Recruiting and Onboarding During COVID-19

Over the past two months, COVID-19 has impacted nearly all aspects of business as we know it, including shifting to a remote work environment. For recruiters and HR professionals, the virtual workforce has created challenges and opportunities for recruiting and onboarding new employees. Here are a few items to consider for talent acquisition during this unprecedented time.

Have a Clear Recruiting Process

It is more important than ever to have a clearly defined recruiting process. Some stages, like phone screening, may be the same, but it is essential to outline the details and ensure the technology capabilities are already in place before beginning the interview process with a candidate. Are all interviews going to be virtual? Will these be panel interviews or one-on-one? Can you do a virtual office tour? How can you communicate company culture virtually? If you are doing interviews in person, what safety precautions have been established? Having a defined plan keeps the recruiting process moving efficiently, reduces confusion, and provides the candidate with a positive interview experience.

Internship Programs

Unfortunately for college students, one trend we are seeing is the cancellation of internship programs. Before immediately dismissing the thought of virtual internship programs, consider the potential benefits. These programs are meant to give students a real-world experience in the workforce. What better way to do that than to include them in a challenge we are all still adjusting to? Your interns will see how leadership responds to change and get to experience company culture in a whole new way. At ATKG, our interns were able to successfully complete their spring internships remotely. They quickly adapted to the new norm and had fantastic ideas for training and onboarding our next group of interns. (Thanks Haley, Harrison, and Andrea!)

Also, consider how canceling internships may affect your future recruiting prospects.  Could it potentially tarnish your company’s image with university faculty and students?  As other businesses are canceling internships, you may have the opportunity to pick up some great talent with less competition out there. 

Onboarding: Communication is Key

It’s normal to have first day jitters when starting a new job – we’ve all been there! Now consider how new hires feel during their first week while working remotely. Communication is key when onboarding remotely to help reduce the feeling of isolation. Schedule frequent check-ins with new hires to see how they are acclimating to the new role. Take time to establish expectations, ensuring they have the technology and training they need to be successful, and provide a space for them to voice issues/concerns. Thanks to a remote work environment, new hires do not get to experience the casual in-person introductions, chats in the break room, or invites to lunch. Encourage your team to schedule a brief meeting to introduce themselves and welcome their newest teammate.

Try New Things!

While the current situation can be frustrating, it also serves as a reminder to challenge current processes. It is easy to get stuck in a routine because that is simply how it has always been done. COVID-19 has transformed the work environment, and maybe this is your chance to evaluate current recruiting or onboarding processes and try out a few new ideas. Get creative, embrace the technology, and be strategic. This is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate how your company can adapt to challenging times. Why not try out those crazy ideas?

Amy Kaster is a Certified Public Accountant and the firm’s Recruiting Manager. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and a Master of Accountancy. For more information on this topic or to learn about ATKG’s career opportunities, please contact Amy at 210.733.6611 or akaster@atkgcpa.com or visit our career center.