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10 tips on remote hiring and onboarding during COVID-19


With the vast majority of professionals currently and indefinitely working from home, we are all living through the dramatic effect COVID-19 is having on our society. As some industries like travel and hospitality grind to a complete halt; others such as FMCG, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and logistics, are experiencing extreme levels of demand. 

Hiring for essential positions simply cannot stop because of the new remote working arrangements across the globe. This requires businesses to get creative with their recruitment and onboarding processes. 

Here are 10 tips for recruiting and onboarding remotely  

1. Virtual interviews

Interview candidates using one of the many video conferencing applications out there such as Skype, Zoom or WebEx. These are often easier and more efficient than face to face interviews, as you can follow the same or similar format you would use in a face to face interview, with the added benefit of saving time. 

2. Shorten the recruitment process, including interview stages 

Try to keep the stages in the recruitment process to a minimum and decision making quick – top talent with essential skills in key worker industries are in high demand; if you have long recruitment processes, you are more than likely going to lose the candidate to another business. 

3. Make HR paperwork digital

Move away from printing and posting signed contracts, which can be time consuming and often impossible in a remote working environment. Use an e-signing tool such as DocuSign or HelloSign so that employees can sign digitally and quickly share contracts with you in a secure environment. 

4. Help your new employee to get started with the right tech

Arrange for any hardware to be delivered, or software to be remotely installed on their devices via your IT department before their scheduled start date. Have IT and the line manager help them set up what they may need, including: work-related software, tools required by your IT department (antivirus, password managers etc.), team collaboration platforms (chat, file sharing etc.). Also make sure their webcam, microphone and sound-card work for video conferencing capability. 

5. Communicate company culture

As it is more difficult for new employees to absorb the company’s work culture remotely, it is important to be proactive and introduce them to the company’s values and culture early on. A good remote introduction to the business should include: a breakdown of the company values, a high level description of the company (history, milestones, mission statement, business goals etc.), and a code of conduct (regarding commitment, inclusiveness, communication etc.). Share any employee literature that’s available, such as an employee handbook, company presentations etc.  

6. New team and key stakeholder introductions

A vital part of the remote onboarding process is to integrate the new employee into the team and business, and have them feel comfortable and welcome. One-on-one and/or group video or conference calls would be a good way to make these introductions. Ongoing communication is key, such as monthly budget meetings, team meetings, weekly catch-ups with the line manager etc. Having a closer relationship with someone inside the company from the start will ease the new employee’s anxiety and increase their engagement.

7. Arrange IT & role specific training

To effectively train remote workers, use interactive training courses where possible.
Utilise screen sharing tools such as Skype or Join.Me. Engage relevant trainers and buddies such as IT staff, line managers, subject matter experts, and ensure regular follow-ups are made.  

8. Help your new employee to communicate easily and effectively 

Describe the best ways to contact team members and how to troubleshoot communication technology, such as company email, group messaging tool, video conferencing tool, web phone application etc. Different team members may like to communicate in different ways. It would also be worth having a conversation on what content is appropriate and not appropriate to share via the different mediums.

9. Set specific goals and expectations 

Remote workers should not wait until their manager is online to learn what their next tasks are. Make sure hiring managers develop and share a task calendar with their teams; define short and long-term goals and expectations; schedule weekly one-on-one meetings to discuss projects, or how they can help to resolve potential issues.

10. Continuously answer their questions and keep communication lines open

New hires are usually anxious about their role and responsibilities. This is exacerbated for remote employees, who have the added disadvantage of needing to figure out many procedures and best practices on their own. When onboarding remote employees, you should aim to put them at ease by answering questions that many new hires are afraid to ask, (e.g. regarding vacation policies, bonuses, reimbursement procedures etc.). Leave some time towards the end of your onboarding program to gather feedback from your remote worker, and have team leaders do a Q&A session with them.

Coronavirus is undoubtedly impacting the way we do businesses right now. While we navigate the changes and take precautions - leveraging technology, making prompt decisions and onboarding effectively can help you maintain some of your best practices and achieve already stretched business requirements. 

If you would like more advice on remote hiring, or on the hiring market in Leeds in general, please do get in touch on



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