Virtual recruiting and onboarding for Microsoft Dynamics talent: Is it here to stay?


The world of work as we know it has changed forever. Both because the COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for digital transformation, but also because the immense advancements we’ve seen in tech in recent years are increasingly making the traditional office-based 9-5 a thing of the past. The future of work is consistently leaning towards hybrid, and what was previously seen as a temporary response to the pandemic, has gradually become the norm.  

But it’s not just the way we work that has changed—the way we hire, and recruit is becoming progressively different to what it was a couple of years ago. Virtual recruiting and onboarding are slowly replacing traditional face-to-face hiring practices, even if just partially, as companies look for new ways to find talent, and win them over in this digital age.  

And this is great news. The benefits of virtual recruiting and virtual onboarding can be many for those organizations looking to adapt to the changing nature of the hiring market. And, with just 18%  of current permanent Dynamics professionals actively looking for a new role, and a further 9% expecting to leave their current role (Nigel Frank’s Careers and Hiring Guide: Microsoft Business Applications Edition 2022), businesses must seek improved ways to not only better job seeker experience and fulfil their expectations, but retain the talent they already have onboard too. Plus, a low attrition rate can be good for attracting fresh talent too – as it indicates you’re willing to keep up with what your current employees want.  

Whether you’re looking at revamping your recruiting and onboarding strategy, or simply to integrate a more virtual element to it—getting to know this important tool is essential for those businesses looking to create a future-proof hiring strategy.  

In this post, we’ll go through the advantages and disadvantages of virtual recruiting and onboarding, and some of our top tips for how to best use digital solutions to give you a competitive edge when looking for fresh talent.   

Why is virtual onboarding and recruitment important?  

We’ve heard it over and over again—there’s an immense skills shortage in most industries at the moment. Monster’s The Future of Work 2021: Global Hiring Outlook has in fact shown that 80% of organizations say they’re having trouble filling vacancies due to the ongoing shortage of skills. When we look at the talent shortage within Dynamics ecosystem, the situation isn’t much better. In our Nigel Frank Careers and Hiring Guide: Microsoft Business Applications Edition, almost half (48%) of Microsoft Dynamics users told us that lack of appropriate skills was their biggest hurdle to Microsoft Dynamics implementation.  

And, with Microsoft Dynamics expanding at an exponential rate, and the notorious skills gap within its hiring market, it’s essential for employers worldwide to position themselves among the leading businesses to work for as competition for talent becomes increasingly fiercer. Integrating additional ways to find and recruit talent, even if virtually, can give you a competitive edge as an employer, while increasing the odds of reaching your ideal candidate at the same time.  

The pros (and cons) of virtual recruitment and onboarding 

Virtual onboarding and recruitment can potentially help you expand your hiring horizons. And as more businesses adopt virtual and remote practices, the benefits of doing so are becoming increasingly evident. Some of the top benefits of virtual onboarding and recruitment are:  

  • Fewer geographical boundaries – pretty much like hybrid and remote work, virtual onboarding and recruitment help you access untapped talent living outside of your company’s geographical area. Whereas previously travel arrangements had to be made for the interviewer and interviewee to convene in one location—with a virtual hiring process, all you’ll need to do is to send a Zoom or Teams invite, saving both travel time and costs too.  
  • Added flexibility – Perhaps the word on everyone’s lips at the moment, with the 80 million Americans currently engaged in a flexible work solution (McKinsey), workplace flexibility is a staple for organizations looking for the best talent out there. If you want to show prospective candidates that you’re serious about flexibility, you’ll need to show it throughout the hiring process too. During an interview, candidates tend to build their first impression of a business—so you’ll want to make yours a good one from the very start. And with 22% of Dynamics candidates saying flexible working hours would entice them to accept or consider a new role (Careers and Hiring Guide: Microsoft Business Applications Edition 2022), showing your commitment to flexibility from day 0 is bound to give you a point in your favor.   
  • Improved diversity – We can’t talk about flexibility without mentioning its influence on workplace diversity. The traditional and rigid 9-5 work structure, and all the processes belonging to it weren’t made to suit a diverse workforce. Virtual recruiting and onboarding can create greater equity in your recruitment process, which is certainly becoming a top priority for most businesses. Not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because a study from McKinsey showed that diverse companies are likelier to outperform those with less diversity in terms of profitability.  
  • It’s cost- and time-effective – Filling a vacancy, and eventually onboarding a new hire can be a long, and costly process. Virtual onboarding and recruitment can help mitigate both—particularly if you automate certain parts of your hiring process. For instance, stats reported on Ideal show that almost half (52%) of talent acquisition leaders cite shortlisting the right candidates as the most challenging part of their role. This can be improved significantly by pre-screening candidates through video interviews for instance, or by asking applicants to sit for an online competency test before progressing to the next interview stage—saving you both time, but also costs in the short- and long-term too. 

