Since the beginning of the pandemic, changes to the way we work have been seismic. And none has had more impact on the everyday life of nonessential workers than the move to remote work.

Many industries that balked at the idea of working remotely had to adapt fast. And now, it looks like the work from home seachange is going to stick around — and with good reason. 

With a bit of adapting, remote recruiting can be as effective as traditional recruiting — if not more. And, according to a recent survey from Jobvite, if you’re not remote recruiting, you’re behind the times — and behind 84% of recruiters. 

So, what does it take for your staffing firm to thrive? Read on for some tips on creating a productive virtual recruiting environment.

1. Define and communicate your expectations

Without facial expressions, body language, and even chance encounters at the water cooler, misalignment and miscommunication can sneak up on you. So, it’s crucial you define any new expectations for remote work — and then overcommunicate them to your team.

Here are a few questions to ask when thinking about how to organize your remote team:

  • How will your team communicate?
  • Will you be asynchronous or keep defined hours?
  • How quickly do you expect the team to respond to internal communication?
  • What tool(s) will you use to hold meetings, chat, share files, etc.?
  • How will you accommodate employees with children at home, connectivity issues, and other interruptions to the workday?

Be sure to open these questions up to your team to get their feedback and input. 

Once you have a basic idea of how you want everyone to operate, communicate this information to your team. Creating multiple avenues to access these guidelines will help them stick.

  • Hold a virtual roundtable to discuss the remote work expectations
  • Create a company wiki, shared document, or faq page with answers to important questions and work from home policies
  • Send periodic reminders about the shared site to keep it top of mind
  • Check in during one-on-ones to see how the new expectations are working on the ground 

You want to be clear on your expectations, but don’t be afraid to iterate, experiment, and adapt. Remote culture can change as rapidly as technology does, so expect things to be a bit more fluid than they were in the office.

2. Get creative on how to preserve your company culture

In staffing, your company culture is often one of your key differentiators. You already created your culture by putting the right people in the right seats. But when those seats are dispersed around town or even around the country, how those people work together can change dramatically. 

So, get creative on how you’ll uphold your company’s values and culture now that you’re remote. This will help your team feel continuity as they transition to a different way of working. It will also ensure that your candidate experience remains consistent — or even improves.

Sejal Shah, CEO of TotalMed Staffing, recommends creating remote versions of familiar cultural touchstones:

We’ve tried to tell managers to keep the same cadence. So, let’s say you have a morning huddle — still do your morning huddle. Have people keep their cameras on so that they’re engaged… We’ve empowered departments to do a social hour. Consider it like a happy hour, and you can play different types of games online via Zoom with each other, get to know each other.

Mullady Voelker, President of GIFTED Healthcare, talks about recreating the kind of random moments of connection that can help your team feel supported:

Brene Brown calls them “sliding door moments” that build trust. It’s not a big, grand thing that you do for people. It’s the smaller moments when you don’t walk past that office door. So, how do you create those sliding door moments virtually? It really is so simple when you think about it. It can be as simple as going down the roster of employees, randomly picking up a phone, calling them and saying, “Hey, just thinking about you. How’s your day? What’s going on?”

3. Get your tech stack in order

In a virtual environment, the right tech stack is critical. It enables you to communicate and collaborate, continue to grow your talent pipeline, and hit your goals. (If your team is still organizing candidates with spreadsheets, it’s time to upgrade your toolset).

To equip your team, you’ll need the following:

  • An ATS or recruiting CRM—Keep track of candidates and generate reports with critical metrics in seconds. 
  • Referral software—Make it easy for your current talent pool to recommend more qualified candidates with an automated referral platform.
  • Interview scheduling tools—Allow candidates to schedule an interview immediately, without the back and forth.
  • Chatbots and automated text messaging—Answer candidates’ frequently asked questions, freeing up your recruiters time to build relationships and make placements. 
  • Video interview software—Evaluate candidates virtually to make up for in-person interviews.

4. Start conducting video interviews

Speaking of video interviews, invite candidates to record one-way video introductions. This will streamline your interview process and allow you to evaluate candidates at your convenience. It can also help candidates feel more comfortable on camera, which is important in the age of Zoom.

If your team is new to video interviews, work together to create standards for screening and evaluation.

5. Find a way to diversify or expand your offerings

There are a lot of things we still don’t know about how COVID-19 will continue to impact the workplace and the workforce. We don’t know the long-term effects it will have on the industries seeing a hiring slowdown. And we’re not certain how long the boom will last for industries seeing a hiring increase.

What we do know is that we need to be flexible and adaptable in the ways we seek talent, qualify candidates, and source new clients when the ways we work continue to change every day.

For your own peace of mind—and for the sake of staying in business—look for ways that your firm can diversify and expand its offerings. 

  • How can your industry-specific expertise apply to different industries that may be experiencing growth? 
  • How can you advise new or existing clients on their career site and promotion strategies? 
  • How can you act as a hiring consultant for small businesses that don’t currently need your services but need a methodology to smooth out their hiring processes?  

Whether your team goes back to the office or not, candidates will still have different expectations when it comes to interviews and remote job placements. Take advantage of this transition period to elevate both your remote recruiting skills and your team’s ability to work remotely.

How is your team handling virtual recruiting? Let us know in the comments below or tweet @StaffReferrals with any of your own tips.