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Recruiting and On-Boarding During a Pandemic

Recruiting and On-Boarding During a Pandemic
23 October 2020

Throughout the lockdown, companies have had to find new ways to navigate the hiring and onboarding process without face-to-face interaction.

For both businesses and job applicants, it has often been a new experience and presented several challenges.

The lockdown and subsequent rule of six has turned remote hiring into a necessity. Even as businesses attempt to return to pre-pandemic normality, many are continuing to follow this practice for the foreseeable future. 

This is often to do with safety concerns, but in many cases companies have seen its benefits – businesses don’t need to limit themselves to the local area, candidates are available throughout the day rather than the usual before and after work slots, and often the process requires less of a time commitment.  


“In some ways, it’s made it easier for us. Both our clients and us are finding video interviews more time-efficient as people are more available, and you get a good feel for a candidate - the quality of conversations has been great!”

–Simon Roderik

Managing Director, Fram Search


How has Business Recruitment Adapted During the Pandemic?


Melanie Astbury, HR manager at Cartridge Save, an online printer cartridge retailer, said, “We were able to quickly adapt to virtual hiring. It can be strange at the beginning to not see someone in person and shake their hand, but it soon becomes normal. 

“What this situation has enabled us to do is widen our search and hire the right talent - even if they’re located in a different city.’”

Simon Roderik, Managing Director of Fram Search, a specialist financial services recruiter, has also seen the benefits of virtual hiring: “In some ways, it’s made it easier for us. Both our clients and us are finding video interviews more time-efficient as people are more available, and you get a good feel for a candidate - the quality of conversations has been great!

“Roles requiring niche skills will be easier to fill and we’re excited about the talent possibilities and the positive impact on diversity.”

Regardless of whether recruiting is in person or through video conferencing technology, businesses need a robust recruiting procedure which ensures the best person for the job has the opportunity to prove themselves and get the position. 

However, even if the company has made a great hire, there still needs to be a carefully planned on-boarding procedure that ensures new recruits understand the job requirements, as well as the business culture and expected behaviours.


Screening CVs


The process of sifting through CVs or application forms hasn’t changed. Employers will still need to take the time to evaluate each candidate for the position, and decide whether to progress their application to the interview stage. However, the number of applicants has certainly changed. 

According to the Office for National Statistics, there were nearly 700,000 fewer people on the payroll in September than there was in March.

Latest figures show that almost half a million fewer people were in work than just before the pandemic.

With competition for roles high, it’s vital that you establish a robust system to check the applications against the selection criteria. You could even introduce a point-based system - giving applicants a point for matching skills that are outlined in the job specification.  


Onboarding and Starting a new job During COVID-19


Onboarding new staff remotely is one of the toughest challenges businesses face. Recruitment takes time and once you've found the ideal candidate, you want to ensure they have all the tools needed to succeed in their new role. 

Remote onboarding needs to be carefully planned out and implemented. Once you’ve conducted initial training online, it’s important that you: 


  • Arrange daily meetings to set agendas and expectations. 
  • Regularly review work - this can be done via screen sharing or call listening to ensure they’re completing tasks correctly.
  • Set tasks - this will enable you to understand how your new starter is adapting and will also highlight areas to improve on with additional training.
  • Create a safe space for feedback - it’s hard to build rapport from a distance, but if you encourage your new starters to ask for advice, help and guidance from the start, you’ll be able to resolve issues before they become problems.


There will come a time when you will want to introduce your new starters to their actual workspace, or even conduct part of their induction in-house. 

It’s important to remember that for some people, entering a new environment at this time could cause anxiety, so it makes sense to provide clear guidelines on how you’re keeping staff and workspaces safe during the pandemic. 

Picture: a photograph showing two people sitting opposite each other at a desk, signing some paperwork. Image Credit: Cartridge Save

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 23 October 2020


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