Hybrid Recruitment: the Virtual Recruiter and the Post-Pandemic Future

The world has changed during the past 18 months. That much is certain. What has also changed is the world of recruiting. That’s because the COVID-19 pandemic has thrust a hybrid recruitment model upon all recruiters and talent acquisition professionals.

And like the virus behind the pandemic, this hybrid recruitment model is more than likely here to stay.

What is hybrid recruitment?

Before we get too far “into the weeds,” let’s address the definition of hybrid recruiting. Just what is hybrid recruitment? Well, it’s simpler than it might sound. In essence, hybrid recruitment is the combination of in-person and virtual recruiting strategies for the purpose of creating a more effective approach to overall talent acquisition and hiring efforts.

Indeed, hybrid recruitment did exist before COVID-19 arrived on the scene. However, it was used sparingly and often in certain situations with special circumstances. The virus changed all of that. Recruiters were forced to implement virtual recruiting strategies as a matter of necessity. The learning curve was steep and the timeframe for adoption was short.

As a result, recruiters, hiring managers, and Human Resources professionals were thrust into the world of remote work and virtual recruiting. Some were more ready with others. That’s because they had already familiarized themselves with the tools of the trade. Those tools include the following:

  • Phone interviews (which have always been part of the recruiting and hiring process)
  • Virtual or video interviewing
  • Text messaging and email
  • Virtual career fairs
  • Virtual hiring events
  • Remote onboarding

Hybrid recruitment goes hand-in-hand with a hybrid workforce. Once again, before the COVID-19 virus, many organizations already had a hybrid workforce. This means some of their employees worked on-site and some worked remote. The world of work was already going in that direction. The pandemic simply served to accelerate its rate of speed. Organizations that already had remote workers now had more of them. Those organizations that never had any remote workers were now faced with the challenges that having remote employees presented.

And of course, part of the hybrid workforce are virtual recruiters. Some recruiters work at a brick-and-mortar physical locations. Others work remotely. The latter perform their duties in a virtual manner. Consequently, they’re more likely to rely upon hybrid recruitment strategies. However, if you work as a recruiter at a physical location, but you engage in virtual recruiting strategies, does that make you a virtual recruiter?

The job applicant or candidate engaging with you virtually probably believes so.

So in a sense, all recruiters operating in the marketplace are virtual recruiters. Some are just more virtual than others.

The benefits of hybrid recruitment for virtual recruiters

The hybrid recruitment model provides plenty of benefits for all types of recruiters, including virtual recruiters. The top benefit, as you may have surmised, is flexibility. This applies to both job candidates and recruiters. And with more flexibility comes more convenience. But there are other benefits, as well, including:

  • Reduced costs
  • Improved speed to hire
  • Reduction of risk
  • A better experience for applicants and candidates
  • Better diversity hiring

It makes sense that the more tools you have, the more effective you will be. This certainly applies to recruiting and hiring. By using a combination of in-person and virtual strategies, recruiters can enjoy the “best of both worlds.” They can use in-person strategies when it makes sense. Conversely, they can use virtual strategies when it makes sense.

For example, a recruiter might employer virtual strategies at the beginning of the process. But when it gets down to “crunch time,” they may want to meet top candidates face-to-face. (Or, when applicable and/or appropriate, give them a tour of the facilities.) The key is that recruiters now have many tools at their disposal. As a result, they can change course and make adjustments quickly. This allows them to avoid problems and stay on track more easily.

Types of hybrid recruitment

Because hybrid recruitment offers so much flexibility, there is more than one model. Recruiters can choose the model that works the best for them in light of their needs. What might work in one situation might not work in another. The key is to choose not only the right tools, but also the right strategy. When those two are aligned, your chances for success increase.

Below are three hybrid recruitment models:

#1—Blended

This is the model of which most people think. In this model, recruiters use both in-person and virtual strategies at different parts of the process. Much like the example above, they might use virtual strategies early in the process and in-person ones toward the end. It’s not entirely one or the other, but a combination of both.

#2—Composite

In this model, recruiters are using both in-person and virtual strategies at the same time. For example, they could be interviewing some job applicants or candidates in person, while interviewing others virtually. Which one they choose can depend upon a number of circumstances, including the caliber of the candidate.

#3—Synchronous

Corporate recruiters and HR professionals are more likely to use this hybrid recruitment model. That’s because it’s typically used for job fairs or similar hiring events. As such, job candidates would have the choice of visiting the job fair in person or online. By offering both, you can “cast a wider net” and deepen your candidate pool.

Once again, these are fluid models within the framework of a flexible hybrid recruitment strategy. As such, there are no hard and fast rules. You are basically only limited by your imagination.