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  • TaraThurber

How To: Hiring Remotely in 2020 DC (During COVID)

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

As we begin to peer into the future, it seems that there will be a difference between the way the United States operated before COVID (BC), and how our country will go about transitioning past the pandemic. The American way of life in both business and personal capacities is subject to change like never before. The average company’s hiring process is one system that has been flipped upside down in 2020 DC (During COVID).

The landscape we are currently navigating hosts a remote workforce of 34%, according to a recent MIT Study. As a result, companies across our nation and around the globe have begun to push forward and hire new employees virtually, rather than gamble with the health of new candidates and current employees. As employers, employees, and job seekers continue onward, we’ve taken notice to what’s been working while the hiring process has turned virtual…

Remote Interviews

It’s become necessary to conduct initial interviews over the phone or via video chat whether a job is “essential” (requires a new hire work in a brick-and-mortar location), “non-essential” (fully remote), or somewhere in between. Hiring managers aren’t necessarily asking for anything new. However, candidates are expected to prove their worth by updating their LinkedIn profile, revising a website of sample experience, and completing online assessments.


Remote interviews often give candidates more time to research the company and to tailor their resume to the position. However, the situation also gives hiring managers a potentially bigger candidate pool—a recipe for fierce job competition. After a remote interview is all done, the lasting impression will have been made by a candidate who has the necessary skills, who nailed the interview process, and who demonstrated willingness to make a personal connection despite the virtual nature of the interaction.


Health Checks

It’s no secret that every organization has had to ramp up sterilization and employee health protocol in the last few months. During the hiring process and depending on the “essential” nature of the job, candidates may have to meet in-person. Hiring managers have had to keep in touch with candidates to ensure they aren’t experiencing any virus symptoms. What’s more, businesses have had to publish guidelines for working in office: staggered office days for staff, use of masks and thermometers, etc.

Health check-ins are now also part of company’s onboarding for new employees. Businesses give mental and physical health suggestions for employees working remotely as well as in-office. Onboarding documents may promote: “Mental Health for the Remote Employee” or “Staying Fit During Quarantine.” Hiring managers and business owners must be cognizant of mental and physical health more than ever before—hopefully making positive changes in the standard American lifestyle.


Remote Onboarding

For hiring managers, onboarding their new employee just got more difficult. Hiring a candidate now requires necessary tools like company laptops to be mailed, new onboarding curriculum to be created, etc. To the employee’s chagrin, the onboarding packets that were once allowed to be explained in-person are now required reading. What’s more, key contacts for any new hire will have to be introduced electronically. Many companies have started doing weekly video calls or networking lunches in order to stay connected.

Any new hire (remote or in-office) needs plenty of support in the first three months of employment. Online systems training through video conferencing or recorded video has been the standard. Companies have come to understand what tasks are accomplished best when digitally onboarding a new employee and they’ve noticed where limitations lie. Remote onboarding is still all about setting goals to get that new employee up to speed in a fast and efficient manner.


Setting Standards for Communication

Employees both new and senior have had to set new standards for communication—especially when it comes to working remote. Managers have had to set guidelines that are being learned and tweaked on a daily basis. The manager’s goal is to get employees productive, offer support, but also avoid the temptation to micro-manage.


The number one way to combat remote work restrictions: plan ahead. Many businesses are finding that pro-active communication is the solution. It’s obvious that during “quarantine” employees are near a computer. However, keeping the work/life balance is important—employees must feel like they aren’t always on the clock (even if they technically could be). In order to make this a reality, hiring managers have had to plan in advance for key communication times. When onboarding a new employee, for example, a hiring manager might set a video call each week where “no question is a dumb question” and the new hire can fire off any issue they’ve had. Setting standards around when to communicate and what to chat about is important as people transition to a remote work world that is being refined as it is being travelled.