The abrupt shift to working virtually has presented employees everywhere with significant challenges across organizational strategy, communications, logistics and process. For talent acquisition—a profession rooted in people and connection—the need to rely exclusively on virtual methods to recruit candidates can be a particularly difficult transition. However, our current situation also presents TA teams with an opportunity to enhance their capabilities and, thereby, realize long-term success as virtual recruiting becomes far more commonplace in the future.
Whether you’re a college recruiter working to attract Gen Z talent for internships and early-career roles or you’re trying to manage high-volume hiring needs, virtual recruiting events have become an organization’s most viable talent acquisition strategy. And, while there are distinct differences between in-person and virtual experiences, many of the best practices for onsite events are extremely relevant to the virtual world. This includes making sure your recruiting team doesn’t “wing it” on event day, as well as clearly defining and planning your post-event follow-up activities well in advance.
Yet for those who are new to virtual recruiting and struggling with how best to move to an online environment, there are several practices to consider for more effective outcomes. Key among them:
• Leverage automation throughout the process. Significant manpower is needed to plan and execute events under normal circumstances, so given the additional pressures that teams are grappling with due to COVID-19 impacts, look to automation to take on the heavy lifting wherever you can. For example, automated notifications and reminders should be a standard feature of any virtual recruiting event, as they’ll help boost attendance, especially when calendar functionality is integrated. In fact, many candidates will be expecting to receive these communications from you based on their prior webinar and online meeting experiences, so test this functionality regularly and review what the communications look like to make sure there are no bugs or issues that need to be fixed.
Perhaps you’re planning a virtual recruiting event that includes a series of one-on-one meetings with top candidates and hiring managers. Offer candidates access to self-scheduling functionality as this can eliminate the delays that result due to the back-and-forth nature of email communications. Or, once you’ve identified the strongest candidates among your pool of virtual recruiting event attendees, let them self-schedule a one-on-one phone interview at their convenience to keep the hiring process moving forward.
• Pre-screen attendees to gather important candidate information prior to the virtual recruiting event. Moving candidates through the hiring process quickly is just as important today as it was before the global pandemic as you’ll want top candidates to feel confident that your organization is stable and committed to hiring talent. Pre-screening tools allow you to identify the most qualified, interested and available attendees before the actual virtual recruiting event so that you can immediately prioritize A-players for follow-up activities and avoid any unnecessary delays in post-event outreach that might negatively impact your hiring results.
• Enlist the aid of your best ambassadors. Your current employees will be an invaluable source of support right now, so use them to their full potential. They likely know high-quality talent in their network or circle of friends, and those prospective candidates will find the opinions of friends and connections highly credible. Your employees can help convince these referred candidates to attend a virtual recruiting event and, ultimately, accept an offer. Make it simple for employees to refer, especially as many may be working overtime and trying to manage the effects of the crisis on their own lives. If your existing applicant tracking system allows, create email templates for ongoing communications with employees about upcoming virtual events that they can share with their networks. You should also include employees in your virtual recruiting event, as they can provide a window into your culture by sharing their perspectives regarding what they enjoy most about working at your organization.
Finally, don’t forget to make the most out of every connection. Given the drastic changes taking place in the labor market, the odds are good that you will connect with more exceptional talent than you have available roles. Have a game plan—ideally one that involves Talent CRM software—for how you will continue to nurture and engage these candidates after the event so that you can recruit them as soon as a relevant job becomes available.
Want more tips and strategies for effective virtual recruiting events? Download our GR8 Guide to Virtual Recruiting Event Management and get all 10 best practices today.
If you’re looking for tools to market and manage your next virtual hiring event, learn more about GR8 People’s free solution—available to any talent acquisition team in need of support due to COVID-19 hiring impacts.