10 Virtual Recruitment Strategies for Modern HR Professionals

10 Virtual Recruitment Strategies for Modern HR Professionals

Rather than manually reviewing paper applications and scheduling in-person interviews, many organizations now complete most or all steps of the recruitment process online. This approach helps companies decrease total time to hire and reduce recruitment costs, among other benefits, by not requiring hiring teams and candidates to meet in person to complete hiring steps.

While virtual recruiting offers many advantages, thoughtful strategies are essential to ensure candidates stay engaged throughout the process and hiring teams get to know prospective team members in the absence of in-person interactions.  

Consider enlisting the support of a skilled independent recruitment professional if you have an immediate need to enhance your virtual recruitment efforts. Through Project Catalog™, you can search for fixed-priced projects and one-on-one consultations based on your specific recruitment needs and get started right away. Browse available talent acquisition and recruiting projects today.

Top virtual recruitment strategies:

  1. Develop compelling online employer branding
  2. Create videos for job postings and employer branding
  3. Leverage social media for talent acquisition
  4. Build a talent pool through online networking
  5. Create engaging virtual job fairs and events
  6. Focus on mobile-friendly recruitment processes
  7. Utilize AI and automation in recruitment
  8. Develop a robust virtual interviewing process
  9. Embrace data-driven recruitment strategies
  10. Support virtual onboarding experiences

1. Develop compelling online employer branding

Building a strong online presence and compelling employer branding can help your organization attract qualified applicants for your open roles. Your employer brand is the overall perception prospective candidates have of what it’s like to work for your organization.

Developing a robust employer branding strategy that positions your company as an employer of choice can help you build a positive online reputation among both passive and active job seekers.

Steps to incorporate into your employer branding strategy include:

  • Understanding your target candidate audience, including their demographics, preferences, and motivations
  • Crafting an engaging employee value proposition (EVP), which is a clear summary of what your company has to offer workers in terms of compensation, benefits, and opportunities
  • Defining your organization's vision, mission statement, and core values
  • Highlighting all relevant employer branding and company culture messaging on your company careers page and in job posts
  • Creating employment branding-specific content, including blog posts, team member testimonials, videos, and recruitment brochures
  • Maintaining a consistent employer brand across all channels, including your company website, job posts, social media pages, and recruitment channels
  • Identifying and promoting career paths and talent development opportunities so the best talent can picture joining your team for the long term

2. Create videos for job postings and employer branding

As you focus on developing a compelling online employer brand, one way to drive engagement among qualified talent is creating and promoting employer branding videos. With virtual recruitment, candidates likely don’t have the opportunity to see your workplace firsthand. Videos can help bring your employment branding and work environment to life.

As prospective candidates scroll through job listings and social media feeds, a simple text post may get overlooked in a crowded feed. However, video can capture individuals’ attention and entice them to stop scrolling. In fact, a survey of 1,800 consumers conducted by Sprout Social found that 66% of respondents believe short-form video is the most engaging type of social media content.

When creating employer branding videos, strike the right balance between ensuring the video is long enough to get your message across without making the video too lengthy. According to research from Wistia, videos under 60 seconds see the most engagement.  

Some topics to consider for employer branding videos include:

  • Worker testimonials and success stories
  • An office tour
  • A breakdown of your company’s mission and core values
  • Examples of a day in the life of a current team member
  • A highlight reel from a recent company event
  • An overview of how your company and team give back to the community
  • Details about your organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Job search tips
  • A high-level description of your recruitment process

Once you create engaging employer branding videos, share them on your company careers page, in job postings, across social media channels including LinkedIn, Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter), Instagram, and TikTok, and in any candidate email outreach to drive engagement among prospective talent.

3. Leverage social media for talent acquisition

Reaching candidates where they’re searching for open roles is essential to successful recruitment and talent acquisition. According to research from CareerArc, 86% of job seekers surveyed use social media in their job search.

