Virtual Hiring will be the ‘New Normal’ Are you ready?

Dave Millner
The pressure is on for all Talent Acquisition teams in the ‘New Normal’; how you respond now will dictate your future moving forward and rest assured RPO organisations are also watching!

Virtual Hiring will be the ‘New Normal’ Are you future ready?

The COVID-19 virus and its’ impact upon the workplace, means that businesses and employees will have to embrace constant new innovations as we transition into the agile workplace of the future, with technological advances permeating all aspects of the workplace. 

Technological changes have seen more of a connected way of recruiting through social media, sifting, and online assessment of capability through cloud-based interventions. Recruitment practices are still not delivering the type of quality candidates that organizations were expecting, with 74% of employers saying they’ve hired the wrong person for a position (Career Builder).

Over 40% of the job losses that have happened globally due to the pandemic are permanent according to the recent Becker Friedman Institute report, ‘COVID-19 Is Also a Reallocation Shock’.

That means speed, cost, and efficiency allied to the quality of the talent-based recruitment process will be absolutely critical.  The use of quality data, artificial intelligence (AI), and automation will radically change the recruiting process forever.  Remember, even with a lot of candidates to choose from, the top candidates are likely to be gone within the first 10 days (OfficeVibe)!

In my recent book ‘Introducing People Analytics’, the research highlighted three interconnected elements, the 3 D’s (Data, Design, and Digital) that will drive and change the HR function and every specialist function within it as the ‘New Normal’ emerges.

DATA: This is vital for any Talent Acquisition function to understand:

  • Its’ success in terms of “adding value” at a business level not just at a process level.
  • The opportunities for measurable continuous improvement.
  • The alignment across the whole HR function allied to the commercial expectations.

Social recruiting is here with 73% of millennials finding their last job via social media (Aberdeen Group) and data is symptomatic of a more intelligent way of recruiting employees into an organisation. But as another global recession looms there will be more candidate profiles to wade through and traditional methods of recruitment alone will not work effectively.

Unlike traditional hiring, predictive hiring uses data and algorithms to recommend the ‘best fit’ candidates based on the information available. With the use of data and algorithms to choose potential employees, the most recommended people are directly forwarded to hiring managers. This process saves time and prevents wasted opportunities because applicants with the most potential are not rejected just because of bias. Predictive hiring can identify potential bad hires based on skills, experience, and behaviour whilst data on high-performing employees can help organisations improve other employees’ performance and productivity.

Take Experian for example.  Employee attrition was a problem with the organisation facing turnover levels that were 3 to 4% higher than expected.By building a predictive model that included 200 attributes, including team size and structure, supervisor performance, and length of commute, they were able to predict flight risk. The model was rolled out in multiple regions and these insights, combined with good management practices and improved recruitment resulted in attrition falling by 2 to 3% over the past 18 months with an estimated saving of between $8,000,000 and $10,000,000 to the business.  That’s how collectively an HR function and its’ constituent teams can operate as a true business function.

DESIGN: This will become a critical area for the whole HR function to focus on in terms of the ‘New Normal”:

  • Shaping the design of the new organisation of the future.
  • Designing the new, re-shaped, and re-configured jobs and processes that automation and new ways of working will demand.
  • Identifying the new workforce capabilities that will be demanded.

Now is the time to review existing hiring methodologies and assess change opportunities such as a shift from face to face to virtual video interviews.  Unilever has re-designed its’ approach to recruitment creating an online platform so candidates can be assessed via simulations that test their aptitude, logic, reasoning and appetite for risk. Machine Learning (ML) based algorithms then assess their suitability for whatever role they have applied for by matching their profiles against those of previously successful employees.  This is followed by an intelligent video interview, again with ML algorithms assessing multiple data points with final attendance at a Discovery Centre with recruiters and business leaders where a final decision is made based upon the data collected.  The new automated recruitment process has received very positive candidate feedback and has saved 70,000 hours in recruitment process time alone; that’s a lot of time and money!


Digital HR is about process optimisation in which social, mobile, analytics and cloud-based technologies are leveraged to make the HR function, and the Talent Acquisition team, more efficient. The application of new technologies is not what makes the function digital, it’s about culture alignment, talent practices, and processes that balance efficiency and innovation opportunities with business impact.

The clamour for AI (that’s machines that work and react like humans) based technology in recruitment continues. Many vendors claim that everything they develop is based on AI. Certainly, algorithm-based technology to match the right people to the right jobs exists and we know that elements of MLare emerging as smart technology evolves.  Chatbots that increase candidate engagement, automated sourcing, algorithms that show jobs to targeted audiences and other tools are progressing towards a world of AI in recruitment, but they are not as highly developed as the marketing messaging states.

With increasing AI and ML-based applications, it is easy to accept that the data and the algorithms that they provide are correct. Some key questions to challenge vendors about their products and solutions to consider with such applications are:

  • What is the algorithm actually measuring? 
  • What population samples were used to build the algorithm? 
  • What evidence exists to suggest that it is a good algorithm? 
  • What are the variables used by the algorithm?
  • How is the algorithm assessing or scoring employees?
  • What steps have been taken to remove the adverse impact?  This is about ensuring that data is both processed fairly and that it represents the target population.
  • What feedback or outcomes can all candidates expect to receive from the process? 

The coming months will be a real challenge for all Talent Acquisition teams. You’re currently in a ‘React and Survival’ mode but the next stage ‘Review” must enable you to understand your organisations future recruiting strategies and the final stage ‘Reset” is about then creating a new way of operating that is more cost-effective, quality-driven and impactful than ever before.  The pressure is on for all Talent Acquisition teams in the ‘New Normal’; how you respond now will dictate your future moving forward and rest assured RPO organisations are also watching!


  1. I am Roshin k. Sibi, student of Srinivas institute of management studies, srinivas university would like to join with you for internship


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