By Bridget McCrea, contributing writer
Even before the global pandemic drove a massive uptick in remote work and socially-distanced workplaces, a growing number of companies were handling at least some aspect of the employee recruiting process virtually. The lockdowns and stay-at-home orders accelerated this trend, driving more organizations to deploy virtual recruiting methods in lieu of face-to-face meetings, interviews, and even training.
With the economy in recovery stage, some of those companies are undoubtedly wondering why they didn’t adopt virtual recruiting methods sooner. Using tools like Zoom and WebEx, for example, distributors can work through a larger stack of potential candidates, answer questions on the fly, and even do group onboarding for multiple new hires at once. They can also hold virtual job fairs and other events focused on attracting and engaging new candidates.
Ira S. Wolfe, president at Success Performance Solutions says any distributor that’s ramping up its virtual recruiting strategies should start by visiting a site like Glassdoor and Indeed to see what others are saying about the company, its policies, and its job opportunities. These sites tend to have high search engine rankings and are often the first thing a job candidate sees when searching your company’s name.
“If you don’t have high ratings and employee reviews on these sites, now is the time to work on fixing that,” Wolfe says. “People are doing their due diligence before accepting job offers, so focus on creating a better ‘virtual’ employment brand and reputation online.” One way to offset poor reviews, for example, is by asking your current workers to counterbalance them with their own positive feedback.
Wolfe also suggests distributors use virtual job fairs to showcase their current job openings. Similar to a webinar, these events can be set up, hosted, and advertised to a database of recipients (i.e., customers, trading partners, community members, etc.). Focus on current job openings and involve some current employees and managers in the event. Encourage them to talk about their job roles and what it’s like to work for your company. This will help create authenticity and real connections with potential recruits.
The hiring process doesn’t end when the agreements are signed, but the days when employees could shadow a veteran employee for months to learn the ropes are gone, at least for now. Ryan McPhail, COO, at Curtis Restaurant Equipment, says the distributor is offsetting this challenge by using more remote learning and training – all while helping new employees feel like they’re part of the team.
The latter isn’t always easy in the virtual environment, but McPhail says it’s something distributors need to work on. The good news is that the virtual learning environment can accommodate more people at once and has no geographic constraints. “Where it used to take a week or two for our trainers to make their way around to different locations,” says McPhail, “we now get people from all five of our locations online and involved at the same time. It’s very efficient.”