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Recruitment | 12 Min Read

Virtual recruiting ideas: The what, why and how of futuristic hiring

What is virtual recruitment?

Virtual recruitment is the process of hiring talent remotely, without in-person interactions or meetings. Virtual recruiting ideas focus on seamlessly connecting recruiters with candidates despite geographical boundaries. These ideas include online tests, problem-solving activities, video interview rounds, virtual presentations and other critical strategies to measure vital professional competencies. Remote interview platforms, case study simulators and customizable pre-built assessments are among the most effective virtual recruitment tools available in the market today.

This article elaborates on the benefits of the virtual hiring process, diving deep into effective strategies and best practices that make it a success. You will also learn how virtual recruiting differs from conventional hiring methods.


The need for virtual recruiting ideas

The virtual hiring process is far more streamlined than a typical campus hiring strategy, allowing employers to reach more candidates at reasonable costs. Small-scale business owners do not have a sizable recruiting staff for sourcing talent – why virtual hiring strikes a chord among them. Conducting virtual open houses, job fairs, and interviews increases participation in such events, saving organizers’ time and resources.

The right software and technology are imperative to efficiently conducting virtual recruiting. Hence, it is always worth investing in tools that enable easy implementation of virtual recruiting strategies.

Lately, the market for virtual recruiting tools, particularly chatbots, has expanded. Some of the more sophisticated tools are indispensable in hiring for their use in addressing applicants’ most frequent queries, reviewing applications, selecting desirable candidates from large talent pools and automating the interview scheduling process. It is noteworthy that, like in-person recruiting, virtual recruitment strategies must comply with equal employment opportunity guidelines (EEO) and not discriminate in any form whatsoever.


Disrupting the traditional approach to hiring: Why is virtual recruitment important


As businesses continue to explore the advantages of remote/hybrid work models, virtual recruiting ideas continue to become more relevant than traditional hiring. Let’s take a look at some of the conventional hiring processes.

Conventional campus hiring

Companies spend considerable time and resources on their campus hiring strategy each year to onboard the best talent. While they don’t want to miss out on the college talent pool, the changing recruitment landscape has altered their outreach plans.


Campus recruitment process


The campus hiring process comprises the following main activities:

  • Campus selection and expense management (finalizing the list of colleges and ancillary costs).
  • Pre-placement talks with students.
  • Screening candidates for interviews.
  • Shortlisting candidates for interviews.
  • Rolling out the final offer after the interview.

Customarily, organizations allot campus hiring teams that visit multiple campuses, focusing on each of the activities:

  • Booking a venue in advance
  • Setting up logistics for high-volume recruiting
  • Assigning invigilators to curb malpractices
  • Assessing and shortlisting candidates in person

Conventional lateral hiring

Lateral hiring focuses on recruiting experienced professionals who are well above the entry level. Unlike fresh graduates, lateral hires come from a work background that is relevant to the job for which they apply. In other words, they have hands-on experience working on field, in a professional environment and with clients/co-workers.

Conventional lateral hiring process involves the following:

  • Identification of skills and experience required to fill the open positions.
  • Defining the role and its requirements.
  • Publishing the job ad/advertising via various channels.
  • Screening applications and resumes.
  • Shortlisting candidates for the interview.
  • Conducting interviews and shortlisting the most qualified professionals in person.
  • Rolling out the offers.

All things considered, implementing a hiring policy is not a hassle-free affair. There are pertinent challenges at each stage. Therefore, it is essential to upgrade the hiring process with modern-day tools. It allows organizations to effectively shape the future of work. In other words, the time is right for businesses to choose the digital approach and implement innovative virtual recruitment ideas for future-forward hiring plans.


