Is now the time to begin recruiting and onboarding remotely?

As we settle into some kind of normal, albeit a temporary one, with teams working remotely and staff redeployed where necessary, we can begin to think of business as usual. For many, this includes recruiting new staff, be it to back fill vacant posts or because business is growing.  Taking someone into your team, trusting them in your business, who you have never even met may seem daunting, so we spoke to some members who’ve continued to recruit throughout to ask for their advice. Here are their tops tips:

Make use of technology but only if it adds value

For years now businesses have been using video interviewing – be it two way or asynchronous – as a first-round interview, usually to narrow the talent pool before face-to-face interviews. However, it offers a great substitute for a traditional interview when they’re not possible.

There’s a whole host of other tech available to help you through this process, including online testing, AI sifting, debiasing software, but try not to overcomplicate it. Consider your usual recruitment process and try to replicate it, only introducing tech where it adds value to the process or offers a solution to recruiting remotely.

Digital onboarding

Once you’ve made an offer you’ll need to onboard your new recruit and integrate with your existing team. Send all the relevant equipment out in advance, or if you need to arrange a convenient time for them to come to the office to complete a handover, following all the government advice about social distancing. You can complete much of the induction process online with shared documents and many health & safety checks can be carried out virtually too.

Help them to grow their network

Introduce your new staff member using video conferencing and encourage other team members to get it touch – they’re going to find it more difficult to build an internal network without being in the office. They may also benefit from being allocated a buddy or pair to work closely with, someone to answer the little questions that are easily asked in an office environment and help keep them on track.

Managing productivity

A number of tools are available to help you manage your team’s productivity, which one you want to use or even whether you want to use one depends on how you measure productivity. Do you want to track the number of inputs or outputs?

In the current situation, especially for employees who are also looking after children, you may need to be more flexible with working hours and encourage your employees to work the hours to suit them, around their families and other commitments. Some businesses go a step further and focus on what it achieved rather than insisting on working a given number of hours. Whichever track you take, be clear with your new starters up front, so they know what is expected of them and ask them to be clear about what they can realistically achieved with all the distractions of home.


It’s important to monitor the wellbeing of your workforce at all times, but it can be a little more challenging remotely. There are a number of tools for internal comms but the most popular seem to be Workplace (facebook’s work version of their platform) and Yammar from Microsoft. These platforms can support multiple groups and conversations based on interest, giving people the option to join in. I’ve heard of baking competitions, daily yoga, picture quizzes and even sunflower growing competitions all going on across these platforms.

Remember to check in with your employees regularly to make sure they’re comfortable with their workload, feeling well physically and mentally and that their home working situation is working for them.

Finally we asked what one piece of the panel would offer to businesses thinking of recruiting:

Sheena ‘What’s stopping you?’

Lou ‘Review your process and make it work – consider the art of the possible’

Vicki ‘Just do it’

Usman ‘There’s nothing to be afraid of – call us and we’ll help you put together a plan’

For the all of the advice offered throughout the session, including the panel’s reflections on how we’ve benefited from the situation and whether they’re looking for different qualities in their candidates, listen to the full conversation here.

With thanks to:

Usman Shahid, Managing Consultant at Harvey Nash Group
Sheena Widdowfield, Head of Learning & Culture at Opencast Software
Victoria Carruthers, Resourcing Manager at Home Group
Lou Kirkpatrick, Talent & Capability Lead at Accenture



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