Most recruiting and talent acquisition teams share links to company careers pages and open roles on LinkedIn. However, implementing a more thoughtful social media strategy that goes beyond simply sharing open positions can help an organization’s employer branding stand out from other content in crowded social media feeds.

The following tips can help your team make the most of social media recruitment efforts:

  • Define your target audience, including demographics, job preferences, and interests of your ideal candidates to tailor your content
  • Ensure your company profiles and pages are updated with your latest employer brand messaging
  • Use high-quality images, engaging wording, and relevant keywords on your profiles and in social media posts to attract qualified talent
  • Expand your reach beyond LinkedIn by sharing your recruitment content on other social media channels such as Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter), Instagram, and TikTok
  • Diversify your content beyond job posts by sharing content such as worker testimonials, blog posts, recent award wins, and other company news
  • Follow social media best practices and guidelines. (For example, most X posts are fewer than the one-time 280-character limit. TikTok videos can be as long as 10 minutes, but most are less than 30 seconds)
  • Vary the format of your posts by including written content, images, infographics, slideshows, GIFs, and videos
  • Research and leverage relevant hashtags to reach your target candidate audience
  • Consider partnering with social media influencers to create content for your pages
  • Actively engage with your audience by responding to messages and questions
  • Invest in paid social media advertising to target workers with the skills and experience you need for open roles
  • Measure the success of your social media recruitment strategy over time and identify areas for improvement

If your recruitment team is just getting started with promoting your open roles on social media or are looking to improve your strategy, consider partnering with an independent social media specialist, who can share best practices and leverage the most effective channels to engage qualified talent.

4. Build a talent pool through online networking

Once you connect with prospective candidates, nurturing relationships through online networking and other opportunities can help you build a talent pool for future hiring needs. Building a talent pool enables you to keep potential candidates engaged. Maintaining a list or database of qualified talent can also help your team reduce hiring time and costs the next time you have a skill gap or open role.

Your talent pool or community may include individuals who applied to previous open roles, job seekers who attended recruitment events, and prospective workers who have reached out to your company on social media.

Some ways to build a talent pool and keep prospective candidates engaged include:

  • Collecting details about past candidates and prospective talent and centralizing information in an applicant tracking system (ATS) or similar platform
  • Including an option to join your talent network or community on your company careers page
  • Promoting your talent community in social media posts and at hiring events
  • Hosting virtual events and networking sessions to get to know potential team members
  • Sending newsletters and other updates to your talent pool featuring company highlights such as workplace awards, team member spotlights, open roles, and upcoming recruitment events
  • Leveraging data from your applicant tracking system or talent sourcing tool to match individuals in your talent pool with opportunities that align with their skills and experience
  • Creating an engaging, respectful candidate experience so prospective workers have a positive view of your company and are willing to consider future roles or projects

5. Create engaging virtual job fairs and events

Virtual job fairs and recruitment events are a cost-effective way to reach and engage potential candidates. Additionally, as more organizations have embraced distributed teams — with workers across the country or around the world — virtual recruiting events can help you connect with talent who may not be in close proximity to attend an event at your workplace.

Widely ranging options are available to execute successful virtual career fairs. Some colleges or other educational institutions host recruitment events and networking sessions and invite multiple employers to attend through a virtual event platform. Similar events may be hosted by an association or networking group for a specific industry or job function.

In the absence of events your team can attend as an exhibiting employer, your organization can also host a virtual job fair of your own to encourage potential candidates to learn more about opportunities at your company.  

Consider the following tips to help your team create and host an engaging virtual job fair:

  • Identify which team members will be involved in the job fair, including hiring managers and your recruitment and talent acquisition team, among others
  • Determine a date, time, and agenda for the virtual job fair
  • Create a landing page for candidates to register
  • Identify which video conferencing software or virtual event hosting platform you’ll use for the event
  • Include a high-level agenda on the registration page so registrants know what to expect
  • Promote the event with social media, on your careers page, through candidate email correspondence, and on other channels
  • Complete a test run before the event to ensure technology works effectively
  • Begin the event by introducing attendees from your team and sharing an overview about your organization, core values, mission, vision, and job opportunities
  • Highlight team member success stories during the presentation or invite team members to share testimonials firsthand
  • Set up virtual breakout rooms using your virtual event or video conferencing software, enabling attendees to complete quick informational interviews with your talent acquisition and recruiting team
  • Consider recording some sessions to share with registrants who couldn’t attend and other members of your talent network
  • Send follow-up emails to attendees, including information about any next steps in the hiring process
  • Request feedback from attendees to identify improvements for future virtual job fairs

