Performance Communication

Successful Virtual Hiring: Read This Before You Scrap Your Old Processes

Successful Virtual Hiring: Read This Before You Scrap Your Old Processes

Many businesses are in the position of having to replace employees who left during shut downs and aren’t coming back, while some whose businesses have grown during Covid-19 are adding staff to meet the needs of their customers. In the past few weeks, several new and existing clients have reached out to me asking for help in creating new processes for hiring and they were thinking they would have to start from scratch.

The bottom line is, your hiring process doesn’t have to change (unless it was bad  in the first place). What you’ll have to change are the tools you’re using to implement that process.

Many of the steps you used in your hiring process will remain the same. You still need to:

  • Review and update job descriptions.
  • Have a clear picture of the ideal applicant.
  • Identify the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities necessary to be successful in the position.
  • Identify “Fit Factors” to successfully work within your organization.
  • Write honest, but compelling job ads.
  • Ensure you’re not using interview questions that are a waste of time (Like, “What are your greatest strengths? Weaknesses? Where do you want to be in 5 years?”)
  • Write specific, behavior-based questions that accurately assess the candidate’s ability to be successful in the position.
  • Create “Benchmark Response Criteria” to rate candidates’ responses.
  • Have a plan for how you’ll open, conduct, and close the interview.
  • Decide who is going to be on your interview panel.
  • And more!

What HAS changed is how you’ll do many of the steps above, especially when it comes to your first contact with candidates through the interview process, so here are some tips.

Start with a good, old-fashioned phone screening interview. 

A phone interview is a great chance to screen in the applicants who you want to spend more time getting to know because they’re a great fit for the position. You can learn a LOT by talking on the phone to someone—not only from their answers to your questions, but their vocal qualities, which will tell you a lot about their level of interest and enthusiasm. Even little things like preparing for the call and whether they’ve taken the time to be in a quiet place to conduct the interview can let you know a lot about their thinking process.

Why not a video call you ask? Because everyone knows how the phone works AND not seeing the other person lets both you and the candidate ease into the process. We’ll save the video call for those who are viable candidates who make it to the next round.

Get comfortable with (and practice using) your video conferencing technology.

Before you start jumping into Microsoft Teams, Facebook Messenger Rooms or Zoom virtual meetings with your interview panel and candidates, be sure to take the time to get comfortable with the technology and how all the features work AND be sure to choose the technology that’s going to be the most stable and reliable for your needs. Remember too if you’re using the free version of Zoom for example, that your meeting length will be limited to 40 minutes and you WON’T be able to have your whole team on the call—you’ll be limited to a 1-on-1 meeting—so be sure to know the features and limitations of your plan for any of these technologies before you get started.

Have a plan to virtually onboard your new hire if you’re not going to be working live/face-to-face. 

Just like you should have a 90-day to 6-month onboarding process for an employee who is coming to work physically in your business alongside you and your staff, you still need a plan to onboard employees who will be working remotely. For example, your employee’s first day on the job is critical—the same as it is when working in person. Be sure they feel welcome, get the chance to meet the team, and have a clear orientation in the first few days of the organization’s mission, vision, values, and processes.

If your organization is larger and the thought of managing this for all new hires alone is daunting, realize you don’t have to be the lead for onboarding. As long as your staff understands your onboarding process, you can have team members take turns acting as mentors for new hires. Those assignments can be based on similarity of job responsibilities to the new hire or can be part of the organizational education process whereby the new hire will work with specific people who are experts in specific aspects of your organization.

Don’t let training for new hires (or your existing staff) go out the window. 

Many of my clients have expressed that they’d originally planned to wait to provide important employee training until everything was “back to normal.” The problem is, some training can’t and shouldn’t wait. Additionally, who knows when things will go back to normal and what the new normal will look like. Take advantage of existing online training and webinar opportunities for your staff. In addition to existing, stand alone training, many companies like mine routinely create customized programs for clients that ensure your organization’s employees get the exact training they need specific to your company’s processes, policies, and requirements.

If you need more information or help with any of these processes, or if you’ve realized after reading this post that your hiring process is missing some steps or needs some help, Let’s Talk! 

Amy Castro, MA, CSP is a leadership and team development expert that works with organizations who want to increase productivity, decrease conflict, and improve service by developing leaders, hiring “right fit” employees to build the right teams for your organization. You can reach her at




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