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Hiring Trends of 2021: The Rise of Virtual Hiring

Eons ago (or in the pre-pandemic time), the term 'interview' was synonymous with a nightmare for most people. It used to be a common sight of an interviewee walking into the interviewer's room with a rushing pulse, jelly legs, tensed temples, and profuse perspiration – so much so that their faces used to convey all about that anxiety and nervousness.

However, the past year has been the year of change, and the change is there to stay in 2021 and hopefully in the next few years as well. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a series of transitions on the personal and professional front for all. Paving their way through the challenges, organizations have reacted to them with a resilient attitude. In April 2020, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, stated that their company saw two years' worth of digital transformation in two months. It is true, given the new strategies that organizations came up with for meeting the present and future needs.


Companies are reevaluating their talent acquisition and recruiting strategies for 2021. Many began to adopt newer and more engaging ways of recruiting and onboarding virtually to navigate fast-changing trends. Digital hiring technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation are moving to the forefront. Online screening of a person's candidature with digital tools has become easier for hiring companies. In this prolonged period of uncertainty, they have created a more expansive space of acceptance and demand for contingent workers.


This changing landscape of recruitment and selection is a great relief for the interviewees for more than one reason. They no longer need to take full-day leaves from their offices to commute to far-off places, compete in their minds with other candidates while evaluating the crowd in the waiting room, or stress about meeting an acquaintance. This has even limited the recruiting timeline for organizations, as successive rounds of interviews can be scheduled at the earliest. With many interviews being conducted online now, most such first-world-seeming issues are to be resolved.


For the interviewees


Candidates must follow the punctilios of the interview process. Here are a few points for them to remember:

  • Although we have moved past the conventional formalities of interviews, it is still important to dress well for interviews. Understandably, a bed is an attractive place to sit and work from, but candidates must refrain from giving interviews while sitting on the bed, for the first impression matters a lot.

  • Candidates are expected to be present for a virtual conversation at a fixed time. The only prerequisite is a seamless internet connection (because no one would like to talk with the spinning circle on the blank screen in a video call).

  • Do not join the call late because that may put the interviewer off.

  • Develop or polish the skills that are required today. As we know, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced everyone to go digital; candidates must demonstrate strong communication, the ease with technology, and a flexible, adaptable approach to their work.

  • You must know your resume well. Do not mention anything that may become hard to justify. Experienced interviewers have their ways to perplex the candidate when they sense a possibility of a lie.

  • Make notes of the critical points in the discussion. Be polite in clearing your concerns.

  • Research about the company and position offered to you. State your availability of working remotely or from the office.

  • Inquire about the benefits specific to the current time, being offered by the organization. Resolve your queries about the company, roles and responsibilities, and the progression of your career.

For the interviewers


A highly skilled HR workforce must offer their expertise, innovative solutions, and alternate perspectives in the current scenario to think about and incorporate new trends in recruitment. Building an agile virtual workforce is an important task for an organization. So, leveraging social media and digital marketing solutions to hire is extremely essential, more than ever. It is also recorded in many recent pieces of research that recruiters are eliminating their unconscious bias and prioritizing diversity and inclusion initiatives. A great starting point would be to establish a diverse interviewer panel that reflects an organization's talent pool.


If you're the hiring manager, here are a few points for you to note:

  • You must try to make the candidates feel comfortable. In these trying times, be sensitive towards their background. You may begin by asking general questions about them to gauge their interest in the job and their need for it. You may ask about their family's wellbeing and then move to more specific questions about their role.

  • Test their skills using the digital technologies your organization has invested in.

  • State your expectations, work culture, selection process, salary range, etc., to avoid miscommunication.

  • Update them about the changed procedures, working hours, etc. in your organization, if any.

  • You may promote the facilitation of work-life balance culture.

  • After selecting a candidate, ensure they are not left in an abyss. A candidate-management connection is necessary in the virtual world of working.

  • As a hiring manager, it is entirely your responsibility to begin and end the recruitment process – from successful virtual hiring to onboarding.

The pandemic has changed the traditional priorities of people and companies. It has led to wider adoption of digital and the formation of new ways of creating human relationships. It has changed the outlook of hiring in 2021, ranging from talent relationship management, virtual assessment of personality, remote working, candidate's experience, AI, technology, and much more. The processes are as new to organizations as they are to the people working or seeking jobs and it is evident that it’s the combination of new strategies and resilience that will mark the success of companies.


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