6. Focus on mobile-friendly recruitment processes

Supporting mobile-friendly recruitment processes can help organizations attract and convert more applicants and drive candidate engagement. According to research from Appcast, nearly 70% of job applications were completed on mobile devices in 2022. If your organization doesn’t support mobile-friendly recruitment processes, you risk turning away qualified talent.

Here are some ways your organization can make your application and recruitment process more mobile-friendly:

  • Ensure your careers page and company website as a whole are mobile-friendly
  • Write concise job descriptions that are easy to scan on mobile devices
  • Streamline the number of fields required to complete a job application
  • Provide options to upload a resume or cover letter and add links to professional portfolios or profiles, rather than manually typing all application details
  • Include QR codes in job advertisements to encourage applicants to apply on the go
  • Use mobile-friendly communication channels, such as candidate text messaging and mobile-responsive email templates
  • Automate candidate text messaging by using an AI-powered recruiting assistant
  • Leverage a mobile-friendly interview scheduling tool
  • Distribute user-friendly talent assessments that can be completed on mobile devices

7. Utilize AI and automation in recruitment

One of the benefits of virtual recruitment across multiple talent sourcing channels is that organizations often receive a high volume of applications for open roles. However, not all individuals are qualified. Reviewing each application and completing manual recruiting steps can be time-consuming. The resulting sluggish process can lead to a lengthy hiring timeline and candidate disengagement.

To support a more efficient recruitment process and keep candidates engaged, consider using AI recruiting tools and automation.

A survey of 1,068 HR professionals conducted by Tidio found that nearly 67% of respondents believe using AI has a positive impact on the recruitment process. However, an important thing to remember is that a human element is always important in recruitment. While AI-powered recruiting can streamline steps in the process, recruitment or talent acquisition team members should also take the time to get to know top candidates and make the final hiring decisions.  

AI tools and automation offer many benefits to the recruitment process, including:

  • Automating initial resume screening and parsing
  • Matching qualified candidates to the right open positions based on their skills and experience
  • Initiating candidate outreach via text message, email, or chatbot
  • Reaching a greater number of qualified candidates using AI-powered talent sourcing tools
  • Administering and scoring automated talent assessments
  • Enabling recruiters to spend more time directly interacting with candidates
  • Reducing total time to hire by automating routine recruitment tasks
  • Driving candidate engagement by quickly moving forward with the hiring process
  • Minimizing conscious and unconscious biases during the hiring process
  • Facilitating reference and background checks for final candidates
  • Leveraging data-driven analytics to improve the recruitment process over time

8. Develop a robust virtual interviewing process

The interview stage is one of the most important parts of any recruitment process. This step enables organizations to get to know candidates on a more personal level, as well as learn about their skills and experience in more detail.

The typical interview process includes a few steps, such as an initial screen with the talent acquisition manager or team. Candidates passing this screening have a conversation with the hiring manager for the specific role and peer interviews with existing team members. For leadership and other more senior roles, additional interview steps might be required along the way.

While some aspects of the interview process are the same whether in person or virtual, understanding how to effectively conduct remote interviews is important.

Steps your team can take to conduct effective virtual interviews include:

  • Leveraging a talent scorecard to collaborate with other interviewers, centralize all feedback, and evaluate candidates on a standardized scale
  • Investing in video conferencing technology to interact with interviewees face-to-face
  • Using AI-powered video analysis tools to conduct and evaluate candidate responses to preset questions
  • Checking your internet connection before each interview
  • Sharing your screen to highlight visual content about the role or your organization
  • Encouraging prospective candidates to share their screen if they have a presentation or portfolio examples to talk through

If you’re considering engaging independent talent for a short-term project, you likely won’t need as extensive an interview process as you do for a full-time, in-house worker; instead, the process may require one or two brief conversations. Upwork’s built-in collaboration tools help you conduct seamless interviews via an Upwork video or voice call, Zoom meeting, or internet phone call.