Difference between virtual recruiting ideas and traditional hiring methods


Traditional campus hiring methodsTraditional lateral hiring methodsVirtual recruiting ideas
Depend on a limited directory of campuses each year. Depend on time-bound adverts and several labor-intensive components such as response wait-time, human-led scanning of applications, etc. *Utilize campus intelligence to systematically shortlist campuses that match the recruiters’ requirements of competencies and salary range. *Ensure an ongoing employer brand story to attract more applicants. Furthermore, they allow 24x7 accessibility to potential recruits over the internet. Hence, the wait time is minimized as HR managers begin actively reaching out to the right talent.
Depend on repetitive presentations for delivering pre-placement talks.Depend on outdated marketing methods or physical events with limited reach.*Utilize highly interactive online competitions – hackathon, ideathon and case study test. *Virtual recruiting ideas also expand reach as companies begin utilizing an array of digital platforms such as webinars, social media, podcasts and other opportunities to share their employer brand stories.
Involve booking an event venue and scheduling slots.Involve booking an event venue and scheduling slots.Utilize online assessments (personality, cognitive, technical, behavioral, coding, domain and communication) that are location and time agnostic.
Depend on a dedicated team of recruiters and invigilators is required.Depend on a dedicated team of recruiters and invigilators is required.Offer flexibility in evaluation, assigning human proctors or AI-powered solutions that flag malpractices regardless of location.
Bound by labor-intensive, time-taking assessment evaluation. Bound by labor-intensive, time-taking assessment evaluation. Utilize auto-graded assessments, instant result generation technology, easy benchmarking and automatic screening.
Entail recruiters visiting campuses for on-campus interviews.Depend on the availability of hiring managers and other stakeholders who want to interview candidates in person. Structured video interviews ensure a comfortable interviewing experience for candidates anytime, anywhere.
Include logistical and execution hassles around the interview venues, presence of interviewers, etc. In-person interviews are also prone to challenges like applicants not showing up.Include logistical and execution hassles around the interview venues, presence of interviewers, etc. In-person interviews are also prone to challenges like applicants not showing up.Virtual recruiting is possible even without visiting the college campus, a cost-effective alternative to traditional hiring. Similarly, in case of an applicant’s no-show, rest of the interview line-up can carry on uninterrupted if companies use a scalable interview platform.
Marred by extensive and unstructured processes. Marred by extensive and unstructured processes. Enable a faster hiring process backed by smart sourcing, screening and interviewing tools.


What are the advantages of online recruitment?


Below is a brief overview of the main advantages of virtual recruitment.

  • An instantaneous process
  • Cost-effective
  • It can help you reach a wider audience
  • It is more straightforward than conventional hiring
  • It provides an option to make the ads more dynamic
  • It is durable and flexible
  • It catalyzes the hiring process
  • It improves talent accessibility


Mastering the virtual hiring process


How do you interview candidates virtually: Virtual recruitment strategies that work


By adopting a virtual recruitment process( not just out of sheer necessity, but as an imperative necessity for the future), the rate of hiring and identifying better candidates can improve tremendously. Listed below are effective virtual recruitment strategies that can help organizations and HR professionals.

Keep everything mobile-optimized

From text recruiting to smartphone-optimized career sites and applications, associating with applicants on mobiles isn’t something you can disregard.

The Pew Research center survey data indicated that 54% of job seekers used their cellphones to apply for jobs, and that number will increase.

If your career site is not optimized for mobile platforms, it’s high time to work on it. Any modifications to your site -or application should be consistently tested on mobile devices to ensure user-friendliness of the site and to ensure that it adds value to the job seekers’ experience. A sloppy application or cluttered website will force job seekers to search for employment elsewhere.

Opt for video platforms

The advent of new technologies has enabled recruiting professionals to explore new mediums of talent acquisition. That’s why they have been considering video as an efficient tool to interact with young jobseekers in their job search and hiring process. When face-to-face communications aren’t feasible, organizations can pivot to video interviews to ensure an uninterrupted hiring process. Recruiters can conduct video interviews and make the entire recruiting more comfortable and convenient for candidates.

Besides utilizing video for interviews, organizations that figure out how to incorporate video in new formats can redefine the way recruiters approach and communicate with applicants. Video provides an in-depth experience instead of only content on a page or an anonymous voice over the phone. It gives aspirants an overview of the organization and gives them a platform to put their best selves forward. That is the reason why video is emerging as one of the most popular virtual recruiting strategies.

Ensure strong brand positioning across platforms and channels

Candidates prefer doing their due diligence and explore avenues with their potential employers before taking the next step. It implies that employers need to create a crisp message that highlights the employer’s value proposition. Not just on the company’s site, but on social media sites too.

Employers can make sure that their brand-centric messaging is on-point with this checklist, as mentioned below:

  • Does your site precisely characterize what your organization stands for?
  • Can applicants find the organization's story with ease and the impression that each team can make?
  • Does your social media message portray the organization's core values and culture?
  • Are the organization's employees featured in those posts, emphasizing the importance of working in such an incredible company?
  • Do you practice what you preach? For instance, if you emphasize work-life balance in your messaging, do your work policies and benefits align with that?

