Online everything is exhausting…. meetings, interviews, conferences, even social “gatherings.” Many people are ready to get back out there, eager to travel, meet face-to-face, enjoy in-person networking sessions. The fact of the matter is that even though the pandemic was and still is frustrating for businesses, we’ve all discovered new ways to operate, and some of them have been very successful!
When comparing the effectiveness of virtual interviews with in-person, Cynthia Cole, Recruitment Manager for De Lacy Executive Recruitment, commented, “Many employers report that nothing was lost but the handshake.” Participants now expect flexibility. Event planners are exploring hybrid options to incorporate the best of virtual with in-person events in the future.
Virtual recruiting, including career fairs and interviews, were catching on before COVID, but now they’ve become the norm. Some virtual recruitment benefits organizations noted:
- No travel time for the interviewer or candidate (saves time and money)
- Speed: Moving quicker through the hiring process, ease of scheduling
- Inclusive—the ability to invite remote coworkers to be involved in the interviewing process
- Touchy subjects: Handshakes, masks, vaccinations. Virtual career fairs and online interviews eliminate the need to even approach those subjects.
- Flexibility: Candidates can schedule interviews over lunch or log into a virtual career fair between classes or on a break.
- Safety—eliminate additional exposure to all illnesses during recruitment, not just COVID! One of the main methods agricultural employers use to compete for new talent is a “safe & healthy work environment” as reported in our 2021 Agribusiness HR Review.
- Diversity: Recruiting methods typically focused on your local area, or familiar organizations and college programs. Virtual allows you to extend your reach to different locations, groups of people, even varied educations and experiences.
- Brand expansion: Like diversity, the ability to outreach to distant areas expands an organization’s employment brand
- Consistency—virtual interviews lend themselves to more consistency and can therefore reduce bias
- Formality: Online interactions are often more informal, allowing the employer and the candidate a better glimpse at how they function in daily life
Many organizations are still in a holding pattern on travel or unsure what fall recruiting will look like. During the AgCareers.com Virtual Ag & Food HR Roundtable in early August, we polled participants about their organization resuming recruitment travel this fall. Seventy percent of agribusinesses polled were still undecided or considering limited travel with restrictions.
Employers need people, and obviously can’t put a halt on all recruitment activities. In the uncertainty, virtual recruitment events are a safety net for this fall and the future. They’re confirmed to continue despite what happens in our ever-changing world.
AgCareers.com hosted Virtual Career Fairs for years before COVID. Recognizing the essential need for staffing during the pandemic, we launched the nationwide Feed Your Future initiative in 2020. This extensive initiative virtually connects agri-food employers with candidates across Canada. Feed Your Future includes a series of region-specific virtual career fairs and educational events. The vast majority of participants said the Feed Your Future virtual career fairs were as good or better than in-person events!
Find out more and register for Feed Your Future events here: https://www.agcareers.com/feed-your-future.cfm
Article Written by Bonnie Johnson, AgCareers.com