Virtual Recruiting and How to do it Well
An exclusive interview with Maggie Piper-Presing, VP of Recruiting, VIPdesk Connect
It’s almost 2019 and isn’t nearly every company hiring virtual team members today?
We know that the nation is full of amazing people that need flexibility with their careers, 25% of the United States is partially or fully remote according to Small Business Trends, that means that by 2020 it could potentially grow to 30% or more.
At VIPdesk Connect, we have team members located in 37 states providing customer service from their home-based offices. We fill customer service positions all year long, however, we don’t just “fill” them, we hire elite professionals that provide excellent customer service.
On top of that, we do this all virtually. This takes pizzazz. Here is how we do it, with style.
We sat down with Maggie Piper-Presing, VP of Recruiting at VIPdesk Connect and asked her how she gets virtual recruiting right. On our website right under her name, the first sentence reads,
Maggie Piper-Presing is our insightful guru that consistently matches the right person to the right position for the right client program. She’s so good at it, it’s almost supernatural.
It’s all about the People – Vetting them, that is
Maggie is live with us via her virtual home office in Virginia, snug in with her trusty headphones, cold LaCroix, and Stendig calendar (cool factoid about Maggie: it’s the only calendar in the Design Collection of the Museum of Modern Art) If you don’t know, LaCroix is her spirit animal and always close by her side.
We picked her brain on virtual recruiting and getting it right…
We kickstarted with the question, in the virtual world, how is your vetting process different?
Crucial to vetting and what our team looks for in candidates is the motivation behind candidates and how quickly they respond.
It’s a detailed process to make sure that we are getting the right people for the client and we find over the years that people who respond quickly to the ads are stronger candidates.
In the first three days a position is posted, you will get 80% of the people you ultimately hire.
It is important how candidates present themselves through their resume. It’s striking that those that take the time to really highlight their qualifications and skills and past successes in an organization really stand out. It really does matter.
Virtual Recruiting Specific to Markets
It’s all about being strategic and going to markets where there is a strong labor force—or more specifically where you have the greatest success of finding qualified individuals.
It’s more than searching in larger cities; it’s also looking at smaller metropolitan areas. Looking at markets where there is a lower cost of living and a higher education, including Raleigh and Charlotte, NC and Gainesville and Tallahassee, FL is something we focus on. There is a strong labor force with good education and experience in these thriving cities. Because we are virtual, we can go beyond the core area of major metropolitan cities, too. We find the outer suburbs of Atlanta and Miami are great labor markets.
We focus on no more than a dozen markets when looking for new team members rather than posting nationally. Targeting specific cities proves to be more effective.
The Power of Video
Technology has certainly become an integral part of today’s hiring process. In fact, it’s now easy for a job applicant to not visit the worksite or even shake hands with his or her future boss until right before—or even after—receiving a job offer. In fact, virtual recruiting has the potential to save time and money in an age when recruiters and companies are often inundated with hundreds—or even thousands—of resumes for review.
As we are a virtual team, we can’t do a face-to-face interview with all candidates. Video interviews provide us the opportunity to assess a candidate’s communication skills and tone—critical skills when searching for customer care team members. Introducing video interviewing was the biggest game changer. 100% of our Brand Ambassadors complete a video interview.
Putting the Power in the Candidates Hands
Highlight your culture. People need to identify your culture. They need to be able to determine if this is the right place for them. It’s important in building a remote position to help the candidate feel comfortable in this environment.
Listen to the market – it’s been a very tight labor market. We are trying to find great people, but the candidates are sitting in the driver seats in many instances.
There are large pools of people looking for part-time work. And they want flexibility with their part-time work commitment. We responded to this trend by offering a new Flex part-time offering. We’ve heard positive feedback from our Flex team members and the retention numbers back it up. When you can make it work for both the brand ambassadors and the company, you have success.
Incorporating Culture into Choosing Candidates
Culture is a big factor in all departments of VIPdesk Connect, but especially in recruiting. We believe that when we hire someone, they become more than just an employee – they become family! Our People and Culture Specialist, Jen Vinciguerra is the absolute best at keeping everyone involved on our team in a fun way.
To truly find out about someone’s culture is a unique job when recruiting and Maggie takes her time to really learn about the candidate before inviting them to the family table. Another great reason we do video interviews, so we can see the true colors of each candidate. Culture is very important to the entire team and Maggie does a great job of finding warm, generous and caring people all over the nation.
Reality Check Your Requirements
One thing that Maggie said stood out. Don’t make job requirements rigid! For example, previous remote work is not a requirement. While it is extremely helpful, we don’t rule out candidate lacking virtual experience. We look for people with the skills and experience to best match position. We have the tools and systems to train and support new team members to work in a remote environment. In fact, we excel in that area.
We are also very vigilant on background checks. We do background checks on every new team member which may even include drug testing—we are permissible by state and local laws. We have partnered with vendors like Sterling Talent Solutions, who have experience in the virtual world to make sure that vetting process is done very thoroughly.