Navigating the new world: Recruiting and on-boarding new staff during lockdown

Melanie Astbury, HR manager at Cartridge Save

woman remote working on video conference callBusiness never stands still – not even in a pandemic. Throughout the Coronavirus lockdown, companies have had to find new ways to navigate the hiring and onboarding process without face-to-face interaction.

For both businesses and job applicants, it has often been a new experience and presented several challenges to do with technology and logistics.

The lockdown has turned remote hiring into a necessity. Even as businesses attempt to return to pre-pandemic normality, many are continuing to follow this practice for the foreseeable future. This is often to do with safety concerns, but in many cases companies have seen its benefits – businesses don’t need to limit themselves to the local area, candidates are available throughout the day rather than the usual before and after work slots, and often the process requires less of a time commitment.

How has business recruitment adapted during the pandemic?

Melanie Astbury, HR manager at Cartridge Save says, “We were able to quickly adapt to virtual hiring. It can be strange at the beginning to not see someone in person and shake their hand, but it soon becomes normal. What this situation has enabled us to do is widen our search and hire the right talent – even if they’re located in a different city.”

Regardless of whether recruiting is in person or through video conferencing technology, businesses need a robust recruiting procedure which ensures the best person for the job has the opportunity to prove themselves and get the position.

However, even if the company has made a great hire, there still needs to be a carefully planned on-boarding procedure that ensures new recruits understand the job requirements, as well as the business culture and expected behaviours.

Making your CV stand out to employers

With the recent rise in unemployment, there is a lot of competition for every job on the market. It is therefore incredibly important that you craft a CV and cover letter that captures attention quickly.

With people desperate for work, people are often applying for jobs in large volumes without carefully reading the job application. The most important thing you can do to land an interview is show that you have read the vacancy description and you have tailored your application to the role. Carefully structure your CV so that the most relevant topics are positioned near the top, catching the employers’ attention at the first glance.

Creating an impactful CV can take a lot of time and numerous revisions. Employers often skim read CVs, so you’ll want to pay close attention to the structure and ensure that they can navigate their way through the CV with ease to see your relevant skills.

Discover how to write a killer CV and make your application stand out from the crowd.

A guide to onboarding and starting a new job during a pandemic 

Onboarding 

Onboarding new staff remotely is one of the toughest challenges businesses face. Recruitment takes time and once you’ve found the ideal candidate, you want to ensure they have all the tools needed to succeed in their new role.

Melanie Astbury, HR Manager at Cartridge Save said “My initial concern was around how training would translate into video conferencing. Sharing screens means you don’t always have eye contact with the person and, as such, it’s harder to tell if they’ve properly understood what you’ve told them. It’s important you follow up training with a task which can test what they’ve learned. Despite some reservations, in nearly every case the person has understood and been able to carry out the job at hand.”

Remote onboarding needs to be carefully planned out and implemented. Once you’ve conducted initial training online, it’s important that you:

·  Arrange daily meetings to set agendas and expectations

·  Regularly review work – this can be done via screen sharing or call listening to ensure they’re completing tasks correctly

·  Set tasks – this will enable you to understand how your new starter is adapting and will also highlight areas to improve on with additional training

·  Create a safe space for feedback – it’s hard to build rapport from a distance, but if you encourage your new starters to ask for advice, help and guidance from the start, you’ll be able resolve issues before they become problems

There will come a time when you will want to introduce your new starters to their actual workspace, or even conduct part of their induction in-house.

It’s important to remember that for some people, entering a new environment at this time could cause anxiety, so it makes sense to provide clear guidelines on how you’re keeping staff and workspaces safe during the pandemic.

For Employees

Starting in a new job

Prepare for a different type of onboarding. The logistics and policies at your new company may be different from what you are used to and to some extent untested. Consider reaching out in advance so you know exactly how the process will run and what you have to prepare for.

Since you are likely to be working remotely, you can’t have the immediate interaction with your managers and colleagues compared to if you were sharing the same workplace. The best way to deal with this is to be proactive and keep talking. Not only will this ensure you understand your new requirements, but it will reassure your managers that you are working hard and have everything in hand.

Constant communication is vital for understanding a new role and integrating yourself as a member of the team. Find out how everyone prefers to communicate, whether it be email, Slack, or through video conferencing. This will make it easier for everyone to get to know one another and relate to each other on a personal level.

Starting a new job remotely can be a challenge, especially when everyone is dealing with the uncertainty around the global pandemic. However, give it time and you’ll soon feel comfortable in your new role and part of the team.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTheCity has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here

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