Your social media strategy cannot be disregarded when it comes to improving online recruiting strategies. Potential candidates are interested in knowing what their future organization has to express on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, video testimonials, and other similar mediums. By bolstering your virtual recruiting strategies on all fronts, you can hold candidates’ attention during the hiring process.


Most effective virtual recruiting ideas


Technology is an enabler that is replacing conventional approaches with innovative campus recruitment strategies. Hence, virtual recruiting ideas have undergone amazing transformation. Below are a few vital ones you can implement in your hiring process.

1. Campus intelligence for focused targeting

Campus intelligence is a powerful insight-driven tool that maximizes the effectiveness of the virtual hiring strategy. The goal behind building campus intelligence is to collate year-on-year data on the efforts undertaken by organizations and conduct a thorough analysis of the results. Based on the outcome, each campus is scored on students’ performance in assessments or the number of students falling in the organization’s preferred pay range.

Campus intelligence also requires making a competency heat map to map each campus’s total students’ performance on the industry’s most common competencies and match them with an organization’s competency requirements.

Companies often skip this stepping stone to the campus hiring program. Every recruitment strategy needs planning, and campus hiring is no exception. It will be a futile exercise if core requirements and set expectations from various campuses, and students, are not adequately addressed. Building campus intelligence is beneficial, enabling recruiters to smartly target the right institutions for valid reasons and improve their onboarding rate.

2. Pre-placement engagement through exciting contests

Organizing campus placement drives included pre-placement presentations and interactions lasting several days; albeit, those days are gone. With reduced attention spans and time becoming the most valuable currency, pre-placement engagement requires businesses to adopt uniquely creative approaches to encourage potential talent to understand their work culture and role.

Organizations need to grab the attention of millennials who are often distracted in today’s digital era. With targeted social media strategies centered on the company’s culture, employee stories, perks, testimonials and success stories, organizations can pique candidates’ curiosity about the brand. The traditional engagement approach aligns the candidate’s ambition with the company’s vision.

Organizations using innovative campus recruitment strategies such as hackathons, ideathons, and other interactive mediums experience a significant improvement in the onboarding rate. Hackathons and other engagement contests are among the most convenient ways to identify the best candidates and build a talent pool. Such activities ascertain if the candidate is both theoretically and practically the right fit for the role and the organization. Virtual campus engagement tools enable organizations to expand their digital footprints and increase brand awareness synchronously across a vast talent pool.

Online competitions and case study simulations are easily scalable and allow simultaneous participation from multiple teams across geographies. Moreover, there are no infrastructural constraints in conducting online activities. The prizes can add more charm to the contests. Similarly, Hackathons are crucial for gauging the expanse of students’ knowledge and application skills.

These unconventional virtual recruiting ideas help recruiters move beyond the typical approach to measure technical acumen, high order and complex problem-solving skills, communication proficiency and a knack for entrepreneurship.

3. Online screening assessments enabled with remote proctoring

Online screening assessments, coupled with proctoring technologies, can improve onboarding at an astonishing rate. The two main challenges with screening tests are deciding which type of content to include in the assessment and coordinating its execution.

Deciding what to assess

Screening assessments are accurate predictors of on-the-job performance and culture fitment. With the advent of modern screening assessments and tools comes the convenience of analyzing data and predicting hiring outcomes. Many companies utilize AI-backed predictive analytics to evaluate students’ aptitude, personalities and behavior. Assessments that holistically measure critical aspects of potential candidates are useful in giving impetus to the hiring process – cognitive, behavioral, and domain-specific tests, to name a few. Auto-graded tests can be introduced to simplify the problem of benchmarking and cutoffs.


Organizations grapple with coordination issues when conducting screening assessments. It is best to address such challenges through online proctored assessments. Remote proctoring involves employing human or AI-based invigilation technologies to ensure smooth facilitation of assessments online, free from unfair practices. Organizations can utilize this technology to conduct candidate screening from a place of their choice without deploying extra resources. Moreover, web proctoring eliminates the need for depending on large-scale physical centers for delivering assessments and ensuring coordination among administrative teams.

