Skip to main content

Slippery, opaque, flaky, and frustrating – these are sentiments we’re hearing frequently from both employers and job seekers as their courtship has moved to largely online post-pandemic. The traditional cadence of first-round phone screen, second-round in-person interview, and final onsite evaluation has been replaced by seemingly endless cycles of virtual interviews. Fueled by online platforms and an onslaught of automated hiring tools that do everything from screening resumes to interviewing and ranking candidates, employers have largely abandoned in-person vetting. In fact, according to a study by Mercer, approximately 80%+ of employers use AI to screen candidates and 60% to interview. While these technologies save time, they are eroding the engagement and commitment between job seekers and employers that once underpinned a professional hiring process and leading to some troubling developments, including:

  • Unprofessional and suspect behaviors by both job seekers and employers. Electronic interactions on platforms like Zoom are efficient but impersonal, and the professional stakes are lower. We’ve seen a significant spike in unprofessional behaviors from both job seekers and employers, including increased ghosting or last-minute cancellations of interviews, reneging on offers, cheating on assessments, and an overall lower standard of etiquette.
  • Longer, frustrating hiring cycles. The ease of electronic applications has allowed job seekers to entertain a record number of jobs and employers to entertain a record number of applicants. When candidates juggle too many job opportunities, they become hard to reel in, and when employers juggle too many candidates, they start stringing candidates along. As a result, we’ve watched a growing number of businesses and job seekers struggle with churn, frustration, and hiring cycles that are two to three times what they were a few years ago.
  • Tenuous start to an important relationship. Virtual vetting can handicap the ability of job seekers and employers to evaluate fit and interest. Body language, intensity of engagement, and professionalism are hard to assess over platforms like Zoom, and both sides may be left with uneasiness or faulty perceptions about the other. When a candidate starts a job, misaligned perceptions and expectations can easily translate into friction and potentially derail the hire.

What can you do to avoid these pitfalls while capitalizing on the efficiencies of new electronic tools? Here are 5 recommendations:

  1. Don’t allow technology tools to drive the process. Get back to the basics of smart hiring with (1) well-developed job descriptions, (2) thoughtful assessment criteria, and (3) a well-designed vetting process that looks at not only the hard skills but the softer attributes of a candidate. Make sure that wherever you interject technology, you are not bypassing critical steps or proven evaluation techniques that have helped you hire successfully in the past.
  2. Avoid letting technology over-filter. Electronic tools reject some of the best candidates based on keywords, resume gaps, and other faulty algorithms. Where you can, add the human touch in assessing a candidate’s aptitude, attitude, and cultural fit. As an alternative to using technology to pre-vet candidates, staffing firms can offer effective, more customized vetting if armed with knowledge of your organization’s values and culture.
  3. Streamline your screening and selection. With an uptick in the volume of applicants, you want your vetting and selection steps to be highly productive and nimble enough to move quickly when you find the right candidate. Make sure your selection team is well defined and aligned on hiring criteria, that the members have availability in their schedules to conduct timely interviews, that your search and selection timeline is compact, and that you can turn around an offer with speed to avoid losing a candidate to another employer.
  4. Narrow virtual interviews early. Use virtual interviews for early rounds, but make sure the interviews are high-quality, with discerning questions and cameras on. Hone in on top candidates rapidly to prevent excessive rounds of virtual interviewing and to accelerate your ability to move the best candidates forward before they lose interest.
  5. Conduct final rounds in person.  Always conduct final round interviews onsite to provide both job seeker and employer the opportunity to evaluate chemistry, culture, work styles, values, and other more nuanced compatibility aspects. The effort and time involved in an onsite visit also serve as a valuable gauge of enthusiasm and commitment to the match.


Ready to discover top-tier talent?

Uncover exceptional, pre-vetted talent right at your fingertips with FlexProfessionals. Give us a call or visit our Find Talent page today!