Hiring During the Coronavirus Pandemic: The Importance of an Open Mind & Innovative Thinking
The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how we do business. There’s no “same old” anymore, it’s about innovating new ways of doing “old”things.
At L-Tron, we now have 85% of our team working remotely, including the entire sales team. When it came time to interview new sales employees, we weren’t sure what to expect. After all, our meetings are all being held virtually and our operations team members are the only employees working on-site in the office. How could we safely and effectively conduct interviews? What would hiring during the coronavirus pandemic entail?
If you asked me a year ago what our hiring process would look like, let’s just say I wouldn’t have expected it to look like this. But what we discovered was a (positive) surprise. Every day is an opportunity to innovate. We’ve hired two new employees during COVID-19 and working remote, and here’s what we’ve learned – the good and the bad.
The Good: A remote team opened up an enormous pool of highly qualified candidates.
Not only were we able to screen candidates from our local area, but we were able to consider those from across the country, as well. Through months of working remote, our team was able to stabilize and be just as successful outside the office. After all, what does it matter where an employee is commuting from if the commute is to an internet-connected home office space? Both candidates we hired are from out-of-town. Pre-COVID-19, we likely would have never considered this option. These employees are truly talented, experienced, knowledgeable, and charismatic. We were able to take our pick from the best of the best!
The Challenge: How well can you really get to know someone online?
The interview process itself was tricky. After all, any interview, whether in person or not, can be flawed. For instance, the perfect candidate could be a terrible interviewee and get overlooked – or – an amazing interviewee could turn out to be a total flake on the job. Then, factor in the online component. We realized it is that much more difficult to really get to know someone via video chat. We did the best we could and truly believe we found great new employees – but, you never know, do you?
In order to ensure that our candidates were a good fit, during the interview process we had them meet a larger group of our current employees. This session allowed current employees from each department to interact with potential candidates and to really determine if they would fit into our company culture.
The Good: A little awkwardness isn’t always a bad thing.
Surprised to see this in the “good” category? Let me explain. A virtual office can definitely mean some awkward moments from time to time. Working from home means that people see you exactly as you are, in your natural habitat. We’ve seen cats on desks, various states of dress, unique home décor, family members in the background, and plenty of “bloopers.” At L-Tron, we know that we each have quirks, imperfections, and plenty of qualities that make us who we are. We love to embrace one another’s quirky natures and enjoy a bond that allows us to be free to let down our guard.
The Challenge: Onboarding virtually just isn’t the same as in-person.
Another opportunity to innovate. How do we successfully onboard new hires? A new process was created to make the new team members feel like they are at home at L-Tron. The on-boarding process was complicated, but we learned, shifted and adapted to put a plan in place that works for the current team and for our newest employees. We’ve had many video chats together, including formal on-boarding sessions with management and various teams, as well as casual “getting to know each other” team building sessions. We also send ‘Welcome to L-Tron’ packages that include L-Tron apparel, pens, swag, candy and other fun items from the office. While I will say that these virtual meetings and connection opportunities have gone well, they certainly can’t replace being physically together.
The Key to hiring during the coronavirus pandemic: An open mind and willingness to innovate and evolve.
Overall, despite the ups and downs, hiring during the coronavirus pandemic has been a positive experience for us at L-Tron. I believe the biggest keys are maintaining an open mind and a willingness to evolve through the process. We will continue to gain feedback along the way, both from our current employees, as well as our new hires.
What have you learned about hiring these past few months? Let us know. We know we have more to learn and are eager to do so.
Out with the old, in with the new… We’re creative and we’re innovative in every area of business.
Interested in reading more leadership blogs & articles by Gayle? You can also connect with her on Linkedin, here.