Hiring for the holidays? Follow these tips for virtual recruiting

While many U.S. employers are struggling with layoffs, others—primary in retail, e-commerce and delivery—are looking to hire. And big time.

According to a recent report from CNBC, in fact, employers in those industries and related sectors are preparing for the upcoming holiday season like never before, as consumers abandon on-location buying sprees for virtual settings, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The result, CNBC reports, is that employers will be taking on hundreds of thousands of workers to meet the expected shopping demand. And tech-fueled talent acquisition companies like Jobvite, Fountain and HireVue are looking forward to meeting the challenge of helping employers make it happen.

“Believe it or not, the holiday season is upon us,” says Kerry Gilliam, vice president of marketing at Jobvite, based in San Mateo, Calif., which is participating in this month’s free, virtual HR Tech Conference. “And even in this unprecedented year, the holiday season will see increased retail and e-commerce traffic. To prepare, TA teams need to hire a large pool of candidates and fast.”

Gilliam explains that many retailers are finding it increasingly difficult to stay competitive in both brick-and-mortar stores as well as e-commerce sites. And this challenge isn’t contained to retailers selling their products—it’s just as big of a challenge for recruiters to sell themselves to potential candidates.

“Supporting seasonal hiring is a challenge,” he says. “But having the right technology, people and processes to support these efforts can make TA teams successful and help retailers meet their seasonal business goals.”

See also: How employers are recruiting in the age of the CARES Act

Jobvite offers an integrated, single platform that includes Career Sites, CRM, Apply, ATS, Texting, Chatbots and Onboarding. In one successful partnership, Jobvite teamed with a national retailer to implement a one-day hiring program built upon the firm’s comprehensive recruitment marketing platform and real-time communication channels, like text messaging to communicate with candidates throughout the recruiting process.

In this case, the national retailer was hiring for 890 locations. In one day, it hired over 28,000 seasonal employees.

“Ultimately, they reached 110% of their hiring goals,” Gilliam says.

At San Francisco-based Fountain, Tracy Sestili, vice president of marketing, says the focus is on high-volume hiring via a “mobile-first” platform to keep candidates engaged, reducing drop-off via built-in automated scheduling, text and email reminders.

“High-volume hiring is not for the faint of heart,” Sestili says. “Most recruiters rank sourcing and screening candidates as their top pain points. When it comes to hiring hundreds or thousands of people at once, those challenges and headaches are magnified.”

Sestili explains that Fountain which will also explore its recruitment tech offerings at HR Tech, leverages automation and mobile engagement to help employers with high-volume hiring needs by reducing time-to-fill and making hiring more efficient. She adds that Fountain’s “mobile-first” platform, in fact, not only allows candidates to apply anytime and anywhere straight from their mobile phone, but it also enables employers to leverage automation to screen candidates with pre-qualifying questions , so they can weed out candidates who might not be the right fit.

“Employers entering the holiday season with high-volume recruitment needs can also take advantage of our live video interviewing feature, which helps employers connect with applicants in real-time and reduce interview no-shows, all while keeping everyone safe during the process,” she says.

Kevin Parker, CEO at HireVue, in South Jordan, Utah, says that, as employers begin to reopen across the country, many companies—particularly in industries such as retail and hospitality—are looking to quickly ramp up hiring at high volumes and are turning to new technologies to accelerate the process. As a result,  recruiters are faced with the daunting task of managing millions of interactions with candidates and their resumes and applications, all while maintaining interest levels.

See also: 4 tips for sustaining hiring momentum through COVID

“Companies need solutions that allow them to meet and engage with candidates where they spend their time most: right on their phones,” he says.

To that end, HireVue recently acquired AllyO, a deal that Parker says will further enable the company to help recruiters and hiring teams replace repetitive and administrative tasks like interviewing and scheduling with an automated workflow, freeing up their time for better, more personalized interactions with candidates.

“By giving customers the ability to engage with candidates on their phones at any hour of the day, AllyO’s technology also paves the way for hiring teams to quickly rehire from scratch,” Parker says of the new acquisition. “We live in a text- and chat-driven world and communication with job applicants should be no different.”

For more on the expected seasonal hiring blitz and how to better manage major talent acquisition needs, register for the upcoming 2020 HR Technology Conference & Expo, set for Oct. 27-30 at no cost to attendees.


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