The most impactful workforce trend to come out of the pandemic is the ubiquitousness and normalization of remote work, with virtual recruitment strategies and tactics becoming increasingly important to support this trend, regardless of the type of candidate – from entry-level to senior leadership.
Related: Recruiting, retention and management: Adapting strategies for the Gen Z workforce
As more companies make the transition to permanent remote or hybrid models, competition for talent will become increasingly difficult within traditional talent pools. Talent acquisition teams will instead need to double down on recruitment marketing, clearly position their employer brand, and bolster recruiting tactics and technologies to ensure they’re reaching candidates of all ages and experience levels for the most well-rounded and successful workforce possible.
Increasing access to virtual recruiting
A recent survey commissioned by Brazen found that 96% of recruiters plan to continue to use virtual recruiting strategies in the future, underscoring the undeniable benefits that virtual recruiting brings to the recruiting process. The continued use of virtual recruiting technologies also highlights the preferences of job seekers, especially entry-level job seekers who use these technologies instinctually.
In fact, Brazen’s survey found that younger generations (Gen Z and millennials) were three times more likely to have used a virtual recruiting technology than mid- to senior-level professionals in the past year – indicating an unequal distribution of entry-level jobseekers leveraging virtual recruiting solutions versus older, more experienced jobseekers. Despite this, employers still need to be providing virtual options for candidates if they want to compete for top talent.
Generational candidate engagement
Unsurprisingly, younger generations have adopted virtual recruitment technologies quickly and have flocked to virtual career fairs as universities, colleges and campus recruitment teams quickly transitioned to all virtual recruiting last spring and fall. Virtual recruiting for mid-level and senior-level hires is right on the heels of this younger generation.
Hiring for a more experienced role requires a mix of technology, relationship building, employer branding, and recruitment marketing. Building relationships with candidates must start well before the time a job requisition is open. In many cases, it must start months or even years in advance. The best recruiters are the ones who are building these relationships with candidates and building trust early on, without the expectation to hire.
This can be done through a handful of strategies but some of the more common and successful are offering candidates advice on how to interview, how to create a great resume, or how to build a compelling LinkedIn profile. Additionally, it may mean leveraging virtual networking technology to network with candidates and have career conversations. This value that recruiters can offer to their network of connections will pay dividends down the road.
Furthermore, recruiters should implement a recruitment marketing strategy to stay engaged with their candidates. Pulling a page from the marketing playbook, this likely includes nurture emails, periodic check-ins, and creating compelling video content featuring current employees. If the trust is built early on and the relationship evolves and grows over time, the likelihood that a candidate is willing to listen to new job opportunities down the road will only increase as well.
Extending from this is creating and positioning the employer brand. Employers must create a culture and an environment that retains current employees and attracts new ones. Creating a strong employer brand goes beyond the realm of just talent acquisition, but without it, experienced candidates will be reluctant to engage with your recruiting team, regardless of the upfront work you’ve done to build relationships with them in the past.
Lastly, recruiting teams must have a strong platform strategy in place in order to support the nurturing, recruitment marketing, and employer branding strategies mentioned above. And virtual recruiting event technologies are at the heart of this mix. Brazen’s survey of talent acquisition professionals found that a majority (72%) said the time to hire with virtual events is the same or faster compared to in-person events. Most survey respondents (84%) said the quality of candidates they reach with virtual recruiting is the same or better than with traditional recruiting.
Virtual recruiting also helps employers build relationships with candidates on par with in-person recruiting: 66% of those surveyed said their conversations are as good, or better, when compared to in-person interviews. In addition, virtual recruiting reduces unnecessary travel, minimizing companies’ and individuals’ carbon footprints and breaks down barriers to more diverse talent.
By focusing on the different recruiting habits and tactics of more established candidates, talent acquisition teams can reach more diverse candidates where they are. The workforce of the future will undoubtedly operate by leveraging digital systems and recruiting will be no exception. The in-person component of recruiting will come back in time, but the virtual pillar has become the most important for relationship building, reaching diverse candidates and driving an overall successful recruiting strategy.
The aftermath of COVID-19 will usher in a hybrid workforce, a hybrid method of recruiting for talent acquisition teams, and an increased reliance on technology that will reshape the way job seekers engage with career opportunities and recruiters. It’s important that companies are working to engage with diverse candidates of all experience levels and ages to build a diverse and well-rounded workforce and ensure candidates at all levels are benefitting from the same opportunities in the modern workforce.
Ed Barrientos is CEO of Brazen.