By Allison Stewart, Head of Recruiting at Sure
We can all look back on the last 12 months and agree that, well, it’s certainly been a year. From a glass-half-full perspective, the challenges we’ve faced, and continue to face, have given way to tremendous learning opportunities enabling us to be the best version of our recruiting selves.
At a time where nothing was normal, Sure’s recruiting team was moving faster than ever. Since March 2020, our company has doubled in size. Stop and think about that for a moment - half of our team has never met their fellow employees in person or shared the same space - and we’re still going! It isn’t always easy, yet we continue to find new ways to ensure we make a lasting impression from our first conversation through onboarding and beyond.
I believe that knowledge is meant to be shared, so over the next few weeks, we’ll publish a series of articles that touch on what’s worked for us throughout the talent acquisition process, new hire onboarding, and building a culture of inclusion for our remote team.
Let’s get started with our tips for successful remote hiring.
1. Apply your company’s best attributes to your recruiting process
Think about what your company does to enhance the lives of its customers and its customers’ customers. At Sure, we modernize existing core systems bringing them into the digital era and improve efficiency throughout the insurance life cycle.
When the world went fully digital, we were ready. We leveraged every digital asset available to increase efficiency in the remote hiring process. With the influx of layoffs and furloughs over the last year, companies that were hiring found ways to share information on candidates and open positions. Entire websites were dedicated to sharing the details and contact information for recently laid off employees, Google Sheets were sent around where we could list the roles Sure was hiring for, and Slack channels were created to bring recruiters together. Seemingly overnight, talent acquisition sources went from LinkedIn to a variety of digital mediums.
2. Find new ways to build trust — and do it early
In-person connections are an important part of the hiring process for the candidate and the hiring team. It’s often the last step to ensure you’ve found the right fit. When meeting face-to-face isn’t possible, new strategies must be embraced to mitigate the risk of making the wrong decision.
At Sure, we bring the team to you. For example, we embrace the flexibility of remote interviews and can be more accommodating to the candidate’s schedule. If evening hours on the East Coast best suit your interview needs, we will schedule you with relevant team members still working on the West Coast. We’ve found that flexibility quickly establishes mutual respect between the candidate and the hiring company.
In addition, we give you a taste of the day-to-day experience of working at Sure during the interview process. Candidates complete a deliverable independently, then meet with a group of Sure employees to share their work and discuss. This gives candidates the opportunity to meet with more team members and experience life at Sure firsthand.
3. The tools you need are available — use them
Application tracking systems, professional social networks, internal wikis, and online conferencing systems are all tools readily available to incorporate into your recruiting process. Many of these tools were used prior to the growing popularity of remote work, however, now they are essential.
Many of us used to hold post-interview chats with the interviewing team in common areas around the office. However, without an office, vigilant note taking becomes increasingly necessary. Our best resources have been those that integrate with one another. For example, we use Lever to manage applications and interviewer feedback. The ability to integrate this software directly with Zoom streamlines scheduling interviews and sending reminders to add candidate feedback easier than ever.
There’s never been a better time to take a deep dive into software and social mediums to explore the features you never knew existed. Data is more powerful than ever and enables users to leverage scorecards that quantify hard skills and helps eliminate bias. Social mediums such as LinkedIn have continued to develop as well by updating search functionalities and enabling hiring banners to be hiring notifications to be enabled on profiles.
4. Conduct inclusive candidate searches by expanding locations
Talent searches no longer have to start and end with location. Hiring remote employees enables you to look for qualified candidates without limits. We’ve found that searching near popular industry hubs is still a good idea as engineers and tech experts tend to be easier to find, however, we don’t let that limit us.
A huge benefit to putting less emphasis on location is the ability to be more inclusive and find candidates from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds and lesser-populated geographies. Sure sponsored and attended a HackerX Diversity in Technology career event focused on connecting talent in the BIPOC and LGBTQIA communities with new job opportunities. It was a breath of fresh air to be able to speak with these candidates and evaluate fit based solely on their experience without having to worry if commute times would be too long for them to consider.
5. The same red-flags apply on Zoom interviews as in-person
The convenience of hopping on a video interview from your home office, kitchen, or couch may cut down on commute time, but it doesn’t replace the need for professionalism. Even if you have a virtual background on, both the interviewer and the candidate are inviting the other into their home. While that can make for a more relaxed setting, that doesn’t mean standard courtesies go out the window.
We recommend the following for both parties:
- Dress professionally, even in the areas you can’t see on screen
- Avoid eating until after your interview is over
- Be honest about working hours. If you’re a US-based candidate that’s working in another country, be upfront about your reliability and the time zone you will be working in short- and long-term. If you’re hiring, be clear on the expectations for remote employee working hours.
In short, don’t do anything you wouldn’t do in an in-person interview on video.
If you enjoyed this article, check back in the coming weeks for tips on how to streamline the remote onboarding process.