December 12, 2020
How to Hire Remotely: A Q&A With Creative Director Sabrina Pfautz
Conducting business as usual in a quarantined world is challenging enough. But in the middle of a pandemic, how do we rise to the task of hiring and onboarding new employees?From posting a job and signing paperwork to embedding new employees within an existing team, change in the hiring process has come at a rapid fire pace over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic as we adjust to this new normal.
At Push10, we’ve encountered the same challenges many businesses have faced during this unprecedented time, including adding a few new team members. I sat down with our Creative Director, Sabrina Pfautz, to discuss her thoughts on how to hire remotely and what made our process run so smoothly.
Q: How has the hiring and onboarding process changed?
A: The current process had to be completely deconstructed in order to avoid in-person contact. Prior to the pandemic, we held phone interviews as the first step of the hiring process. We kept that key step in place as it was a great way to weed out all the candidates who weren’t a great fit.
Then, we had to change our in-person interview—the second step in our normal process—to a virtual one. Actually, it was a surprisingly easy and, in many ways, beneficial change to the process overall. We noticed that during these Zoom calls, interviewees were a lot more comfortable in their own surroundings, giving the hiring team a better idea if they would be a proper fit for the team.
We also added a “Culture Interview” where team members who are not normally involved in the interview process had the opportunity to chat with candidates. This made the interviewees and the team more comfortable and really helped us understand if interviewees would fit into our culture.
Q: What changes did you make during the onboarding process?
A: Now virtual, onboarding activities had to be planned out on everyone’s calendars, starting with virtual morning check-ins first thing every day. New hires would sit with a mentor and discuss any questions about their role that would spring up as they got deeper into it.
We planned a few breaks for self-guided lessons and tutorials on our tool stack so the new hires could get additional content to ground out their learning experience. Mid-day and EOD check-ins then helped unpack and digest what they learned that day, and gave new hires a chance to talk through the progress they’ve made.
Q: What are some tips you would suggest to other companies for hiring and onboarding employees during the pandemic?
A: Once hired, we put together a welcome kit to make our new team members feel at home, as well as a “Get-to-know-me” sheet for our team to look over so they could learn some fun facts about our new hires before meeting them.
From there, we set up Zoom meetings between the new hires and each of our team members so they could meet 1-on-1. Consider it a virtual coffee meeting from afar.
When onboarding virtually, the sense of being able to turn around in your seat and ask a question to a teammate is unfortunately no more. In order to change that, we carved out time specifically for our new hires to ask their questions to their mentors and made it clear to use Slack whenever they needed a quick reply.
At the end of the day, our hiring process had to be retooled to fit our new reality. If this experience has taught us anything, it’s that we should be ready to shift again on a dime, even when we least expect it.