Image by Roman Samborskyi
One year after the onset of the global pandemic, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Economies are opening back up, the vaccine rollout is underway, and companies are finally ready to ramp up hiring again. During the pandemic, hiring managers transformed their processes in surprisingly more efficient ways while providing an improved experience for hiring teams and candidates alike. These leaders are now in a unique position:
They must plan for the future while also embracing what worked during the year that changed it all.
We wanted to dive into these leaders’ minds to understand better the changes and challenges hiring teams have experienced over the past year. So our company, HireVue, surveyed over 1,100 hiring managers across the United States, Australia and the UK. The result? Yes, the pandemic’s impact on the global workforce was severe. However, it also provided valuable learnings and opportunities for hiring teams and job seekers alike. More importantly, we learned the three key priorities hiring managers must keep in mind as they move forward.
Hiring Managers: Embracing Technology’s Rapidly Expanding Role
2020 forced organizations to turn to technology to execute most, if not all, day-to-day operations, from hiring to remote onboarding. Our survey showed that HR tech didn’t just get the job done — it actually improved the hiring experience:
- More than half of respondents (54%) noted that shifting to virtual interviews unexpectedly resulted in a speedier recruitment process
- 41% say it helped them identify the best candidates
- 37% of respondents experienced cost savings when incorporating more technology into their hiring practices
- 36% noticed an increase in the diversity of candidates
- And 35% were able to increase time spent on candidate engagement
The survey also showed that nearly half of the organizations moved solely to virtual interviewing in response to the pandemic. However, looking ahead, 41% of respondents plan to use a combination of in-person and virtual interviews — an additional 23% plan to move solely to video or virtual interviewing. Finally, 14% of hiring companies plan to automate much of the hiring process with AI, chatbots, and text.
The pandemic showed us that the acceleration of technology isn’t slowing down. To thrive, companies must be strategic in their tech implementation. Every aspect of people’s lives has moved either completely digital or to a hybrid model. This means the average candidate has greater expectations around their experience. It’s becoming clear that virtual interviews and new candidate engagement methods like text are here to stay as recruiters implement a digital-first hiring process moving forward.
Which brings us to the top three post-pandemic priorities for hiring managers…
Prioritizing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Building a more diverse, inclusive and equitable workforce was brought to the forefront in 2020, so it’s no shock that 100% of respondents listed the topic of DEI as “extremely” or “very relevant” to them, with one-third ranking it as a top and immediate priority. What’s interesting is that 35% of respondents found diversity to be a benefit of virtual interviewing.
Because of safety concerns around COVID-19, businesses turned to virtual technology to vet and interview candidates. Simultaneously, global office closures forced them to expand their searches to include remote workers in a more permanent capacity. These circumstances led to more diverse hiring decisions and a broader candidate pool. But when COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror, HR leaders will need to consider how technology can continue to be used to build a diverse workforce. They’ll need to continue to learn how best to meet candidates where they are — when they’re available — will be critical. In fact, more than half of interviews through HireVue now occur outside of regular business hours, proving just how limited the candidate pool is when you rely on a strict Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 window.
Using Standardized Assessments to Reduce Bias
Another way to mitigate bias is by using standardized assessments that focus on competencies rather than subjective indicators like resumes. In addition to assessments, chatbots and text capabilities work to remove structural barriers and create channels of communication that are more equitable and engaging for candidates.
Of the respondents with plans to take action on their DEI goals:
- 62% plan to expand their recruiting network by seeking out candidates from nontraditional places
- 55% will partner with organizations that connect underrepresented professionals with internships and jobs
- 53% will recruit from universities with diverse student bodies
- And 30% plan to use structured interviews to minimize unconscious biases within the hiring process
One of the biggest challenges of recruiting for DEI is the need for a quicker recruitment process. Organizations need to be deliberate and diligent in achieving these specific outcomes, which often takes time. With video-based interviewing technology, the process can achieve efficiency while simultaneously mitigating human bias. Just as important, the technology enables the vetting of candidates at a higher volume.
Pivoting Toward Process Efficiencies
COVID-19 has created a unique opportunity and demand for hiring leaders to innovate and rethink the way they hire. Moving forward, they want to automate administrative tasks — like reviewing stacks of resumes, scheduling interviews, and sharing feedback with their colleagues — so they can spend more time engaging with candidates and improving the hiring experience. In addition to trusting technology to help them streamline and simplify their own workload, 96% believe virtual interviews improve the recruitment experience for candidates.
Another area we’ll see continue to evolve on the video front is the use of on-demand video interviews in place of real-time conversations. After all, hiring managers and HR professionals spend so much time scheduling and rescheduling interviews — and on-demand interviews free up time and offer more flexibility to both the candidate and hiring team to complete the interview process on their own time. This opens up the pool of candidates even more by not limiting it to those who can interview in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon. The on-demand approach also solves many other issues that come with live, human-led interviews, such as unconscious biases, leading to a more fair and equitable process.
The role of hiring leaders as strategic business partners was front and center in 2020. During that time, the business case for implementing technology that enables greater focus on candidate engagement instead of rote tasks practically wrote itself. Like many other hiring leaders, I believe the future holds less of a return to normal. Instead, I see an opportunity to make business operations more tech-driven, inclusive, and efficient than ever.