The world of securing a new role or hiring a new employee has been given a virtual makeover as many candidates and employees face their first day at a new job from their own homes.

I decided to put a blog series together each week where I have interviewed a candidate who has gone through a virtual interview and onboarding experience.

Both the candidates and employees have never met each other in person, not had the opportunity to see the offices or meet the team. At the best of times starting a new job or onboarding a new hire can be overwhelming as they integrate into the team and business.

I wanted to share the positive experiences of virtual interviewing and onboarding which I am hoping the broader community are able to resonate with.

Candidate 1: Remediation Marketing Manager, Insurance company (9-month contract)

Tell me about the interview process?

I was approached by Sally at Charterhouse as a mutual connection recommended me for a role she was recruiting. The interview with the client was straight-forward, one round of interview over the phone with my direct manager and one other stakeholder. As it wasn’t a video call, it really took the pressure off as I was able to fully focus on the answers and not overthink body language. The two people I interviewed with were great and it was an enjoyable interview.

Talk me through your onboarding process?

My hiring manager contacted me the week prior to me starting to discuss set up for the following week.

IT hardware was couriered out to arrive ideally on the first day and remote access using own computer was also set up in case it didn’t arrive until later in the week. Day one I ended up using my own computer, with remote login’s. I was given direct access to an individual in IT rather than going through a service desk which was great. My computer arrived on the second day, so I was able to move to their technology. I was included on working groups, had relevant packs sent through to me and the Team Coordinator provided me with details of the whole team and stakeholder matrix and where people sat within the organisation.

What mediums were used for your onboarding?

MS Teams, Webex and over the phone. It was great to have everything laid out on a spreadsheet, made it easier in a way than normal onboarding when you’re often just told names as and when you need to know them.

Tell me about your first few days?

Day 1 there was a lot of background reading of packs and team meetings to meet the relevant people. By the second day, my IT was fully set up, attended my first workshop and received my first task to deliver on. It was daunting but a good way to learn and was able to frequently check in with the hiring manager and project manager as to who to speak to and relevant processes

How have you been introduced to the team and stakeholders?

With the direct team we have connected through Zoom and other VC, we have team drinks at the end of the week where people are able to speak more personally and get to know one another. Some of the team also have started remotely so it has been great to share our experience and hear their advice on how they have adjusted to working from home. With other stakeholders, there have been a lot of calls and video conferencing with email follow up, it’s not been too different to starting a job in an office.

On reflection, what did the company do really well?

Firstly, having technology set up properly and direct contact within the IT team really made the set up so easy. Secondly, having all the team and stakeholder information ready so I knew who I was dealing with. They also had a Coordinator dedicated to helping onboard me and the duties weren’t ever palmed off to someone else. Finally, everyone has been so encouraging and understanding.

How did you need to adapt, what have you had to do differently?

The biggest difference is being comfortable to call people I’ve not spoken to or been introduced to, being unable to just pop by someone’s desk. Everyone is in the same position though, so calls don’t need to be scheduled and you can usually reach the people you need.

What advice do you have for employers/employees in the same situation?

For employers, make sure IT set up is good, a direct contact in IT rather than helpdesk makes all the difference. Also having a dedicated person to ensure the onboarding is completed properly is a great touch. For employees starting their role, have the confidence that you know how to do the role. You may not know the company, but you were hired for a reason, it may be a steep learning curve but throw yourself into it and you’ll be fine!