Staff Corner

Onboarding and Recruitment in a Pandemic
from 3 Perspectives

Posted on November 25, 2020

Since the coronavirus pandemic has caused major disruptions to the nation’s workforce, only three industries are fortunate enough to not only retain all their current employees, but even increase their hiring efforts to meet evolving business demands. According to a survey conducted by a global recruitment agency, the said industries include technology, health care, and financial services.

For companies under these industries, recruitment and onboarding a new employee to an organization that is largely operating remotely presents new and unique challenges. During a pandemic, the dinner meetings, lunches with prospective new hires, and even the basic meeting in person preceded by a solid handshake are things of the past. The challenge has shifted from scheduling face-to-face interviews, to how can one get a good sense of an applicant over video. Not only that, but new hires must be quickly brought up to speed about what their day-to-day job responsibilities are, get familiarized with the company’s culture, and grasp new skills needed for their position, all through a computer screen and without the benefit of traditional in-person orientation and onboarding.

Infobuilder is one of the companies which is fortunate enough to be included in the said industries. To give perspectives on the matter, we asked our very own Compliance Manager, Maria Isabel Reynon, Senior HR Generalist, Valerin Gale Robles; and New-Hire, Elsha Mica Berdon about the challenges and opportunities that came with virtual onboarding and recruitment.

“We are slaves of technology,” Miss Val opened as she described the problem with being heavily reliant on technology for virtual interviews. She states that disruptions in interviews have made it difficult for interviews to go smoothly. Another challenge is getting a good sense of the applicant’s personality. When it comes to recruitment, an applicant does not only need to be qualified for the position, but they also need to have the right personality that will fit right into the company culture. This is why our HR tends to observe mannerisms, behaviors, demeanor, and the like of an applicant. But with virtual interviews limiting what the HR can see, it has become quite the challenge since the HR only get to see the good part or the sides of the applicant that they want you to see. Finally, assimilating new employees into the company culture has become more complicated than it had ever been.

From their experience, here are some tips from Miss Val, Miss Bel, and Mica to smoothly integrate new hires into the organization to make the virtual onboarding and the recruitment process easier for employers and employees alike:

Ask the right questions

Since virtual interviews limit what the HR sees, you can use behavioral/situational questions that would emit answers based on the experiences of the applicants. It will also give you a glimpse of how an applicant thinks and reacts to specific situations.

Always have a backup plan

A bad internet connection has become the virtual version of the traffic in metro manila. You can’t use it as an excuse to be late because it will constantly exist. When she was going through interviews after interviews, Mica who had been hired in the middle of the pandemic tells us that she has a mobile prepaid as a backup, in case her main internet connection fails her. It’s the same with having a noisy environment. We have to adjust and do what we can to change our surroundings.

Often check in with new hires. 

As part of the HR and management’s effort to make the new hires feel welcome, a lot of activities have been launched and more are still to come. Aside from the online hangout every Wednesday where everyone can play games and take the time off from work, the HR also reaches out to the new hires so they wouldn’t feel left out. Moreover, HR recently started the first new hire kamustahan this week to have an idea of the new hires’ opinions and feelings so that they feel heard.

Be kind

Lastly, Miss Val recommends being open to a lot of experiences and challenges in the virtual world. Being patient goes a long way. These are hard times, and each one of us is doing our best to cope. 

We are all still adjusting to the new normal of onboarding and recruitment. And while the need to continue hiring during this crisis is an encouraging sign for businesses and the economy, remote onboarding under such circumstances can be a challenge for many organizations. Using the right digital tools to facilitate a human connection can help new hires get introduced to the company and keep existing employees in a collaborative, motivated frame of mind. In fact, one of the things that really helped Infobuilder thrive during this pandemic is the tools that are right in front of us. We have been using the technology and solutions regarding Document Management Systems that we have spent years talking about promoting. During times where remote work is inevitable, it is more important than ever that employers leverage technology to create an interactive onboarding experience focused on engagement and efficiency.

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