HR leaders at Zoom and WayUp reveal how a strong virtual recruiting process can improve diversity and inclusion

HR leaders at Zoom and WayUp reveal how a strong virtual recruiting process can improve diversity and inclusion
Insider's Shana Lebowitz Gaynor with speakers Lynne Oldham of Zoom (c) and Liz Wessel of WayUpInsider
  • Adding the word "remote" to a job isn't enough - think smartly about how you recruit virtually.
  • A thorough hiring process that's inclusive includes plenty of face time and transparency.
  • This was part of Insider's virtual event "Transforming HR in the Digital Era," presented by Paycom, on June 15.

Supporting new hires through a virtual recruitment and onboarding process the past year has meant organizations have had to rethink how they attract and retain talent - and it might be for the better.

"A lot of people throughout the pandemic had tried to stick the word 'remote' on whatever practice they were doing," Liz Wessel, cofounder and CEO of job site WayUp, said during Insider's recent virtual event "Transforming HR in the Digital Era," presented by Paycom, which took place on June 15. "They said, 'We could do the same thing but over Zoom' and think that everything would work out."

The panel, titled "Virtual Talent Acquisition," was moderated by Insider's strategy correspondent Shana Lebowitz Gaynor and featured Wessel along with Lynne Oldham, chief people officer at Zoom.

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Oldham and Wessel both agreed that "intentionality" in the recruitment process is critical. When hiring online, you often miss out on those camaraderie-building, get-to-know-you conversations.

"It's really all about the setup," Oldham said. "Giving them all of the information about what the interview process is going to be like … describing the process for the day. So you have to intentionally do that upfront and then make sure that the person is understanding who they're going to meet, when they're going to meet them."


She said that Zoom has bridged the gap by undertaking more interviews, even though it elongates the hiring process. That way, potential hires get more of a window into the company and have more conversations that can help determine things like cultural fit.

When it comes to diversity, Oldham believes that companies need to apply the lessons of the pandemic to the "new normal."

"The pandemic really put us in a position of saying, 'We could hire anywhere.' It doesn't matter anymore - geography was actually a limiting factor to diversity," she said. "San Francisco, I believe, is around 5% Black, in a US population of 13%," she added.

While remote hiring may help with diversity, it could adversely affect inclusion. Liz Wessel said that when working from home, circumstances are different, and an inclusive hiring process needs to set employees up for success.

"Do you need help with an intranet stipend ... do you have a good camera for your computer, do you need us to send you that webcam - whatever it might be," she said. "Being more understanding that there might be little kids running around in the background, and is that okay. And if it's not okay, how do you work with them to figure it out?"


Wessel believes that on the whole, the virtual hiring environment has provided a path to greater diversity and inclusion. Some of her large clients, she said, such as Unilever and BlackRock, have decided to focus on recruiting the best, most diverse and qualified talent as opposed to looking at "big 10" schools.

"If you want diversity, equity, and inclusion to be a core part of your talent acquisition strategy, focusing more on your virtual strategy than your in-person strategy will do wonders," she said.