In the span of just a few months, we have had to quickly adjust and transition our strategies to fit today’s new normal of hiring, training and even working in general. Companies have had to swiftly change gears and adopt a digital-only presence, which makes it difficult to effectively recruit and hire new employees despite the increase in hiring demands. Managers and HR recruiters are struggling to apply a hiring and recruiting strategy complementary to the new virtual environment.

While the pandemic has forced a quick transition to remote working, companies have seen many benefits from it. For example, a recent study showed remote employees have reported higher job satisfaction, leading to a decrease in employee attrition by 50%. Remote workers also make 13.5% more calls than in-office employees, which equates to an additional full day of work every week. Companies now realize that remote work can be beneficial to company performance and culture and will likely remain in effect post-pandemic. To prepare for this, companies need to be equipped to handle business operations on every level, and a good place to start is with digital hiring best practices.

Maintain Company Standards

Virtual meetings are commonly known to have an air of casualness. It is important to maintain professional standards and expectations throughout the online hiring process. Instead of leaning into informality, make a point to mimic in-person practices as much as possible.

Although you should maintain professional standards for candidates, don’t forget this process may be new for your candidates, too. Ensure you are extending the same, if not more, assistance and courtesy for applicants going through the online hiring process as you normally would for in-person interviews. Maintain open communication, share meeting invites and instructions at least two days in advance, offer support in the event of technical or software issues and be as transparent as possible by providing a meeting outline or agenda so candidates know what to expect during the online interview.

Pre-employment assessments are a great way to assist in maintaining company standards and provide an element of normalcy into the virtual hiring process. It is customary for an applicant’s abilities to be evaluated during the interview process; assessments can allow candidates to display their skills and experience regardless of the process being in-person or virtual.

Candidates who feel prepared and supported will feel more comfortable during the process, which will provide an overall more beneficial and positive experience for the hiring team and the applicant. Candidates are looking to their prospective employers to lead them through this new hiring journey. Remember: they are assessing you just as much as you are assessing them.

Be Prepared

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been using virtual communication platforms for three days or three months, technical issues can always occur, and you should be prepared. Before the meeting, provide an alternate method of communication, such as exchanging phone numbers, in the event of technology failure.

As a hiring manager or recruiter, system failures may not be ideal during the online hiring process, but the silver lining is that it can be a great chance to evaluate the applicant’s problem-solving skills. Does the candidate become nervous or anxious when your communication platform glitches, or do they stay calm and collected? Do they provide ways to solve the issue, or do they ignore it? Analyzing how a potential hire handles unpredictable and uncomfortable professional situations can tell you how they will handle similar pressures at your company.

Be Perceptive to Details

A candidate’s personality and level of professionalism can be displayed in the major and minor details they provide or show during the virtual hiring process. Preparation is a notable indicator of a professional and dedicated candidate. Although interruptions are more likely to occur during this virtual process, applicants should conduct themselves the same as they would in an in-person interview. This includes solving any technical issues prior to the meeting, being on time, being dressed appropriately and interviewing from an uninterrupted space.

Evaluating a candidate’s personality is no easy feat when conducting an online interview; however, pay attention to mannerisms that can deliver valuable insight into what they are feeling or thinking. Nonverbal communication, such as body language, eye contact, facial expressions and gestures can be helpful in deciding whether they would be a good fit for the role at your company.

While there is so much uncertainty behind the remote work timeline, it’s probable that remote hiring will be sticking around for the foreseeable future. Companies that prepare for this shift now will be ready to welcome great candidates to their virtual hiring process.