COVID-19 has caused significant disruptions in most business operations. However, companies are beginning to return to the new normal, which includes resuming their hiring plans.

Gone (at least temporarily) are the days of forcing applicants to fidget in the lobby, evaluating their appearance from head to toe, and analyzing the firmness of their handshakes (and good riddance). However, technology can help companies streamline the interview process and provide a more effective way to onboard new employees.

Creating something new

Communication is one problem that Aaron Matos, CEO of Paradox, sees in both the virtual and in-person job interview process. “It’s amazing how often companies struggle with ensuring people have quick, easy access to the information they need — for example, a candidate trying to get info on how to prep for a virtual interview,” he says.

“The biggest issue is that most companies' technology isn't set up for simple, mobile, real-time communication — 24 hours a day, from whatever device the person's using at the time.” Matos believes that the pandemic presents an opportunity for digital transformation and mobile technologies that can automate quick Q&A and candidate communications like interview reminders.

“Everyone in the hiring chain was sick of long, clunky application processes before the pandemic hit, and now, they're even less patient with it.”

Matos says companies should embrace automation as a friend, not a foe. “You can use conversational AI to greet every candidate, answer their questions, help them find open jobs, speed up the application process via chat or text, pre-screen applicants, and automatically schedule interviews with qualified people.”

If there’s one positive aspect of COVID-19, Matos believes that it has given companies time to slow down and reevaluate their hiring and onboarding processes. “I'd encourage TA and HR leaders to not rush into any massive changes: yes, you need to figure out how to host recruiting events virtually, and if you didn't have a video interviewing solution before, you probably need one ASAP.”

However, he recommends that companies look more broadly at their strategy and process — and really imagine what they wish it looked like. “If you could start from scratch, what would hiring look like? When we talk about the future of work, what does that actually mean — in the context of your business, the roles you need to hire, how the dynamics have shifted in your industry, etc.?” Matos encourages companies to take advantage of this unique opportunity to create a vision or what’s next.

Make video your friend

You may be getting tired of video conference calls, but Matos says video will be a part of the new norm in every part of the hiring — and onboarding — process. “Finding ways to bake it into your process in elegant, unobtrusive ways is the secret.” For example, he recommends using an AI assistant to share video content when candidates ask questions about the company or team culture. “And there are lots of other great video tools out there that help you provide transparency into what it's like to work at your company,” Matos explains. “Video brings a human touch to the hiring process that makes it feel less binary and cold.”

According to Sam Caucci, CEO of 1Huddle, “You should ensure that each stage of your interview process includes an element of working remotely that you can evaluate and is reflective of your culture.” His company does multiple department or all-team video calls on a weekly basis. “So, I like to include a candidate in a call that mirrors that situation to see how they engage across a team call format.”

However, Caucci warns that video shouldn’t change everything. “Just because you are interviewing virtually and cannot do in-person interviews does not mean that your interview process should be shorter,” he says. “We see interview processes going between three to five video interviews that include at least one group interview.”


Admittedly, some companies may find it weird to hire someone they’ve never met. “So, when you do, it is important that your new hire's acceptance and/or first day successfully incorporates them into your team,” Caucci says. “Whether it is an all-team call to introduce your new employee or sending a ‘gear bag’ of swag items to their house, it is important to kick off their first day with energy and enthusiasm.”

He also recommends investing in technology to accelerate onboarding. “It is pretty impossible to run a new hire onboarding, training, or orientation on Zoom that doesn't put people to sleep at some point.” Caucci says that leading brands understand that those old e-learning video platforms are outdated. “It’s important to invest in employee engagement and mobile training tools to meet new hires where they are, accelerate onboarding, and even consider using games to connect them culturally across their organization.”