These past two weeks have undoubtedly been the most uncertain time for a huge proportion of us out there. However, for me, and a handful of others, we have had a positive week! Recruiting remotely and on boarding a new employee to a business is 100% possible – and we have the proof.
This week, I had the opportunity to interview a candidate that recently started a new job and also interview their new manager.
First up, we have the candidate (a Content Marketing Manager), who talks openly about starting a new job remotely, working from home and advice for those who are looking for a new job.
As you were about to start a new role, within a new company, what were your first initial thoughts when the working from home announcement had been made?
I had been working from home during the last week of my previous role, so I had already started to adjust in that sense. However, contemplating the idea of working from home while starting a new position was naturally a little more daunting!
Generally speaking, I've never been overly keen on working from home beyond a day or two here and there, so I knew I was going to have to adapt my typical ways of working for the next few weeks at least.
As a new employee, how did the business adapt to on boarding you remotely and how has this been different to other processes?
When you arrive at a new office on your first day, beyond the initial meeting and greeting everyone in your team, there tends to be a process whereby you arrange face time with relevant stakeholders and get to know who does what in the business and how their roles will play a part in your own day-to-day work life.
Trying to do this remotely is naturally challenging, but the business have really stepped up in terms of accommodating myself into the team at what is a particularly unusual time for everybody involved.
The onboarding process really began the week before I was due to start, which involved keeping me in the loop with the plan-of-action through phone calls from HR and the head of marketing, with reassurance that my start date was still going ahead as planned despite the evolving national situation throughout the week.
The COO of the company also delivered my work laptop to my house so that I had something to work with when starting on the Monday, which I thought was a really nice touch and showed that they were as keen as I was to get me started.
First thing on Monday morning I was contacted again by the head of marketing, who made sure I was all set up on the system and had access to my e-mails. I already had several meeting invites in my inbox, the most valuable of which has been the daily 10am 'stand-up' Zoom calls, which consists of everyone in the team communicating via video/microphone link to discuss WIP and check in with each other.
It has been your first week in your new job, what have you found challenging and how have you and the company overcome these challenges?
One of the biggest challenges when arriving at a new company, particularly remotely, is all of the unknown aspects of your new role; Who does what in the team? How will I get up to speed with the tools I need to do my job? Will I be able to settle in quickly and build good working relationships? What are the current challenges in terms of daily processes etc?
In reality, all of these initial queries are as quickly answered remotely as they are in a physical office environment - perhaps quicker. I got much of the information I needed about the current state-of-play across the business from the morning updates, as these also involved the most senior members of the company communicating the latest news about the current situation and what it means specifically for our team.
With everyone having a chance to comment, we then run through actions for the day and answer any queries anyone in the team may have in real-time, and usually with everyone in the 'room' that you would possible need to answer any questions.
In terms of settling into the team and learning the ropes, there have been plenty of one-on-one introductory sessions with stakeholders and also breakout work groups, also conducted through Zoom, which have allowed me to quickly get to know everyone and understand what is required of me in the role.
What have been the benefits to working from home and on boarding remotely in your new job?
Personally speaking, settling into a new office and getting to know an entirely new team can be a little nerve-wracking. When onboarding remotely, it does allow you to ease into things a bit more than you may otherwise do in a busy office environment.
Because everyone else is working remotely too, your diary ends up being planned quite far in advance so that there is a clear structure to every day, which allows you to reflect and plan ahead in a way that might not always be possible when you consider how many impromptu meetings can often take place within a physical office space.
The flexibility of not having to drive to work has also been a big plus, saving me plenty of petrol money!
As you can imagine in the current climate, many candidates are holding off searching for a new role. What would your advice be to those who were in processes, interviewing and joining a new business remotely?
It may sound like a cliched phrase, but I think the idea that chaos breeds opportunity is particularly relevant given current circumstances. I would still encourage candidates to keep up their job search, as there are companies out there that are still recruiting, even within sectors that may be perceived as most challenging at the moment, as has been the case with my own experience by re-entering the travel industry.
While looking for a new job in the current climate may have proved especially difficult in the past, the technology available to us today means business are having to adapt and overcome many a logistical problem. For example, first stage interviews can be conducted by video call, and I have now experienced first hand how joining a business can work well remotely.
It is important not to give up, as none of us can be sure when 'normal' life will resume, so take the time out to work on your CV, practice your interview technique, collate a portfolio of past work, and be ready to hit the ground running when the time comes!
In my next blog, the candidate’s manager speaks about recruiting remotely, on boarding digitally, and their advice to those who are looking to bring on new employees. You can read the interview HERE
If you are in need for any more advice regarding remote recruitment and a chat about the current digital market, please contact Faye Dixon at Forward Role.