In March, Covid-19 arrived from out of nowhere, grabbed a hold of the world and gave it one almighty shake. Six months on, while it remains unknown as to how and when we’ll overcome the virus in full, what is extremely clear is its impact on businesses everywhere and a shrunken economy both locally and globally.

Of course, some sectors have been less affected than others, enjoying growth during a time when others have struggled. And the good news is, many are now going full steam ahead on recruiting the additional staff required to help facilitate that growth. But this is recruitment with a difference: Covid-19 style, complete with social distancing and, in some cases, no designated place of work at the end of it!

Now, to many companies this whole recruiting virtually thing is old hat. Think large corporations who regularly hire internally or externally from an overseas talent pool. Or smaller companies who have a niche role to fill and know the skills needed are common in a specific location offshore. And yet, even for those with a history in hiring virtually, the chances are most will have been placing those hires into an in-house role where their on-boarding process was 100% physical.

So, just how should companies with no experience in recruiting remotely find the best people? And… how can new hires expect to find a role that sounds perfect, land it, and then carry it out from home? Here’s the 1-2-1 guide for those hiring AND those hunting for work virtually!

First, for all you EMPLOYERS out there!

Tackling the Talent Search

To be fair, your new hire hunting process may not need to change to a great deal, with much of it already done via virtual means: posting your job ads to popular job and social sites, although what might be new to you is the type of roles you’re now looking to recruit. For example, temporary workers could be favoured over permanent roles while you assess whether the current growth is only short-term. Or, if you are now recruiting solely for home-based roles, having a preference for candidates with a proven background in remote working may mean a tweak or two to your search criteria.

Virtual Meet n’ Greets

With first round interviews often conducted over the phone by your HR team, in-house or plug in, it’s often when you reach the second stage interview where you’ll meet your candidate in the flesh which nowadays means a video call to facilitate the interview. For more senior roles, even a third interview - or second video call – might be necessary. Be sure to set the expectation with your candidate as to your process and what you want from them – whether it’s an informal chat, a series of set questions, or a presentation – allowing them the opportunity to prepare in full, making the most of their and your time on the call. You may even choose to have them pre-record a video of themselves to remove any added pressure of presenting virtually, which can be extremely difficult to those who feel conscious in front of a camera. For some candidates who have been on Furlough since March – this may be the first time they have been in a work ‘environment’ for a while and may lack initial confidence.

Onboarding 101

So, you’ve found the person to wear the cap, you’ve made your offer and they have accepted. What comes next is absolutely critical for you to get spot on, and that’s the onboarding. Your new hire wants to feel valued immediately, which can be much tougher to achieve from their home office, without their new team around them. At a minimum, ensure each of the following form a part of your onboarding process:

• Provide a brief tour of the office over video (using someone who is already office-based); or, use a pre-recorded video for this purpose – and if your new hire will eventually become office-based, you may want to dress their desk with a big ‘Welcome’ sign!

• Just as you would physically, set up virtual meetings with all relevant company personnel so your hire meets everyone they need to within the first few days of their coming on board.

• Organise a virtual lunch together or a ‘pens down’ get-together at 4pm on Friday where you host a quiz for the team; better still, throw an ether-based welcome party where everyone in the team gets the opportunity to say “Hi!” in a relaxed, out of hours setting (albeit from home!)

Oh… and don’t forget to stay in touch in between sending the ‘Great to have you with us!’ letter and your hire actually commencing with work. Imagine they had to give notice to their prior job and now find themselves sitting for four weeks of garden leave wondering when they will hear from you next, only to find their next communication comes on day 1 of the job. Not exactly an ideal impression to give!

Now… it’s the EMPLOYEES turn!

Preparing for (online) Interviews

First thing to remember – which is no different whatsoever to any hiring process: do your research! Be sure to spend plenty of time finding out more about your prospective employer using online resources such as their website, company LinkedIn profile or social media channels. As much as it can help prep you on any questions the hiring manager may throw your way during an interview, it’s a great way to ensure you are clear on your reasons for wanting to work with them – an exercise all the better when done in advance of signing on the dotted line!

Suiting-up for Success

At the minute, you’ll find many companies are conducting their interviews by video call. However, unlike your online pub quiz or chat with your friends and family, sitting in your PJs won’t cut it! Regardless of your role, you’re looking to create a good impression at the very first glance and need to present yourself accordingly; which, for most physical interviews would mean professional attire (a suit, or a dress/skirt and blouse) and smart appearance as an absolute minimum. Besides, you’ll need to get back into work-wear once you leave your own walls – best to get into good habits early!

Interview location

So, you’ve got your interview date and time sorted and received your invite from the hiring team. Happy days. Remember, different organisations will have a preferred platform for video calls – it could be Teams, Zoom, Google Meet, to name a few of many apps emerging onto the market. Make sure you have the chosen platform pre-installed and ready to go well ahead of your interview; the last thing you need prior to your big moment is a tech issue throwing you off kilter. Download it, test it out and feel familiar with it to save arriving ‘late’ to your interview and leaving your prospective employer with an impression you were hoping not to. Position you and your tech in a clear area, preferably against a blank wall, or create a simple backdrop for the call.

Your Dress Rehearsal

Let’s be honest, you’re likely going to feel an element of pressure on the day – a completely natural part of the interview process – just imagine the added pressure that comes from the technical side of presenting virtually. Unless you’re completely at ease in front of a camera, it’s a good idea to take some time practising your interview technique with a friend or family member over the wire before you go into the lion’s den for real. While practising, check out where to look on the screen so you’re speaking directly with the person interviewing you - not gazing off into space somewhere.

Permanently Remote?

Good news! You got the gig! So, what now? Are you actually going to work from the company’s premises? If yes, is this expected every day or part-time? Or will the role be a remote-based one even when Covid-19 is all done with? These are great questions to ask your prospective employer upon receiving your offer, most certainly before you accept it, so you are clear on the ongoing expectations in terms of your place of work. While many people love the idea of remote working, they find this quite difficult in practise and miss being in the close proximity of their team. Make sure the arrangements both short and long-term suit you as much as they suit your employer, since this is key to your productivity, wellbeing and retention.

One to One Recruitment specialises in recruiting for any role, from anywhere. If you’re looking for a helping hand with your online hiring and onboarding process, talk to our real team of people – by video call – today!