Relearning hiring and onboarding skills for virtual recruitment

The ability to build strong relationships forms the backbone of any good recruitment service. Having the opportunity to meet candidates face-to-face is crucial as it helps form a detailed view of their personality, ensuring that their skills base is up to the mark and their character is a match for the company’s culture.

Additionally, face-to-face interaction allows for a smooth and supportive onboarding process, helping new employees to quickly settle into the team.

However, due to COVID-19, HR and recruitment teams have had to re-learn entire processes to serve the virtual world we now live in. From hiring to onboarding, the creation of a company culture that stays alive online and a greater need to look after teams’ mental wellbeing; the landscape has changed dramatically.


Create a positive candidate journey

While virtual hiring offers many positive benefits to both candidates and employers, such as a wider geographical talent pool and faster turnaround times, it will have setbacks. HR managers must work especially hard to ensure a positive candidate experience.

In this online era, more so now than ever, it’s crucial that candidates feel appreciated. From always addressing a candidate personally to continuously expressing gratitude, highlighting the positives of all online interactions and offering constructive feedback, the hiring process should feel positive, even for unsuccessful candidates.


Give new starters a safety blanket

The biggest challenge over the past 12 months for most HR teams has been ensuring seamless cultural fits. While skills and knowledge can be taught, clicking as a team and feeling comfortable in the workplace is innate and something that can’t be forcibly changed. 

Becoming part of an online team isn’t just about receiving the correct training, it’s about feeling like you have support around you for those difficult days. Liaise with your existing team and ask someone to volunteer themselves as a ‘wobble buddy’. A peer who can be a main point of contact for informal chats, tea breaks, mental health check-ins and someone a new employee can share concerns with. This will help new starters feel at ease in their role as well as help to keep a tight-knit company culture alive. 


Develop soft skills

Soft skills, such as communication and empathy, are things we usually do unconsciously throughout every working day. However, as we continue to adapt to a virtual way of working, the need to build upon these skills and apply them more thoughtfully is crucial. If our ability to connect with our colleagues, especially new hires, falls at this hurdle, employers may be at risk of high attrition rates.

Creating an environment of mentorship and guidance, encouraging self-reflection and offering feedback where possible are all great ways to help grow those softer skills and make for a cohesive team.


Make sure no corners are cut

While virtual hiring and onboarding have become favoured by many leadership teams because of ease and speed, proper processes mustn't be missed. Guards must be in place which stop corners from being cut and each new employee’s onboarding should be tailored to their needs, their learning style and their goals.

Welcoming, integration and training must be completed with as much, if not more, depth as they would face-to-face, and new starters’ best interests and wellbeing must always be at the forefront of business leaders’ and senior teams’ minds.

HR and recruitment teams have certainly had a shake up over the past 12 months, with responsibilities becoming much broader than ever before. As businesses move forward, these teams will play an even more defined role in the company’s success and its ability to maintain a strong and stable relationship with its employees from afar.


Dani Osborne is recruitment manager at Cathedral Appointments