Widespread use has revealed the benefits of virtual recruiting and onboarding, but it has also shown that there are still some points that need improvement. 89% of organizations surveyed in a Monster study said that they’re hiring virtually. However, only 19% of them think that this is better than hiring in person, showing there’s still plenty of room to better improve these processes for both candidates and employers. The following are some of the most cited disadvantages associated with these recruiting and onboarding methods, together with some ways you can mitigate them:  

  • Tech issues – By now we’ve all experienced some sort of tech issue or mishap while working remotely, whether that’s internet connection issues, computer crashes, or simply forgetting to unmute ourselves (again). This can weigh on the recruitment and onboarding process, especially if your business doesn’t have the right resources or processes in place to counteract such issues—such as a dedicated IT team, system testing, and a backup plan. Always let your interviewees and new hires know any technical specifications ahead of their interview or first day. This will help avoid any last-minute surprises, as will frequent staff training, technology troubleshooting, and maintenance.  
  • Limited experience – Sitting in your living room for your job interview or first day at work certainly has its advantages. But it can also limit the overall experience and engagement. For candidates, it might be difficult to get the real feel of the company without stepping into its offices, while for new hires, it might be harder to build a rapport with their new colleagues. Ensuring you’re communicating your company culture and values through various media, both internally and externally such as your company intranet, website, and welcome packs and your social media platforms can help you amplify your message to get a wider audience, especially those who apply or work remotely.  
  • Security and legal risks – The widespread use of digital solutions has led to an unprecedented increase in data breaches and cyber threats in recent years, with Forbes reporting that businesses suffered 50% more cyberattack attempts per week in 2021, compared to the previous year. This, together with an increased awareness of data privacy and security has led to stricter data protection regulations. It’s crucial for companies to adapt their processes (and software) to reflect these new regulations and threats, even if it often means added costs and training for team members that will work with any form of candidate data. Both security and legal risks can have a significant negative impact on your business, so taking the proper precautions to prevent it is an investment for the short- and long-term health of your business too.  
  • Harder to read someone – Whether we intend it or not, the largest component of a face-to-face conversation is nonverbal—according to Albert Mehrabian, a researcher of body language.  And although communication software like Zoom and Teams are continuously expanding their repertoire of functionalities, virtual still has a long way to go when it comes to body language. It might be harder to identify if someone is feeling nervous during an interview when you’re only viewing a headshot frame of a candidate. It might also be harder to understand why they’re feeling the way they are if you’re not in the same room as they are. Providing ample training for your managers to build the right communication skills to help those who may feel nervous or anxious interacting virtually, can help you to make sure you’re refusing any great candidates. 

Virtual onboarding and recruitment best practices 

Seeking some best practices to implement or improve your virtual onboarding and recruitment strategy? We’ve compiled some of our top expert tips for an effective virtual hiring strategy that’ll help attract talented professionals to your business.  

#1: Make tech your friend 

Anything virtual and tech go hand in hand. It’s essential to make sure you’re equipped with the right technology for virtual recruitment and onboarding. Making the best use of this sort of technology will help your hiring processes flow more smoothly. Especially when working with Microsoft Dynamics, and tech professionals in general, having the right tech and processes in place will help you make a great first (and second, and third) impression. Building automation into some of your processes for instance will help you shorten and optimize certain stages of your process, and help you build a better reputation with candidates as a business too, as it often means avoiding a longer hear-back time. Similarly, certain software or functions can help you improve certain stages of your hiring and onboarding—making them more efficient and engaging, too. Most mainstream software and platforms allow you to integrate videos, surveys, and other interactive learning materials to your recruitment and onboarding, which can help you speed up the process while making it more effective and fun for your candidate or new hire too.  

#2: Communicate throughout the entire hiring process  

Whether that’s an interview follow-up or instructions for their first day—nobody likes to be ghosted during any parts of the hiring process. And, especially with studies showing that 28% of employees quit in their first 90 days, employees need to make sure they’re getting their onboarding process up to scratch.  

Both recruiting and onboarding are a process, rather than a one-time event—and simply having one or two phone calls or video sessions during the process does not cut it. A communication process, that covers every base will ensure you’re effectively maintaining sufficient contact with your candidates or new hires. And don’t assume or take anything for granted. Especially at the start, new employees might not be as comfortable taking initiative themselves. So, for instance, try to set up intro calls for them with their teams and any key stakeholders in the business, and don’t forget to check in with your new joiners to make sure you haven’t missed anything.  

#3: Improve your ED&I practices  

Virtual hiring can help you expand your diversity, equality, and inclusion efforts while helping you reach any goals in this area too. Offering hybrid and remote work options isn’t just something Dynamics professionals are looking for, but it’s also something that can help you attract more diverse talent too. 32% of respondents in our Careers and Hiring Guide: Microsoft Business Applications Edition 2022 told us they’d be enticed to accept or consider a new role if it offered home working but it’s also something that can help you attract more diverse talent too.  

By prioritizing your ED&I strategy by implementing diversity and inclusion efforts such as virtual hiring, you’ll gain access to a wider talent pool. Especially considering Dynamics professionals are becoming increasingly difficult to find, and the ever-growing Dynamics skills gap, as a business, you need to ensure you’re reaching a wider range of talent to ultimately find the best person for the job.  How you attract and retain diverse talent can take various shapes and forms and starts from the way you write your job ad to having diversity training, creating more inclusive workplace policies, and much more.  

Virtual recruiting and onboarding: what’s next? 

As with many other things in the tech industry, it’s hard to predict what the future looks like for virtual hiring methods. However, in an increasingly hybrid and remote world, virtual hiring might be something that fits in naturally in the way most businesses are now working, which means that it is something that’s likelier to stay in the future in one way or another.  

It might be difficult to get your head around virtual recruitment and onboarding, especially if you’ve just started considering or implementing such processes. However, especially for those in the tech industry, staying on top of the latest trends and keeping up with the times will make you stand out as a potential hirer, and help you equip yourself for the future of work, too.  

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