automate updates and easily send reminders and answer questions. This responsiveness shows candidates that companies value their time and therefore increases applicants’ engagement.

CHALLENGE: The lack of in-person meetings makes it harder for recruiters to screen for emerging (and important) skillsets.
SOLUTION: Use video to get to know applicants.
The past year has forced everyone to develop new soft skills, especially in areas such as social influence, resilience, active learning, and stress tolerance—all of which can be considered when making a new hire. Each role has certain baseline of requirements, but employers also want to know how a new hire’s abilities complement the skills their prospective team already has. With modern functionality that makes it easier to create a more structured interview process, improve feedback and reporting, and operate within an organization’s ATS workflow, video interviews can play a crucial role in obtaining vital information about candidates.

CHALLENGE: When they can’t experience a company’s culture in person, candidates struggle to know if it is a good fit for them.
SOLUTION: Use video to show off the organization.
Video is useful not just for helping organizations assess candidates but also for helping candidates assess organizations. For example, live conversations with a diverse panel of current staff during the screening process can help applicants see multiple aspects of the company; prerecorded employee profiles posted on the organization’s career site can also fill that function.

CHALLENGE: Poorly timed offer letters can cause companies to miss out on talent in competitive markets.
SOLUTION: Create a formalized offer process that kicks off as soon as a verbal offer is made. Automated offer management gives companies a competitive edge and enables them to maintain the personalized feel of their recruitment and hiring. A library of preapproved language (with location-specific terms and clauses) and e-signature capability can streamline the offer process and increase a company’s chance of getting a yes from a desirable candidate.

With social distancing still the current norm and remote work predicted to remain widespread in the postpandemic workplace, companies have no choice but to innovate new recruitment strategies. Thanks to new technologies, virtual recruitment is one very powerful option for meeting that need. It does bring some interesting challenges to the table—but nothing that recruiters armed with careful planning can’t handle.

1 Adam Ozimek. 2020. “Economist Report: Future Workforce.” Upwork website, December,

2 Hired. 2020. “State of Remote Work Report: Unlocking Opportunity.” Hired website, April 28,

3 iCIMS Insights. 2020. “Monthly Snapshot Report.” iCIMS website, December,

3 Insights Team. 2020. “Video Meetings: The Default Setting For Business Communications.” Forbesonline, January 8,

Written by:  iCIMS

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