9. Embrace data-driven recruitment strategies

Continually measuring the effectiveness of recruitment strategies can help your organization improve online recruitment efforts over time and more effectively attract and engage top talent while reducing hiring costs. By proactively tracking recruitment metrics and insights, your team can make data-driven decisions, such as identifying and resolving bottlenecks in the hiring process and investing more in job boards and other candidate sourcing channels that lead to qualified hires.

Many modern recruitment tools include capabilities to track critical recruitment data, highlight insights, and identify areas for improvement. Recruitment tools with integrated data analytics include applicant tracking systems, recruitment software, talent management software, hiring platforms, and human resource information systems.

Embracing data-driven recruitment strategies can benefit organizations in many ways, including:

  • More total applicants and qualified applicants
  • Decreased cost per hire
  • Lower candidate drop-off rate
  • Less time spent in each hiring step
  • Improved candidate engagement and satisfaction
  • Faster hiring time
  • Increased offer acceptance rate
  • Better quality of hires
  • Higher worker engagement and retention rate

10. Support virtual onboarding experiences

After each new team member accepts an offer, an effective onboarding process is critical to ensuring workers have a positive first impression of your organization and a foundation for success. The remote onboarding process helps new hires quickly feel a sense of belonging, understand their role, and start driving positive outcomes for the business.

According to a survey of 1,002 employed Americans conducted by Paychex, 60% of remote workers surveyed felt disoriented following their most recent onboarding experience, compared to 51% of on-site workers. Additionally, 52% felt devalued following onboarding, compared to 36% of on-site workers.

Successful onboarding requires providing workers with the tools, resources, and information needed to get started in their roles or on projects. Equally as important is making new workers feel welcomed and supported — especially in a virtual setting where individuals have limited opportunities to ask follow-up questions or interact with team members in person.

While a standardized virtual onboarding process can drive efficiencies, consider leaving room to adapt onboarding steps based on each worker and their role — such as in-house team members versus independent professionals or individuals from different teams across your organization.

Onboarding steps may include:

  • Completing virtual paperwork
  • Gaining access to company systems and receiving equipment from IT (if applicable)
  • Joining scheduled ramp-up sessions
  • Taking time for self-guided learning using available onboarding and other company resources
  • Completing initial assignments
  • Sending a virtual introduction to the team via email or a company messaging platform
  • Attending meet-and-greets with team members and individuals across departments
  • Scheduling recurring, informal meetings with an assigned onboarding buddy to help acclimate to the organization  

Recruit virtual talent with Upwork

With the right virtual recruitment strategies in place, your organization can more efficiently reach, attract, and engage qualified talent with the skills you need to drive positive business outcomes.

If you’re looking for additional support with your virtual recruitment efforts, consider engaging a skilled independent recruitment specialist on Upwork. Independent recruiting professionals apply their expertise to help your team develop compelling employer branding, promote open roles, conduct effective interviews, and make data-driven decisions throughout the recruitment process.  

Upwork helps make the virtual recruitment process seamless and can help you engage specialized talent with in-demand skills. Through Talent Marketplace™, access independent professionals with more than 10,000 skills across specialties that include development, design, copywriting, artificial intelligence, accounting, and more.

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Author Spotlight

10 Virtual Recruitment Strategies for Modern HR Professionals
Beth Kempton
Content Writer

Beth Kempton is a B2B writer with a passion for storytelling and more than a decade of content marketing experience. She specializes in writing engaging long-form content, including blog posts, thought leadership pieces, SEO articles, case studies, ebooks and guides, for HR technology and B2B SaaS companies. In her free time, you can find Beth reading or running.

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