Tips for Perfecting Your Virtual Recruitment Process

June 25, 20207min

Hannah Louise Cox is Executive Search Consultant at Douglas Jackson and a Judge at the UK Digital Experience Awards 2020.

Read about Hannah’s experience at last year’s UK DXA.


Times have certainly changed in these last few months and we are living in an unrecognisable world now for sure. However, some industries and businesses are still functioning as normal, and some are even growing.

I have still been hiring during lockdown and have some tops tips and practises to share of how I have been working with business leaders to do this successfully during the lockdown period.

Video calls and conferences have now become a part of everyday life for us all and have certainly been invaluable in the virtual recruitment process. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, the list is almost endless of the technology available to us to facilitate the virtual world that we find ourselves now living in. Rather than meeting face to face, the majority of businesses are now fully au fait with the use of video calls for internal meetings and external meetings. The virtual interview process has become ‘the norm’ during lockdown.

Video introductions from candidates to accompany CV applications have also been utilised. Some businesses have been using one way video applications with huge success. The technology has always been at our fingertips and for many weeks now it has been the best way to stay in touch with others and continue to do business.

However, please do proceed with some caution as some people are still not comfortable using video, and you wouldn’t want to rule out a super star candidate just because they are not completely confident in using this. Remember that video to the extent that we are now using it is still in its infancy. A lot of people are still learning and practising.

In many instances, there can never be a replacement for face to face contact. However, video communication has been an excellent ‘second best’. I have had some processes conclude purely through video and have candidates waiting to start who have never met their new line managers in person and have not yet visited their new office premises.

In these instances, it is quite critical that close contact is maintained after offer between a client and candidate, so that the candidate feels welcome and engaged with the business, enabling the relationship to flourish before the new employment starts.

As great as video is – and clearly it has been and will be moving forward an absolute necessity – we do have to remember that, although outwardly we are communicating with the world, inwardly we are still isolated in our homes, or wherever else we may have been locked down, and so additional contact and care to build and maintain that client and candidate relationship is often very much appreciated.

The likes of Glassdoor and similar platforms give great insight into organisations’ cultures and have been really helpful. It would be a great idea to keep on top of online reviews because potential candidates will be doing their research before applying for a role within your business.

We have seen a much bigger uptake on our online behavioural profiling tool. This is an extremely useful tool for us to establish desired behaviours from the client and assess culture, and then also to match this against the potential candidate’s core behaviours. Cultural fit is exceptionally important and in the absence of onsite meetings, this has proven to be a great solution for us with many benefits.

Some processes have progressed to preferred candidate status virtually and then have had last stages inviting people into office premises social distancing, with hand gels and temperature monitors on doors. With some of the restrictions being lifted now, we can look at mixing and matching video and face to face to suit the needs of a Hiring Manager and wider business.

I absolutely believe that businesses that are willing to take the leap and be confident enough to join the likes of Amazon, who have been hiring virtually for many years, display innovation and forward thinking and this, in turn, will attract a higher quality of candidate, as well as reducing the time to hire significantly. In fact, there are numerous benefits to running virtual processes.

Effective and efficient recruitment and onboarding has been and will be critical moving forward as we move into a world where Customer Experience is quite likely to be even more important than before.

Candidate care and providing a great Candidate Experience is achieved by giving that extra personal touch, and if this has to be done virtually rather than face to face, then we move with the times and adapt accordingly.

Good luck with finding your business’ ‘new normal’, and I definitely recommend that you join other businesses in at least looking at the benefits of running virtual recruitment processes. The opportunities really are endless and this could be where you begin to attract an even better quality of candidate to your business.

Hannah Louise Cox

Hannah Louise Cox

Hannah Louise Cox is an Executive Search Consultant at Douglas Jackson.

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