Tips on How to Hire and Onboard Virtually During Social Distancing

It’s already mid-April, and by now, most of us are better than we ever thought we’d be at measuring 6 feet with just our eyes. 

In the era that will be bookmarked in history by social distancing, much has changed in our lives both personally and professionally. For the many organizations we know still need to add new talent to their teams, hiring and onboarding new employees without ever meeting them are one of those adjustments. 

While foregoing in-person interviews may seem a small sacrifice in light of current events, conducting an entire hiring process without sharing a room with a candidate can still present challenges to many organizations. 

We’re here to provide you with tips to help you feel confident you’re doing your usual due diligence while having to hire and onboard remotely. 

Pick your platform and get used to it

Whichever video conferencing tool you end up using internally, make sure to spend some quality time with it before you hold initial interviews. Get to know it: what it likes and doesn’t like, what it does well, what it doesn’t do as well as you’d like. 

While the majority of software out there is very user friendly and intuitive, there may be a couple of quirks that you need to sort through in the getting-to-know-one-another phase. 

Go through a mock interview with a colleague (or a bored housemate looking for something to do) and get comfortable with the interface and navigating the menus. Get used to talking to someone professionally with potentially a bit of lag in between dialogue and a mini-version of you staring back at you on some corner of the screen (if this is too big of a distraction, you can always turn it off!). Maybe practice your virtual handshake, or drum up some social distancing jokes to break the (six feet of) ice when you eventually interview a prospect.

Once you get used to interfacing with your chosen tech, set aside a dedicated space with a background free of visual distractions and where you can rely on having a conversation without being interrupted. It’s fine if you run into hiccups along the way, you just want to make sure they happen in-house first! After you feel comfortable with your video interviewing skills and space, it’s time to start figuring out how to use it to help with onboarding.

Leverage video conferencing to normalize the onboarding process

The first few weeks of any new employee’s job are highly impactful. They introduce themselves, meet the team, adorn their desk with personal touches, begin developing relationships with team members, and set out to achieve above and beyond expectations. 

This is also an important stretch for the employers. They have a chance to prove that all the attributes they promoted about their culture during the hiring process are indeed real, that they’re ready and willing to help their new hires acclimate, and begin any initial training necessary to set them up for success. 

But not being able to share the same office during this crucial time can make some organizations leery about how best to approach onboarding. 

Luckily, there are several ways to make this process feel pretty normal despite the circumstances. 

Send a care package: Though you can’t slap it directly on their desk right now, send a care package full of company swag to new hires before they start. You can throw in some handwritten well wishes too from other team members to show off a little bit of your culture and help them feel welcome. 

Schedule regular video meetings: Now, you get to show off your newfound prowess with your video conferencing software. Aside from the initial welcome meeting, it’s a good idea to schedule short meetings (even 15 minutes is enough) as often as you can during the first few weeks to help new hires feel welcome and start to build rapport with their teams. 

Establish a regular check-in cadence: Since we don’t have the option of rolling across to their desk, or leaning on their cubicle Bill Lumbergh style to see how they’re coming along, it’s important for management to establish a regular video meeting cadence with new hires early on to address any issues or concerns. 

While carrying out the hiring and onboarding process virtually is certainly less ideal than what’s traditional, taking small steps like these can help ensure it feels as normal and comprehensive as possible for both you and the new hire. 

RHM Staffing Solutions

Finding it hard to confidently hire the talent you need in these challenging times? You’re not alone, and RHM Staffing Solutions is here to help. 

Our team of dedicated recruiters has the networks and industry know-how required to help great organizations find great manufacturing, light industrial, and engineering talent.
Give us a call today to learn how we can do it for you.