How to Navigate Hiring Challenges When the Rules and Environment Have Changed

by Mike O'Neill

COVID-19 has changed everything. You may be considering all of the benefits that come with offering your employees the flexibility to work from home full time, or you might even be considering shifting all of your operations online. 

From job postings, interviewing, hiring, and even onboarding, the virtual process has brought with it new challenges and headaches for you and your onboarding team to deal with. There are no experts now, and we’re all learning together. 

At Bench Builders, we’ve been helping companies just like yours adjust to this “new normal” (yeah, we’re all getting tired of that phrase.) Here are six steps you can take to navigate these new hiring challenges.

6 Steps to Hire and Onboard Remote Workers

1. Your Employer Brand Has to Be Attractive

Pre-pandemic, your employees had to make a strong impression on you to be considered for a role. They’d seek you out for various reasons —  maybe you were local to their dream home, or you were the best employer in the area. 

However, your employees are no longer bound by physical barriers. This means they can apply to jobs all over the nation (and world) and leave you behind in the dust. 

To ensure you’re getting the best possible candidate pool, you need to create an attractive brand. Your website and social media pages need to be top-notch because your prospective employees are going to research you now more than ever. 

You want your future employees to visualize working for you and see that job opportunity as a good thing. Pre-pandemic, stuff like your welcome desk and furniture said a lot about your company culture. Without that, your website and social media pages need to carry that brand identity for you. 

This even applies to what you might consider minor things. Think about what’s behind you when you’re on a Zoom call- your potential new hire will judge everything they see on the screen, and whatever they see should be reflective of your company’s brand. 

2. Job Opportunities Need to Impress

You have to think about the stiff competition you’re facing in this new world of remote work. Travel and location are irrelevant now. Remote employees have more power in finding a job that pays well and has good benefits and fits their needs as an employee. 

How are you supposed to grab the attention of a candidate, then? You need to ensure they have all the details from the beginning. Your job postings should be detailed, including an average salary, and detail the company benefits. 

While often you would save this information for the negotiation stages, you’re not likely to find quality candidates in a virtual market without these critical pieces of information. Now you are one of the hundreds of companies at your potential employee’s fingertips, and you need to show them there is a reason to choose your company over the competition. 

3. The Initial Interview Must Wow Them

In the past, the interview process was about making sure the candidates were a good fit for your company. But now, the candidates are wondering the same about you. They have choices, and they want to know if working for you is a good choice for them. 

You also are likely to be conducting the interview remotely. While you may be running parts of the interview using automated tools, don’t skip over the in-person, face-to-face interview. You can easily do this over Teams, Zoom, or other video conferencing software so you can see each other and gauge their reactions and so that they can gauge yours. 

Take the time to allow them to ask questions about you as well. The virtual interview should very closely mimic that of a face-to-face interview and offer plenty of opportunities for members of your team to be involved with the discussion, so you know if this person would be a good fit for your group. Your candidate gets to see themselves as part of a greater team and consider you more highly on their list of potential employers. 

Your interview should also consider that they’re suffering Zoom fatigue just a much as you are. While it might sound tempting to schedule an all-day meeting like you may have for in-person employees, remember that your potential employee is likely struggling on the computer just as much as you are. 

Scheduling in breaks for a stretch and water will help show your potential employee that you care about their physical and mental wellbeing, and again, put you up higher on your candidate’s list. 

4. Make Onboarding Simple

Once you’ve decided on a new candidate, you should make their hiring process as easy as possible. Prevent the headache of printing, scanning, and emailing documents and use some of the virtual tools at your disposal to handle this process. 

Once you’ve successfully hired a candidate, you should do your part to ensure they feel like a genuine member of your team. Try partnering them up with a peer who can mentor and train them on not only the “how-to” behind the job but on the work culture you have, too. Make sure they feel valued and included. 

Of course, you want to make sure they know how to access all of the remote work tools you use daily. Remember, not everyone is an expert in Slack and Microsoft Teams, so ensure that you’re taking the time to train them on things that you may find “obvious.” 

Make sure you also spend some time with the candidate on what it is you expect from them in the future. Are you planning on the new employee remaining remote forever, or are you anticipating moving them into an in-person role in the coming months? Make sure you make your expectations clear with your new hire. 

5. Provide Training Opportunities

It’s easy for remote employees to feel “stuck” in their current roles. Think of ways to prevent them from leaving your company after a few months for new and more exciting ventures. 

You can conduct training to let your employees move “up,” so to speak. Give your employees opportunities to learn and grow, and take the load off you and your overworked and overtired management team. 

Your employees, even the new ones, are eager to learn and grow within your company. To best utilize the virtual environment, don’t let them fall into a rut. Offer video training and even live training to ensure they’re getting the most out of their time with your company. If they have a career trajectory that they can visualize, they’re more likely to stick around even with all other opportunities out there.

6. Check-In with New Hires

After the initial training and onboarding period, reach out to your virtual workers from time to time and check in on them. They may be too nervous to reach out to you for issues or hiccups that, in an in-person environment, are easy for someone to notice when walking by an employee struggling at their desk. 

Mimic this office culture by reaching out, scheduling one-on-one meetings, and get to know your new employees. This also helps you see whether or not they’re meshing well with the rest of your workforce and that they’re meeting their professional goals.

Struggling Still?

We get it- onboarding in a virtual environment isn’t easy. However, there are resources out there that can help simplify this process and help you streamline your business models and tactics. 

We at Bench Builders are here to help. We can help train you and your recruitment team on all of the things you need to know about virtual recruitment and set your business up for success. 

Reach out to us today and let us help you get connected with the suitable candidates, no matter where in the world they may physically be.
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