Editor’s note: This is a guest post co-authored by Sheila Cassidy, Director of Operations and Asad Zaman, Managing Director at Sales Talent Agency, one of North America’s leading sales recruitment companies. Learn more about their outsourcing solution at the end of this post.

At a time when so many businesses are reducing their workforce, it’s important to remember that’s not the case everywhere. Some businesses are actually surging in the crisis and are actively looking to hire new employees to ramp up their growth. Of course, with everyone working from home, hiring and onboarding new team members can be a challenge. Without the benefit of face-to-face interactions, you’ve got to get creative and leverage the right technology to ensure that you’re making good decisions and setting new hires up for success.

Let’s look at some tips you can follow to get the best results if you’re trying to hire and onboard new team members remotely.

1. Rethink your ideal candidate profile

We all know the qualities that we’re looking for in an ideal hire. Among other things, they need to have the right background and skills, and be a great cultural fit. But in the age of COVID-19, it’s critical to reconsider what your ideal candidate profile looks like so that it reflects the new normal. Specifically, that means looking for people who are resourceful, who thrive working from home, and who can seamlessly adapt to changing circumstances.

2. Make up for lost intimacy in interviews

While video interviews make perfect sense, they do have their limitations. For example, they mean candidates miss out on the intimacy that they would typically get meeting you in person. They won’t have the opportunity to come to your office, to get a sense of your company culture, or to even informally meet members of the team as part of the interviewing process. All of these interactions are essential for helping candidates decide if they want to come work for you.

To get around this limitation, humanize your interviews as much as possible and try to create that sense of intimacy in a different way. For example, you might reveal a bit more about your personal life by, for example, introducing them to your pets, or to your spouse or your kids if they happen to be in the room with you. Since you can’t give them an inside look at your company, sharing a little bit more of your personal life can help make up for it so that you can bridge the digital divide.

3. Be prepared to answer questions about the health of your business

COVID-19 has impacted almost every aspect of the economy, so it makes sense that any candidate exploring new opportunities will be curious about the health of your business. 

Ultimately, potential new hires are trying to hedge their bets. They don’t want to take a new role, only to see their job security in jeopardy a few months down the road. Making a career move is a big decision, and one that will have a major impact on the person you are interviewing. Be honest and transparent with candidates and don’t sugarcoat the situation. Make sure to also articulate why you’re hiring right now and why those roles are important for the company’s long-term success.

4. Take care planning their first few days

Setting your new hire up for success takes more than just good intentions. You also need a solid plan. The first thing you’ll want to do is have an onboarding lead whose job is to ensure that things are executed properly. You will likely have a lot of people involved in the onboarding process, but one person should be responsible for the overall communication and quality control to ensure accountability and avoid confusion. 

Before your new hire starts, make sure to:

  • Prepare a schedule that clearly maps out what their first week will look like 
  • Ensure that everyone involved in the onboarding process is aware of your new hire’s schedule and knows what they are responsible for 
  • Set the expectation to the onboarding facilitators that all training should be done via video conferencing 
  • Send calendar invites that clearly outline what will be covered, how to prepare for the session, and conference call details
  • Consider investing in onboarding and enablement solutions so that the process runs smoothly, feels professional, is engaging and scalable (see below)

5. Engage new hires with your team

Beyond your regular morning check-ins, host a fun and creative meet and greet so that your team can get to know the new hire. There are so many innovative apps, such as jackbox.tv and house party, that will help you create a social vibe so that people can get to know each other in a more relaxed virtual setting, almost as if they were grabbing drinks after work. Another great idea is to host a remote team lunch using Uber Eats and video conferencing. Plan to organize an event like this during your new hire’s first week so that they can meet their team members and start to feel like they are part of the organization.

6. Touch base often

When you work in an office, it’s easy to casually check in with your team’s progress throughout the day or to simply say “my door is always open, so let me know if you need any help.” In a work from home scenario, neither of those options is possible. Instead, you should schedule daily touch points with your new hire, focusing your conversations around their goals for the day. Try to be specific about the goal. If you’ve hired a sales rep who’s looking to make 30 calls today, what exactly does he or she want to get out of those 30 calls? Getting aligned on what your new hire is trying to accomplish is key.

7. Tap into technologies to help

There are many technologies you can use to interview, onboard, and stay engaged with your employees. Below is a list of ones that you may want to consider:

Technology Interviewing Onboarding Engagement
Webex X X X
GoToMeeting X X
Google Hangouts and Google Forms X X X
Zoom X X
DocuSign and PandaDoc X
Showpad X X
Microsoft Teams X X
Qualtrics’ Remote Work Pulse Solution  X X
Salesforce’s Quip  X X

Final thoughts

Adapting to the realities of work from home isn’t easy, but remember, we’re all in the same boat. Do your best to plan as much as possible and then forgive yourself (and your team) for any inevitable oversights and mistakes. If you can be thoughtful in your approach to remote hiring and onboarding, and focus on strong execution and great communication, you’ll be ahead of the game. Then it’s just a matter of reflecting on how you can improve over time and making adjustments quickly. 


Sales Talent Agency’s “Rent-a-Recruiter” Outsourcing Solution

Sales Talent Agency, North America’s leading sales recruitment company, is pleased to introduce the newest and most flexible way to engage our services with a fully outsourced “Rent-a-Recruiter” solution. With the most proven team in sales recruitment, you now have the ability to rent Sales Talent Ageny’s expert recruitment team on a weekly basis, offering a flexible and cost effective solution to fulfilling your critical talent management needs, when you have them, and how you need them.  Recent Rent-A-Recruiter case-study: Clearbanc

Contact Sonya Meloff / sonya@salestalentagency.com / 416.904.4379 to learn more.