Recruiting and onboarding new starters virtually during lockdown
Evergreen Finance London Limited is a FinTech business employing 15 people in the UK. The organisation was in the process of recruiting for two new vacancies in their collections department for their trading brand, Moneyboat.co.uk just as the COVID-19 crisis hit. The vacancies had been advertised online and Bespoke HR had already created a pool of CVs. Then lockdown was enforced and social distancing rules introduced, which meant no face to face interviews and potential challenges when employing and onboarding new starters without being able to do it in person. The recruitment process was initially placed on hold while the business adapted to the new ways of working.
When the time was right the recruitment process kicked off again and as the team at Bespoke HR already had a bank of suitable CVs the next task was to shortlist and arrange initial phone conversations with candidates. During the call, Bespoke HR’s consultant Tara Lohn explained that the process would now be conducted virtually and that whilst the roles had re-opened, joining and onboarding would be managed remotely. She was then able to gauge how potential candidates felt about this and whether they were still keen to progress to the next stage.
The first and second stage interviews were conducted by video with Bespoke HR facilitating and Evergreen Finance in attendance.
Tara Lohn at Bespoke HR, explained: “Being forced into virtual recruitment was logistically actually a lot easier than trying to organise face to face interviews with candidates. The process worked really well and we were able to conduct the interviews in a short space of time. In a ‘normal’ scenario we would be dependent on candidate and manager availability, time slots were easy to find as there was no requirement to travel. I would definitely advise many of our other clients to look to this type of recruitment in future for ease and speed.”
Holly Devereux who landed a new role in Collections and Hardships said of her experience, “I first saw the open position for a collections agent at Evergreen Finance London on a job site and applied without hesitation. After a telephone interview, I was offered a second interview which took place over Google Meet. This ran extremely smoothly and I really felt as if I was there in the room with the staff. We discussed the role and day to day tasks along with my experience and knowledge of the role. After around 45 minutes, the interview was concluded. The management explained very kindly that they wanted to deliver the good news to me before the weekend and later that day I received the job offer! This really gave me something to celebrate and completely changed my outlook on the remaining time in lockdown.
Although I have not yet met my colleagues face to face, I have had nothing but support and help from them all, and already feel a close bond.
The distance has not been a problem as at the click of the button, I can have the assistance right away.”
Nicolette Ward, Evergreen Finance’s recently appointed Collections Agent recounted, “I was contacted by Tara from Bespoke HR regarding my application. Tara was very quick at dealing with the logistics and the whole process took less than a week. My first interview was on a Monday via Google Meet, a second interview on Tuesday and by Wednesday I was advised that Evergreen Finance London wished to offer me the position. The paperwork was in my inbox by the end of the week. I appreciate that things had to be dealt with differently due to the current situation and the company rose to the challenge.”
Once the final candidates were selected Bespoke HR managed the documentation and contracts, which were signed and returned using Signable or an electronic signature.
The next challenge was setting up the employees to work remotely and onboarding from a distance – presenting a raft of issues including motivation and accountability. IT equipment was delivered to their homes, and they were talked through the set up by their team leader.
A risk assessment was sent to the new employees to complete regarding their home working space and any additional equipment provided.
To introduce the new starters to the rest of the business, a video was created and circulated detailing who they were and their job functions. A team channel on Slack also allowed managers to introduce them to the rest of the company and is also used for collaboration and co-working.
All training and induction has been conducted by video or phone, with team leaders and managers scheduling regular catch-ups to check that both new and current employees are happy and motivated. The level of communication with staff has increased substantially since the start of lockdown and has helped to maintain team camaraderie and high performance.
Yonah Pruss, Managing Director of Evergreen Finance concludes: “Despite the challenging circumstances we found ourselves in, hiring and onboarding new employees remotely has been relatively straight forward. Bespoke HR assisted us at every stage, and we would now consider recruiting in this way in the future. We were able to continue with our plans to grow Moneyboat.co.uk and we look forward to meeting them both in person as soon as we can!”
For information on how we can help with recruitment, get in touch with our consultant Laura Cross for a free 15 min no obligation chat.