01 Jun 2020

The last couple of months have been very strange, many of us in the recruitment, marketing and creative industries have had to deal with colleagues being furloughed, remote working and even onboarding new starters into a team they might not have met! 

We’ve heard from many clients and businesses who want to recruit new talent but are nervous about performing the entire recruiting and onboarding process remotely.

These are natural concerns, it is a big decision and many are worried about not getting someone of the right cultural fit and the difficulties of onboarding them remotely and making them feel at ease and in general keeping morale high within their team. But with everyone who can still work from home being encouraged to do so for the foreseeable future; this is something we are having to all get used to. We have seen plenty of clients manage the process successfully and of course, we're here to help you. 

A lot has been written about how to deal with remote working and onboarding, but there are just a few things that we have seen work well and from our own experience at Stopgap. 

Recruiting Remotely

There is no doubt that the current situation has made recruiting new members of your team more difficult, at least practically, but there are a huge number of great candidates out there and available immediately. 

To recruit remotely you just need to get creative and change your mindset but also keep the fundamentals of a recruitment process in place. 

  • Have a clear idea of what you want - write a comprehensive job description (we can help you if you need!) 
  • Understand that in the current climate you are likely to receive a high number of applications, which is what we're here for! Even if you are unable to commit to a full 360 recruitment process with us talk to us about our Advertise and Filter service; where we advertise the role for you and then screen applications, providing you with only the most suitable CVs to shortlist.
  • Plan your recruitment process, think about the different stages and block time in your schedule to interview, review with your team and feedback to us and the candidates. 
  • Prepare your questions and if you like, a task for the candidates to complete. Think about the task in the context of how easy it will be to present across a video call. 

What should your recruitment process look like? 

Once we have sourced great candidates for you and present CVs to you as we would normally; it is time to start interviewing, and the process needn't be that different from before. It depends on your business of course and we are here to talk to about what might be your best approach, but here is a suggested process:

  • Perhaps start with a quick phone interview if you are looking to shorten your short-list, it is a great way to get an initial sense of the candidate. 
  • Set up a video interview - we have all become much more accustomed to video calls now and you would be surprised how much of a sense of someone you can get from them. Use Zoom, Skype or our partner Hinterview, whichever you are most comfortable within the business. As ever, we're here to help you with any of the processes, from interview to set up of video interviews. 
  • Make a final shortlist and feedback to the unsuccessful candidates, via us if we have supplied them. This is really important, as we are hearing due to the sheer number of applications companies are receiving many candidates are not hearing back, even after the interview. It can be very damaging to your brand. 
  • Conduct final video interviews - you might not feel this is necessary, but in a process where you are unable to meet them face to face it could be beneficial. They could be more informal, perhaps a Zoom call with the team they would be working with where everyone can find out a bit more about each other. 
  • Once you've made an offer and they have accepted, perhaps invite them to an initial call with the whole company or their team, something lighthearted - Friday drinks or a team quiz!



Communication & Reassurance 

Starting a new job is nerve-wracking at the best of times, but for someone who needs to start a new job in these difficult stances, it can be very stressful. As a line manager or talent manager, it’s important to open up communication early & reassure them about the process. 

One of our candidates who recently started their new role remotely told us how their new manager called them for an initial welcome chat and then followed up with an email and their mobile number, letting them know to get in touch any time they needed.


Help Them With Technology

Where would we be without laptops, VPNs, Slack, Zoom and all the other applications and technologies helping us at the moment? It’s the time to shine for those quiet IT guys in the corner. 

Do whatever you can to get your new starter set-up from a technology point of view as soon as possible - whether that is sending equipment by courier, ensuring they have access to the internal network or giving them a guide to all the software they will be using. 


A Structured Welcome Programme

Structure is important to everyone at the moment and for a new starter having a clear and structured welcome programme in place is vital. Don’t overload them with information but ensure you have a clear programme across the first week. This can include everything from introducing the team on a Zoom call to a presentation on the culture of the company as well as what their day to day tasks will include. 


Keep in contact

Keep in regular contact with them and ensure they feel comfortable being able to call you if they need to, but also don’t be overbearing. Show them that you trust them and don’t need to check up on them constantly. Put a regular call or zoom chat in with them, on a daily basis at first and then less frequently if you feel things are going well. 


Have fun and get to know them

One of the most difficult things we are hearing from clients is that they are struggling to ensure new starters feel at home in the business and with their colleagues when they might never have met them! It’s a difficult challenge to overcome at the moment, but try and ensure that as well as introducing them to the company and their job, you introduce them to the people too. 

Have lighthearted zoom calls or google hangouts, where you have a drink together on a Friday. Perhaps even do a little quiz with questions on them or their colleagues. We’ve seen examples of clients even having a fancy dress theme on their Friday drink video calls! 

At Stopgap we also have a WhatsApp group with everyone in, which is a nice place to share more lighthearted content and keep in touch with each other outside of office hours and “reply all” emails. 


The idea of not meeting a candidate face to face may seem strange, but we are seeing more and more success stories so don't let it put you off. You know we are going to say next, the now well-known phrase is true - this is going to be the new normal, so don't let it stop your business succeeding. 

If you need any advice on how to recruit remotely and onboard a new starter, please don’t hesitate to give us a call - 020 8332 7656

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