From Interviewing to Onboarding: Tips for Contingent Hiring in a Remote World

Blog 26 Mar 2020 . Brianna Kerr
Lee Baldwin
Global Head Financial Services

By now, your company and its services have likely been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. Many companies have made the shift to remote work for all non-essential employees and have implemented social distancing practices for essential employees who must continue reporting to an office.

These changes present unique challenges to the everyday tasks of identifying and hiring qualified talent, which remain essential even in today’s altered version of the working world.  

So, how do you hire and onboard qualified talent remotely to support your ongoing business needs?   


Focus on the candidate experience  

The importance of a positive candidate experience is crucial as ever when all parties are remote. If anything, the experience becomes even more important when attracting top talent as every interaction is now virtual.  

Engage with candidates using digital hiring tools  

  • Interviewing and communication tools are abundant with many options to choose from. Utilise tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or HireVue to continue providing candidates with face-to-face interview opportunities.  

Be prepared  

  • Like any other interview, you need to plan for your video interview. Review the candidate resume and preparing questions ahead of time, ensure you are in a quiet environment with a strong internet connection and arrive early in case of technology hiccups.  

Communicate your Employee Value Proposition  

  • Socialise your EVP to highlight your inclusive culture regardless of worker location and type. This is especially important if the expectation is for the candidate to eventually sit onsite. Since they will not interview in person and will accept the office location sight unseen, your culture needs to be clearly communicated.  

Define your remote onboarding process  

With the improvements in HR technology, it’s likely that parts of your process already support remote onboarding. Still, compliance remains a huge factor within the onboarding process and every company’s top priority.  

Plan ahead and adapt to worker types  

  • Establish an onboarding plan and communicate the processes to all necessary parties consistently. Adapt your new hire communications to address the specific worker group that you are onboarding to meet the needs of varying worker types.   

Embrace a fully digital onboarding process  

  • Onboarding documents such as payroll forms, Non-Disclosure Agreements, and benefits enrollment can be completed using applications like Docusign. Company- or industry-specific background checks can often be completed using online applications such as DocuSign, FADV, or BSI. Compliance oversight is achieved using digital documentation and tracking. In the current environment, the US Federal Government is also relaxing regulations on certain documentation requirements. For example, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will exercise discretion to defer the physical presence requirements associated with Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) under Section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).   

Provide logistical support for your new contingent workers  

When onboarding and starting a new role, questions will inevitably arise. To provide a good experience for new hires, map out the logistical journey that will answer questions before they’re asked. This can be done by creating comprehensive documentation to guide the new hire process from start to finish.    

Provisioning remotely  

  • Many companies already have a process to onboard remote workers, which includes shipping any necessary equipment directly to the worker. Internal asset teams should ship equipment directly to the new hire, requiring a signature upon delivery and require proof-of-delivery to eliminate any risk factors associated with shipping company-specific equipment offsite. As with any other new onboarding, don’t forget to include a welcome swag package with the equipment shipment.   

Equip your helpdesk staff  

  • With the sudden increase in remote population, your help desk should be prepared for an influx in tickets and inquiries related to day one issues.   

Design a virtual training plan  

Training and team interaction during the first 1-2 weeks are crucial to your new hire’s success. Many of the online tools used during the hiring process can also be leveraged to conduct remote training and sustain daily operations.  

Create a detailed schedule  

  • Have a plan ready for your new hire’s first week and create a detailed training schedule using tools like Teams, WebEx, and SharePoint that include screen sharing and video chat but also more specialized platform like social talent. This creates an environment for the new hire to train with confidence. If you typically start new hires in large classes, work on integrating this into a virtual format.  

Measure output  

  • Make sure you are not just training but also measuring the outcome; it is important to understand any gaps that the newly onboarded worker has so you can not only further engage the training but also continuously improve your onboarding documents and training courses.   

Remote management of your new hires  

In the office, it’s not unusual to have constant conversations with those sitting just a few feet away; however, when working remote, those same interactions need to be more intentional.   

Schedule video meetings cadence  

  • Plan time in advance regular cadences to meet with your new hire during the training period. Be sure to check on their progress and productivity, as well as their comfort level with their current working situation. Once training is complete, continue a regular schedule of video 1:1 meetings.  

Create a feedback loop 

  • Make sure you’re meeting the needs of your new hire. If they need additional feedback, daily or weekly time, it’s important to make them feel comfortable in their new position. Provide work from home best practices, as this is a new way of working for many.  

Hiring, onboarding and training remote new hires using the tools and technology along with having a plan for each step of the process will allow you to grow your team of talented individuals and set them up for success.   

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