How to interview and onboard new hires remotely in midst of COVID-19

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the Canadian economy was performing solidly, with near record-low unemployment. Many companies were experiencing labour shortages, fiercely competing for skilled talent.

With 2020 budgets already approved and plans for the year well underway, not all hiring can grind to a halt in the face of concerns about the virus. So, how can you safely engage with candidates while still protecting everyone’s health and safety?

Abolish in-person meetings

With modern technology, there is no need to bring people physically together for face-to-face job interviews. Phone interviews have long been used to screen candidates and serve as the first round of the interviewing process. The next step is generally an in-person meeting to determine a candidate’s demeanour, communication style, and presentation.

Fortunately, all of those factors can be observed through a video interview. There are numerous platforms available – both paid and free – for connecting with people in high quality video. Consider Skype, Zoom, Facetime, Google Hangouts, or Webex, just to name a few.

Once you have determined the video platform that works for you, that same technology can be leveraged for training, orientation, and meetings. Teamwork and collaboration are essential for business success, and communication is more vital than ever when people are working remotely.

Communicate your brand

Remember that engaging with candidates is a two-way street. As much as you are assessing their qualifications and fit for the role and team, they are determining whether or not they actually want to work for you.

Remote engagement that that demonstrates how you are prioritising the health and safety of your staff – and the potential candidate – can send a powerful message about how you are a people-first organization.

Test your video connection and play close attention to your surroundings when you connect with the candidate. If you are easily distracted or constantly interrupted, it can send a negative message – just as it would in a face-to-face job interview.

Try to arrange a cheerful backdrop, proper lighting, and maintain a positive, friendly demeanour. The candidate will be analyzing everything they see in the video to evaluate the workplace environment.

Onboard remotely

While companies are asking as many people as possible to work from home during the COVID-19 crisis, it would be ill-advised to suddenly bring everyone in to meet their new coworker. Fortunately, the same technology that makes remote working practical can be an onboarding solution as well.

Ensure that your new hire is equipped with the communications tools they need. If they are receiving a laptop, you can set it up with all of the communications technologies your team uses to stay connected. This may include company email, team messaging platform, video conferencing software, and any other tools or apps you use.

Create an informal video welcoming your new hire, maybe even do a walk through of the office to show them the work environment and even their eventual workstation. Preload the video on their laptop and send out a care package with all their welcome kit. Including any company-branded items – or swag- that you have can help a new person feel like part of the team.

Arrange a video conference involving all of the team members they will be working directly with so everyone can virtually meet and put a face to a name. This connectivity genuinely enhances collaboration between people.

Messaging, video conferences, email, and phone all allow people to stay in touch and work collaboratively in real-time. Screen sharing, webinars, virtual conferences make training and onboarding just as effective remotely as it would be in person.

You don’t want to put the health and safety of your existing staff at risk in order to engage with the new talent you need to grow your business. Fortunately, with careful planning and the strategic use of technology, you don’t have to.

Stay save, everyone!

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