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Job hunting and hiring during a pandemic

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With most of us finding ourselves back in lockdown, hiring and onboarding is going to carried out completely remotely for the time being.

If you're considering moving jobs this year, or are looking to hire new team members, the chances are that at least part (if not all) of the process will be carried out remotely.

For many people, this will be a completely new experience. So what' s it really like to start a new job remotely? Or to conduct an entire hiring process without meeting the new employee face to face?

We asked some of our candidates and clients to share their first-hand experience of job hunting and hiring during lockdown.

What's it like to start a new job entirely remotely?

Role: BD Manager in a Management Consultancy

How did you find the job-hunting process during the pandemic?

I found it quite frustrating at times as there were lots of jobs that were still being advertised but were no longer live vacancies due to Covid and subsequent hiring freezes.

How did you find the interview process experience over video call rather than face-to-face?

A lot less nerve-wracking than a face-to-face meeting. Video interviewing still allows you to really sell your services and experience but it’s definitely different.

What was the experience like, joining a new firm remotely?

I actually found it easier. Sometimes you can feel pressured in an office environment. Working remotely allowed me to pick up things at my own pace and my team are always at the other end of a MS Teams or Zoom call should I get stuck on anything.

What's it like to hire and onboard a new employee remotely?

Role: Recruitment Manager in a Global Accountancy Practice

In general, how have you found the remote recruitment process?

On the interview side, this has generally been very positive. The firm has been using Teams and we’ve had no problems with the technology. Partners have adapted well to this approach and candidate feedback has been favourable.

Remote onboarding has been interesting, really having to think about the employee experience and enabling people to be set up for success from day one.

Generally, this has gone well – there is an opportunity for new starters to have more dedicated time from Partners and an increased feeling of a ‘duty of care’ for new employees right across the firm.

Onboarding new hires remotely has also given us the opportunity to get the full induction process delivered in a more timely and focused way, which has resulted in new employees being up and running in their roles more quickly.

For example, a recent new fee earner that joined the business was able to complete their induction and mandatory training and be supporting on billable work within three days of joining the firm.

What challenges has hiring remotely created?

Candidates have not had the chance to ‘commute test’ their journey or to get a feel for the office vibe or see the physical workspace for themselves.

Whilst there is opportunity to work from an office location, this is currently limited to support employees whose mental health would benefit from being in an office environment or are not in a safe environment at home whilst the restrictions continue.

What has worked well and what might you keep doing once we see a return to a more ‘normal’ world?

The virtual interview process has given us the opportunity to have more people involved throughout the process, which has provided a real diversity of thought.

There has been more flexibility when scheduling interviews – it may well be that first stage interviews are carried out via video call in the future, as the feedback has been that this is a better use of everyone’s time, on both sides.

Conversely, the remote recruitment process has allowed people to be more ‘human’ as often there is a glimpse into people’s lives outside of the office whilst people remain working from home.

There has been more transparency across the whole process.

​Have you started a new job remotely? If so, we'd love to hear about your experience.
If you'd like to share your story or if you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

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