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Editorial Team
29 Sep 2020



Rise of Virtual Tools for Recruitment During COVID-19

Virtual hiring tools for recruitment are at the forefront amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

In the first quarter of 2020, CVS Health, an American healthcare firm, announced a growth of 8% in comparison to its earnings in the same period in 2019. Both its online sales and in-store purchases witnessed a significant spike, no doubt a direct consequence of the coronavirus outbreak.

The need of the hour was to expand the workforce. The solution was to embark on an extensive hiring drive.

The company needed more employees quickly to support its 200,000-odd workforce that was battling the pandemic on the frontlines. The goal was set at 50,000 new hires.

A whopping 1.3 million applicants responded to the launch of this accelerated recruitment initiative.

Age-old recruiting processes – such as applicant tracking systems (ATS) and talent management platforms – were limited in their offerings, catering to personal candidate interactions only. So, as the world was going digital overnight, the answer was to employ innovative approaches in recruitment.  

More precisely – state-of-the-art virtual HR tools.

This story mirrors that of many organizations across the globe. In fact, a Gartner poll reported that “86% of organizations incorporated new virtual technology to interview candidates due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The scale of the emergency was unthinkable. In a situation where everyone was struggling to stay within the confines of their homes, the enterprises found themselves at an unwanted crossroads.

Virtual recruitment tools are on the rise!

The global outbreak brought economies to a standstill – that’s the first part of the narrative. The impact of COVID-19 is the second. And learning to live with its presence is the unfortunate conclusion.

The realization that the virus wasn’t going anywhere any time soon is possibly the catalyst for bringing about this transformative change in HR technologies.

Modern-day tools allow remote teams to connect and contribute to business continuity.

Why should it be any different for recruitment processes?

Understandably, industries and global teams were forced to reinvent their workforce management processes and adapt to new technologies. With the future uncertain, businesses needed to be flexible and prioritize their budgets to increases outlays on HR tools that could effectively replicate physical hiring practices.

The focal point was to communicate and collaborate efficiently, despite the challenges that were brought about as a result of global lockdown measures.

Tech giants like Google, Zoom and even WhatsApp were the first players that brought their capabilities to the forefront. Video conferencing and virtual meetings platforms were some of the key HR tools that organizations depended on to better facilitate their online recruitment initiatives

With a steep rise in interest, other service providers joined the bandwagon, each showcasing their virtual potential in the best possible light.

Virtual hiring tools are bridging the talent gap

Adapting to new cutting-edge requirements, virtual hiring tools are the way forward.

But the key question is – how do they bridge the talent gap for employers?

  • Amplify talent sources: Every business is fishing in the same talent pool. And the time will soon come when the resources will dry up. Only a massive expansion in the boundaries of talent sources will make a notable difference.

This is where hiring technologies come into play. By combing through social networks, professional groups, communities and forums, resume databases, portfolio sites and job boards, more and more credible candidates are added to the talent pool.

A task which was long-drawn and labor-intensive can now be completed automatically in a shorter period of time. Being data-driven, the margin for errors is minimized, resulting in better talent acquisition.

  • Look beyond the resume: Large-scale campus hiring and job fairs are history. Employers have now shifted the playing field and have actually broadened the horizon.

Sourcing resumes is just one part of the equation. The future is potential-based hiring.

Using data and insights generated via AI-enabled hiring tools and predictive analysis is a great way to manage the talent gap. By looking into active and passive job seekers, it helps expand your reach, widens the talent pool, and streamlines the identification of the right candidates for the roles at hand.

Be it tackling business challenges online or testing technical skills, the purpose is to engage and interact, which goes beyond just looking at a candidate’s resume.

  • Screening, skilling, and selection: Virtual recruitment tools now come equipped with multiple features, tailormade to suit employer needs. Custom-designed screening bots are the first point of contact, programmable to respond to basic candidate questions and source candidate information round the clock.

Candidate skills can also be tested virtually through a series of online assessments. HR virtual tools can be personalized to accommodate specific candidate skills and competencies, which can be remotely protocoled and attempted from anywhere, anytime. Virtual video interviews can progressively assist in candidate evaluations, giving an overall assessment of the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.

The objective here is to identify candidates with adjacent and complementary skills and competencies that can help them excel in their given roles with the hiring organization.

  • Onboarding: The hiring process, even on virtual platforms, can only come to completion with the onboarding of the candidates. Introductions, orientations, training modules, and talent management programs can be delivered conveniently via these digital solutions.

Be it an overview of the company, acquainting them with core values, the vision and mission of the business, future goals, or any other details, everything is directed at optimizing business sustainability. Virtual onboarding is the new frontier that takes the positive interview and selection experience of the candidate further.

Final Thoughts

The current situation demands higher automation and digital operations. This is the ‘new normal’. 

Lauren Smith, vice president in the Gartner HR practice, puts it best. “As external hiring slows for many organizations, and business priorities change, leaders must evaluate different methods of recruiting and hiring.”


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