Pivot your existing graduate hiring approach towards something more virtual

James McGill, Vice President International Customer Success at HireVue, considers how employers can use virtual systems to snare the best talent this year

With summer almost upon us, thousands of students across the country are preparing to take their first steps into the world of work. For most organisations this period typically marks a huge recruitment opportunity. And indeed, despite the impact of the global pandemic and its social distancing measures, there are still companies (if not as many as normal) that are looking to bring in fresh talent as they begin to plan for business rebound.

However, as these companies start to consider their latest graduate cohort, they are quickly realising that traditional methods of hiring simply won’t work in the current circumstances. In-person interviews have been rendered impossible, and a remote or depleted workforce also means that companies won’t necessarily be able to evaluate candidates in as in-depth a manner as they would have previously – particularly when you consider the vast numbers of applicants that some graduate schemes attract.

Rather than let their programmes sit empty for a year, this is why a lot of companies are now turning to technology to find and interview graduates remotely, while social distancing rules remain in place. Solutions such as video interviews and online assessments are quickly becoming a necessity but pivoting existing hiring processes to the virtual world can be a challenge for graduate talent teams unused to these models.

So if you are considering a transition to virtual graduate hiring and looking at your options, what are the key things you should be aware of?

Privacy and security are key

With all of us now using video conferencing for everything from client calls to team drinks, you (or more likely your leadership team) might question the requirement for a separate recruitment platform.

However, as the recent news cycle around the vulnerabilities present in popular video conferencing platforms demonstrated only too clearly, many of these platforms have been criticised for their sub-standard privacy and security certifications – making them wholly unsuitable for a sensitive task like graduate hiring. Finding your first job is intense at the best of times, but emotions around graduate hiring are likely to be even more heightened as students face a shrinking and uncertain jobs market.

Instead, selecting a virtual interviewing technology that is purpose-built for hiring not only ensures best-in-class security, including compliance with GDPR and regional regulations, but also nets you more bespoke review, sharing, and ratings features at the same time.

Even if you go down this route, however, there are several security-related questions you should ask any platform provider that you are evaluating:

  • What policies, procedures and controls do they adhere to?
  • What security measures do they have in place?
  • What certifications do they hold?
  • Which cloud hosting provider do they use?

Tech stack integration should be seamless Any unexpected change in business can have lasting repercussions for your team as they try to adjust – and a switch in graduate hiring models is no different. In order to minimise that disruption internally, you need to make sure that any new technology you bring in integrates into your existing ecosystem quickly and efficiently.

By selecting tools that work in conjunction with your current technology stack – whether that is candidate relationship management solutions, Applicant Tracking Systems or assistive intelligence tools, you can reduce potential redundancies and create an environment that gives some much needed stability back to your talent teams, so they can focus on what matters most: building and maintaining relationships with candidates.

Don’t sacrifice support for speed

Finally, one of the most fundamental requirements of making the switch to virtual interviews is ensuring that not only are your talent teams well supported in their use of any new platform, but also that your candidates have access to the same immediate and responsive support.

Due to the financial implications of the pandemic, a lot of companies will be searching for the quickest and most cost-effective hiring solutions to keep their businesses staffed correctly.

And it isn’t just financial concerns that are escalating the situation. Grappling with a huge sense of anxiety about their futures, today’s students are desperately looking to companies for a way forward. With brand reputations on the line, organizations that evolve their current practices quickly and effectively to deliver a compelling virtual candidate experience stand the best chance of success in the long run. Those who don’t will find themselves struggling to attract the right kind of talent long after lockdown finishes.

With the stakes high, it’s important that you take the time to do a deeper dive into any solution you are considering – in particular, examining the support and service levels that a vendor can provide. Is support global? Is it 24/7? How is it accessed?

A technology failure can lead to the loss of the perfect candidate, and disillusionment of your hiring team, so it’s imperative to ensure that you have access to a global support team who can jump in and provide immediate guidance


Despite the uncertain climate, you do not have to miss out on recruiting the latest batch of graduates. All it requires is a shift in hiring methods. However, it is important to think of this shift not only as a short-term solution for the current hard times. In fact, by taking steps towards adapting your company’s graduate hiring process to become more digital in the long-term, you can actually open up the talent pool to graduates that you might not have considered through the traditional hiring process. And that can only be a positive thing for everyone involved.