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.

We have put a blog series together each week where we have interviewed a candidate who has gone through a virtual interview or onboarding experience.

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. All businesses are unique, so the onboarding process is paramount in ensuring the new hire’s success. I wanted to share the positive experiences of virtual onboarding which I am hoping the broader market are able resonate with.

Candidate 3: Senior Data Scientist, Permanent hire

Tell me about the interview process?

I was approached by Mark at Charterhouse for a role very suited to my background and, after a great chat, I was all set for my first interview. Although my interview process was pre-social distancing, I actually conducted all rounds remotely due to me living in a different state at the time, so it was almost a test run of things to come. The entire process was conducted through zoom and take-home technical challenges and went very smoothly.

Talk me through your onboarding process

Full work from home was only brought in for my department a week before my start date so there was a bit of a scramble that week to deal with all the sudden changes arising from Covid-19. Luckily my manager was able to meet me in the office a few days early and provide me with my laptop. He was a huge help and managed to get me set up with everything in a couple of hours and provide me with access and logins for everything I would need for working remotely.

What mediums were used for your onboarding?

Zoom and Microsoft Teams were the two main mediums. All my introductory meetings and training were conducted through video calls.

Tell me about your first few days

My first few days were mostly taken up with training and introductory video calls. Training consisted of getting up to speed with both my immediate role and the business at large so it was great to meet people from different departments and take in as much knowledge as possible.

How have you been introduced to the team and stakeholders?

All meetings, aside from a brief in-person meeting with my manager, were conducted through video calls and Teams chat. This took either the form of a group call or a one-one. Both were great for getting to know people. The group calls are great for getting a feel of the company and how the culture is, and the one-on-one calls are great for properly getting to know people – something that can be more difficult from a distance.

On reflection, what did the company do really well?

The company handled all of the sudden changes very well, and quickly put measures in place to not only take care of their current employees but also to take care of incoming employees. Nothing can compare to getting to know your team in person, but the company went to great lengths to compensate for this in the form of group video calls for coffee or after work drinks. There have also been a series of talks and lunch-and-learns within the company to help employees with any extra stresses they may be facing with the current uncertainty.

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

As my onboarding situation changed so quickly due to forces beyond anyone’s control, I also had to quickly adapt, accept the situation, and make it work as best as possible for me. As my role is particularly technical and requires a lot of collaboration, we quickly had to come with methods to make it work remotely. We identified a multitude of tools which may not have been needed in a regular situation but were essential given these circumstances.

Although my onboarding expectations were very much disrupted by Covid-19, I did my best to think of the situation as a new skill to be learned. Remote working can have a very steep learning curve, coming from a traditional office environment, but the ability to work from a distance is going to become more and more essential in the aftermath of the current situation. I feel that my company had the same mindset, and worked very hard to put lasting measures in place to facilitate this, rather than just implementing temporary stop-gaps until things could return to normal.

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

My main advice would be to identify the big things, but also the small things, which may be missing due to the current lack of real social interaction and attempt to compensate for these as much as possible given the tools available to us. Communication is hugely important, not only the formal stuff but also the informal little chats, so its essential to try and enact those from a distance if they can’t be conducted in person.

For more information on these insights or if you are interested in sharing your own experiences please feel free to write comments or contact me at