Data Insights

The Future of Virtual Hiring Post-Pandemic: Lighthouse Research Recap

Apr 13, 2021 - Valery Caputi Lopez

In a post-Covid job market, organizations have had to quickly adapt to the new constraints of our socially-distant world, and talent acquisition professionals were no exception. While existing and emerging technologies have enabled virtual hiring events to take center stage as a prime alternative to in-person interviews and recruitment sessions, many people want to know: are virtual events here to stay, or will they fizzle out once the pandemic is over?

Ben Eubanks, author, speaker, and Chief Research Officer at Lighthouse Research & Advisory answered this key question and more during a recent webinar with Recruiting Brief: “A Guide to Virtual Recruiting Events Post-Pandemic.” This webinar was based on his preliminary study on over 856 TA leaders from organizations of varying size, and we’ve got a look at some of the stats he shared and more. Whether you were fortunate enough to attend his live event yourself or simply want to know more about this timely topic, here’s what you need to know about the present and future of virtual hiring events:

1. Nearly 7 in 10 Employers Expect to do More Virtual/Remote Hiring in the Future

The pandemic shifted employers’ mindsets and hiring approaches in a huge way. The move to widespread remote work across so many industries by necessity brought virtual hiring into the mainstream. And the research shows that now that employers have tried virtual hiring- they don’t plan to stop!

“Two-thirds of employers expect to do more virtual/remote hiring in 2021 and 2022 extending and expanding the impact of virtual hiring methods on the business.” These organizations have used the tools first-hand and seen the potential for even greater cost savings and efficiencies in the future, priming them for more extensive investment as time goes on.

Additionally, nearly 7 in 10 employers expect to do more virtual/remote hiring in 2021 and into 2022, which shows further optimism in this fast-developing technological space that transcends the current restrictions and hiring conditions imposed by the pandemic.

7 in 10 employers expect to do more virtual hiring in the future

2. The Use of Video Interviewing & Virtual Hiring Events Skyrocketed

When it comes to virtual interviewing, video is unsurprisingly king. It’s the very functionality that many remote communication platforms and virtual hiring events are built around. But how exactly did organizations’ usage of video for hiring change after 2020?

According to the Lighthouse study, the importance of video interviewing to talent acquisition professionals jumped by 300% in the span of a year. Not only that, but the importance of virtual hiring and candidate experience skyrocketed as well.

Importance of video interviewing went up from 2020 to 2021

Recruiters also reported becoming more open to trying out other virtual hiring technologies as a result of the pandemic. In fact, the top 3 elements of virtual recruiting tools that surveyed companies incorporated into their hiring operations included: 1) video/visual interviews, 2) virtual career fairs, and 3) online assessment and candidate screening tools.

Top new tools TA experts added in the pandemic

But there is still plenty of room for improvement and adoption, as was evident during a live poll conducted during the webinar. It showed that about 1/3 of the companies in attendance hadn't done anything with virtual events yet, 1/3 had done some one-way informational sessions, and only 1/3 had already done virtual job fair type events of some kind.

There are many ways in which a company can approach and support a new video recruitment strategy, such as by trying out new virtual hiring platforms or deciding what types of recruiting videos a company should make to support recruiters and who should star in them (hint: it’s their hiring managers!). To get inspired, check out our blog post on 4 ways to get started with video.

3. 2020 Exposed Critical Technology Gaps for 65% of Employers

    2020 didn’t just force employers to work and think differently, but it also showed them in which ways they were behind. According to the Lighthouse research report, “65% of companies said that 2020 exposed critical gaps in their talent acquisition technology stack, and 21% of all firms haven’t yet filled those gaps.”

    The 21% of organizations that have not yet filled those gaps are faced with a big competitive disadvantage that can also be a major opportunity for growth, as long as they make sure not to lag too far behind their competitors. As more employers become more agile, more effective, and more efficient at sourcing talent from anywhere thanks to virtual hiring tools, already competitive talent pools will become even harder to reach for the companies that are slow to adopt them.

    4. Recruiting Automation Tools are On the Rise

    Another key finding in this report is that 90% of TA teams are now using automation tools to support fair and unbiased hiring initiatives. From audits of implicit bias in hiring practices to the removal of personal identifiers in applications, automated recruiting tools are continuously being perfected in order to evaluate candidates more fairly and objectively.

    But that’s not the only reason why recruiting automation tools are gaining traction. Lighthouse’s research showed that 54% of TA leaders are seeing improvements and greater efficiency within their own roles thanks to the inclusion of AI, chatbots, and other automation tools in their recruitment processes. Of these, the majority of organizations (70% for high-turnover organizations and 58% for all) agree that chatbots are extremely valuable recruiting automation tools, not just because of the candidate experience improvements they offer, but also because of the time-savings they make for TA teams themselves when they no longer have to do repetitive tasks by hand.

    Chatbots are seen as extremely valuable for more than half of high and low turnover organizations

    These time savings are usually reinvested into other valuable activities for the organization, such as sourcing for key roles, spending more time interacting with quality candidates, and on measurement of key metrics and organizational impact. While it may seem contradictory at first glance, recruiters can take a balanced approach to effectively use chatbot technology and create higher-quality experiences and connections with job seekers. Since ¾ of job candidates claim that chatbots actually improved their candidate experience during a hiring process, odds are great that their implementation will yield positive results.

    Three fourths of candidates say chatbots improved their candidate experience

    Check out this post for ideas on how to introduce a recruiting chatbot in your talent acquisition team.

    5. Companies are Making an Effort to Support Virtual Onboarding

      Once the hiring process is done, the work of virtual hiring tools is far from over. You still need to bring applicants into the fold and make them want to stay with your company, especially during the first few critical days and weeks in their new roles. A seamless onboarding process is a critical step towards ensuring candidate success, improving retention, and fostering inclusion.

      That’s why companies are making visible efforts to support onboarding process improvements of many kinds. Lighthouse’s research shows that 75% of the companies surveyed plan to make some changes to their onboarding process in 2021, from streamlining operations to investing in new technologies such as virtual onboarding tools.

      75 percent of surveyed companies plan to improve their onboarding processes

      But while most agree that revamping onboarding operations is important, only 33% of TA teams actively have a plan for adding onboarding technology to their processes, indicating this is another area for growth and innovation for organizations looking to make a lasting impact in their long-term recruitment practices.


      Organizations are looking for ways to better connect with people during the pandemic and tell them their story. At the same time, talent acquisition teams are looking for solutions that support and boost their technological, communicative, and analytical skills. That’s why technologies like two-way video, virtual job fairs, chatbots, and automated software are evolving fast to fill the gaps, paving the road for new and rich avenues for distanced communication, collaboration, and learning between talent acquisition experts and job seekers.

      By setting a new standard in recruiting practices that helps build more meaningful relationships, fosters diversity and inclusion, and offers efficiencies felt across the entire organization, it seems that the upward trend of virtual hiring is showing no signs of slowing, even well after 2021.

      To access the full 2021 Lighthouse report on Key Trends in Talent Acquisition, visit their website.

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