It’s been just over a year since the fundraising world, as we knew it, was thrown a fast curve ball. Remote offices, online engagement, online annual and major gift fundraising, online meetings, and online management of staff and entire divisions. Then add to that remote, online recruiting and hiring. Who could have imagined?

Many institutions had a hiring “pause” and cutbacks over the past twelve months, but things are changing yet again. Movement at all levels of employment is on the rise at many institutions coast to coast. Presidential transitions are happening; Vice Presidential transitions are increasing; middle management transitions, too.

What does high- and mid-level recruitment look like today? Can you really find the best people for your openings in an almost completely virtual environment? I was skeptical. Now, I’m a total convert and downright enthused by the possibilities that have opened up in terms of getting to know candidates that you may invite to join your team but might not meet in person for another six months or longer.

The pandemic forced everyone to reimagine recruiting, networking, and hiring. Online tools became invaluable. Zoom became a verb as well as noun. One of the best things to come out of the situation before us is the ability to use video technology in ways that might be construed as “compassionate” or contextually aware. Some companies and recruiters set up what was called a “video handshake” – which were video chats, or recordings, focused more on what a person could become rather than on what they had done in the past. Finally!

Allowing potential candidates to submit a recording in advance of a potential live interview can be a game changer. By providing some specific prompts and allowing the individual to record themselves answering those prompts, videos allow hiring managers to get a feel for an individual beyond a resume and cover letter. The prompts can be as banal or creative as desired. They can be about the individual personally or professionally, their career aspirations, their pets, their favorite music, or their favorite meal – anything your institution or company would find meaningful to learn more about! When the individual is in a live interview – video or in person – there is a genuine opportunity to dive deeper; flesh out something that caught your attention during the recording. It often makes the live interview more dynamic and personal; less trite or ordinary because there has already been an occasion to “meet” and “see” the candidate.

The new paradigm that exists to recruit and hire changes the game for both job seekers and employers – for the better. We need to find our comfort-level being in front of a camera; being memorable without overplaying or overacting; displaying self-awareness; communicating clearly and succinctly; and being ready to respond in and through whatever medium comes our way.

Embrace the changes in the ways we can now recruit and hire. It’s indeed a brave new world!