4. Structured video interviews

A structured video interview is a systematized way of comparing job applicants. Interview questions are designed, considering the candidates’ skills and abilities and a standardized parameter for assessing them. Since the questions are well-aligned with the organization’s competency requirements, there is little scope for an irrelevant or subjective assessment, whether or not several interviewers are involved.

  • Video interviews are ideal for candidates to make themselves heard without time limitations because these are location-agnostic mediums. Organizations can utilize such interview formats to understand potential employees better, apart from their academic achievements.
  • With video interviews, hiring managers can aptly assess candidates’ communication skills, a precondition for applying to many job profiles.
  • Structured interview platforms also include a database of recorded interviews that can be used for future referencing purposes or creating a talent pipeline of prospective candidates to reconsider, should the need arise.
  • Furthermore, structured video interviews enable businesses to scale their virtual recruiting strategies without exhausting significant resources and extensive travel, evaluating the content aspect of standardized assessment questions and grading guidelines.

5. Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions for meaningful communication

An Ask Me Anything session provides an opportunity for candidates to have all their curiosities, doubts, and queries addressed in one event. AMA typically is an engagement between a dignitary (could be the head of talent acquisition or a member of the leadership team) and the audience wherein the host answers questions that the participant might ask.

Over the last few years, AMAs have been leveraged as a multi-faceted tool that has either been used for planning a marketing strategy for B2C(business-to-consumer) marketing campaigns or internal communications objectives. With the proliferation of engagement channels such as Reddit, Quora, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, AMAs have fostered and accelerated conversations that inspire a change or impact in many ways.


Image 1


Conducting an AMA is one of the most engaging virtual recruiting ideas because candidates anticipate and appreciate transparency and candidness from leadership. They want to be privy to organizational affairs.

Therefore, AMAs are meticulously conceived and devised, with subtle informal yet informational undertones. These events can weed out doubts from the candidate’s mind, addressing their concerns about the hiring process and the company’s policies.

It would be best if these events were focused on specific topics rather than extensive ones. For example, suppose most applicants express interest in a particular position. In that case, recruiters can lead a session with hiring managers shedding light on essential questions about the interview process, organizational culture, benefits, vision and mission.

6. Using the merits of virtual onboarding

The concept of virtual onboarding has gained steady ground in recent times. This online process intends to accomplish the same hiring goals but efficiently and resourcefully. Virtual onboarding saves time for stakeholders and helps new hires understand what is expected of them.

Following are the benefits that make this process worth considering:

  • Streamlining administrative and HR compliance processes before the office newcomer's first workday.
  • Conducting virtual meetings between the new hires and their managers and team members.
  • Familiarizing the new hires with the company's values and culture.
  • Preparing an audit trail to document the critical legalities of onboarding, such as health and safety policies for employees.

7. Extracting data from the virtual recruitment tool

Hiring managers can utilize the analytical prowess of the modern virtual recruitment tech stack. It can help them track vital hiring metrics and KPIs such as determining the time- and cost-to-hire, understanding the mediums of candidate sourcing, analyzing where candidates drop out of the hiring process, etc. With these actionable insights, HRs and hiring managers can scope out the opportunities to maximize efficiency while keeping the candidate experience intact.

8. Promoting company values and workplace culture

In an in-person interview scenario, interviewees usually get a chance to experience the workplace culture as they enter the office, albeit for a short duration. They get a glimpse of the facilities, work settings, and various other aspects of an organization’s culture. However, this is not possible in a virtual recruitment process. That’s where the idea of showcasing and promoting the organization’s values and culture comes in handy. It would be best to run a video presentation covering the job description, interview and onboarding processes, and workplace culture during virtual recruiting events.

9. Taking cognizance of the candidate experience feedback

Gaining feedback from qualified and unsuccessful applicants is essential in the virtual hiring process and helps work on crucial improvement areas. In addition, candidates may shed some light on the intricacies of the process, such as an extensive online application process, a below-par video interviewing experience, communication hassles, etc.

10. Implementing a strong social media strategy for talent acquisition

How can social media be used to recruit talent? Below are a few useful tips that will come in handy.

