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Hiring in a Virtual World

This last year has been odd for all of us, but in a business focused on hiring people and looking for the perfect fit, Talis Group has had to come up with ways to help clients hire successfully with a very virtual process.  Hiring people is part objective measure and part subjective measure. Our objective measures include reviewing skills and experiences to see if they match the duties of the job as well as testing some of those skills and confirming them via reference checking.  Our subjective measures include reading subtle body language, getting a feel for the personality of the person and the culture they best thrive in.  Many of the subjective measures have been somewhat curtailed with virtual interviewing and we have had to find ways around those limitations to get a good read on the person and find the right job fit.

Virtual Meetings-

Relax your Expectations

As you identify candidates for a position, arrange a virtual meeting instead of an in-person meeting for the first interview.  Most people are fairly comfortable with virtual meetings now, but recognize they may not have used the exact meeting type you use. For example, some people have all their experience with Microsoft Teams so will be a little nervous for the Zoom link you send.  Or perhaps they are only used to virtual meetings in their office and have not had to do one at home with their personal equipment.

Give candidates some grace

If it takes them a minute to get the video and sound to work properly or the camera angle to look right, don’t look upon them unfavorably.  If you have an assistant who could offer a trial run, that may be helpful as well.

Send out specific instructions about your virtual meeting to assist the candidate.  Perhaps send   the link and related password along with any advice you have learned along the way.

Build in a little time for Subjective Measures

Allowing a little extra time in your interview to gently relax the candidate and get to know them, you can begin to see how they would fit into your business culture. Also, by helping to relax the candidate, you will create a better interview as they are able to get their footing and project a more accurate view of their real personality.

Phone Meetings-

Sometimes it suits everyone best to have the first interview via phone. This is easy and effective, but you will lose the subtle body language we all can read subconsciously. Also, seeing someone live, even virtually, seems to propel the relationship further and faster than merely a phone call.

In-Person Meetings-

If the first interview goes well, invite the candidate into your office for the second interview.  Go above and beyond to explain your covid- safety precautions to ensure they feel comfortable. Tell them you will not be shaking hands and will ensure seating is a comfortable   distance away    from each other.  Ask if they have any concerns you can address.  We have gotten to the point now with covid that many of us are comfortable in our daily routines of going out, but we know what to expect. In this case, the candidate is going into a new environment. By ensuring they know your safety measures they won’t feel as if they are going into the wild, wild west.

Inform the candidate how working at your company has been proceeding.  Perhaps everyone works from the office or there is a remote/ in-office arrangement.  This discussion will help ensure this potential worker can work within your protocols.

This is a good time to consider how you wish to configure your open position. You will likely get more candidates if you consider a mix of in-office and remote work. Consider this carefully as it must work well within your office. If you are considering a partially remote work environment, make sure to give yourself wiggle room to change things along the way.  Communicate with the job candidate so they do not assume a remote work option is permanent if you are just trying it out.

Job Offers-

If you find your #1 choice, Talis Group highly recommends offering the job in- person if possible. If that idea will not work with timing etc., then offer the job via another virtual meeting or phone call. Listen to any concerns and address immediately.


Many companies can do all or most on-boarding forms to join a company online. Some companies choose to use a document signing service like DocuSign to disseminate on-boarding forms such as insurance, handbooks etc.  However, the I-9 will still have to be done in person if the office is open so consider that and the safety of your new employee and your Human Resources personnel.  By creating a safe process and more importantly communicating that process to new hires, their concerns will be alleviated.

Virtual hiring is a little different than meeting in-person for interviews.  With proper planning you will likely only be interviewing twice or three times maximum and therefore can still handle the virtual and in-person balancing act. By addressing safety concerns up front, you will put the candidate at ease. By allowing the first virtual meeting to have a lull of just relaxing chit chat, you will gain back some of the subject aspects of an in-person interview that often get missed in virtual meetings.

Renee Fulton is President of Talis Group, a boutique recruiting firm successfully placing hundreds of job seekers just like you with great companies in the Kentucky/ Indiana region.  Visit to learn more.

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