  • Engage in the right conversations – Recruiting on social media is all about cutting through the clutter and finding the right people. Companies can register on LinkedIn groups and use hashtags to inform candidates about the latest job openings.
  • Promote organizational culture – Rather than focusing solely on posting career opportunities from company accounts, recruiters can add a human element to the post by sharing content that describes the warmth, cordial work environment and other benefits to engage candidates in the conversation.
  • Never ignore the niche networks – Apart from LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, recruiters should also take niche networks and forums into consideration. For instance, GitHub and Stack Overflow communities proliferate with developers who share their knowledge and experiences in the group. Most brilliant minds share their valuable expertise in specific social communities such as Warrior Forum, Moz and Quora.
  • Every employee counts – Existing employees can also add their contribution by becoming an evangelist for their organization and share information about new openings from their handles. They can share their work experiences and act as a catalyst to arouse the curiosity of potential candidates.
  • Encourage recruiters to build a better social media presence – Leveraging corporate accounts can only achieve so much. So, recruiters must be advised to make person-to-person connections with potential candidates. First, they need to understand what social media best practices are and how to use their accounts regularly.


Virtual recruiting best practices: How can online recruitment be improved?


Listed below are the best practices for organizations to ensure order and professionalism during the virtual hiring process.


Infographic 2


1. Allow interviewee the time to prepare

The best practice is to give candidates some leeway to prepare for the virtual interview rather than blocking the calendar for the same-day meeting. Giving them ample time to prepare will allow candidates to be at their best during the interview. It also reflects the recruiter’s professionalism and thoughtfulness.

2. Create a standardized rating system

Much like in-person interviews, a standardized system should be created to ensure an easy rating of each interviewee’s qualifications. This rating system can help track each candidate’s performance during the virtual interview round. Once recruiters are done with virtual interview processes, they can utilize this rating to identify the most eligible candidates.

3. Always prefer a distraction-free location

Conducting virtual interviews in a quiet and distraction-free environment serves the purpose. If recruiters are interviewing from their homes, finding a calm space so that nobody intervenes is critical. Moreover, there should be a neutral background that doesn’t distract the candidate. It’s ideal to maintain a professional interview environment to preserve the essence of an in-person interview.

4. Outline questions while preparing for the interview

Virtual interviews are not much different from in-person interviews. Therefore, preparing questions beforehand is also essential here. The process begins by reviewing the interviewees’ information, including their resume, cover letter and other professional information. This information becomes the basis for developing questions that are based on the candidates’ experience and qualifications. It’s a good idea to list down every job-related question integral to a standardized rating system.

5. There should be unhindered connectivity

Virtual interviews rely on the quality of the internet connection between both parties. Robust connectivity is crucial to ensure an interruption-free interview. Hence, one should test the connection repeatedly before the interview, including a thorough check of the microphone and webcam. Sometimes, performing a practice interview with a colleague also fool-proofs the process.

6. Invite candidates to the virtual interview via email

The organized way of inviting each candidate for the virtual interview is through email. The invite should distinctly include the date and time and details required to access the interview software. Organizers should have clarity about the format of the virtual interview to avoid last-minute hassles. For example, all the essential information, such as log-in access code, must be mentioned in the email. Additional information should also be made available to the candidates, such as the interview’s expected duration and any other required documentation.


How can Mercer | Mettl help execute your virtual recruiting ideas?

Campus hiring drives can take a toll on organizational resources. Therefore, a growing number of companies are seeking to redefine this process. Mercer | Mettl’s virtual recruitment platform enables organizations to do away with redundant and traditional hiring processes and leverage modern technology solutions to make better hiring decisions.

Mercer | Mettl’s innovative campus recruitment solutions can work wonders on organizations seeking to implement virtual recruiting best practices. These digital and efficient solutions can help them plan for conducting large-scale recruitment drives with the utmost ease.



Mercer | Mettl’s Offerings



How do you conduct virtual recruitment?

What is a virtual hiring event?

Why do companies prefer online recruitment?

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Originally published October 7 2020, Updated June 23 2022

Written by

Abhilash works with the Content Marketing team of Mercer|Mettl. He has been contributing his bit to the world of online business for some years now. Abhilash is experienced in content marketing, along with SEO. He’s fond of writing useful posts, helping people, traveling, and savoring delicacies.

About This Topic

Campus hiring is the process of recruiting fresh graduates from colleges. Campus recruitment starts with campus selection, following which a recruitment team visits campuses for engagement activities, candidate screening and interviewing.

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