Best Practices for Remote Hiring

Modernize the experience to recruit and onboard successfully

DocuSign man works from home

The foundation of any organization is its people. For any business to succeed and grow, it has to optimize the talent from existing employees and find the right new hires to complement that team. Human resources teams accept this challenge but are faced with a daunting new one: remote hiring. 

Caitlyn Metteer, Lead Recruiter at Lever, recently spoke with Nic Jagoe, Docusign VP of Talent Acquisition, to discuss the key challenges and opportunities for HR teams now hiring employees in a remote work environment – and best practices for thinking ahead. 

Two primary challenges identified by HR professionals as teams shift to remote work are:

1.  A remote recruiting process

The interview process has become reliant on video conferencing software, and while it is an invaluable solution, it leaves something to be desired when it comes to the recruitment process. Without in-person interactions, establishing a level of comfort in candidates is more important than ever. Often, too, technical glitches get in the way of making a solid connection. 

2.  Onboarding new employees

New candidates continue to be onboarded despite the shift to remote work. Unfortunately, new hires aren’t experiencing the face-to-face interaction they'd normally get when joining a new company. Aspects of onboarding that would typically take place in the same room are now accomplished remotely. HR teams need to ensure a smooth onboarding process and adequate support for new team members.

Organizations are also facing new hurdles in security and productivity. As on-site employees become remote, IT departments scramble to secure networks and protect devices. Data breaches and security threats surged at the height of the pandemic, forcing IT departments to adapt quickly in order to provide safe, productive, remote working arrangements. Collaboration with the IT department has become vital for HR to ensure employees have trusted tools to work efficiently.


The new candidate experience

Recruiting procedures, too, must be adapted to current limitations. Candidates are now taking part in entirely remote interview processes. New recruiting methods require flexibility, patience, and understanding from both the candidate and the employer. How well organizations adapt to the new candidate process will impact their ability to grow and retain their remote workforces.

Delivering an exceptional candidate experience means shifting the approach to recruitment in these important ways:

  • Increase transparency 

Uncertainty can cause candidates to feel more anxious which can affect their interview skills, so teams need a new level of transparency within the interview process. Be up front about timelines and update candidates on where you are in the search process, as well as when they can expect to hear back from you.

  • Set clear expectations 

Many people are home with kids, partners, and pets that can lead to unexpected interruptions. Ease their minds by letting candidates know you understand their situation, empathize, and that we’re all in the same boat.

  • Be flexible about scheduling 

Teams need to put appropriate amounts of space between interviews. Don't try to fit everything into one day. Working from home has changed people's schedules, and they most likely will require more flexibility during the interview process. 

  • Throw out the rule book 

We've never experienced a time like this before, so it's okay not to know what to do. No company has the perfect answer for how to scale during a global pandemic. Layoffs have many candidates feeling nervous about leaving secure positions in search of something new. Keep all of this in mind and use it to inform your new recruiting practices.


Adapting new hire onboarding practices

Onboarding is an important yet undervalued aspect of employee retention. The employee onboarding experience plays an important role in first impressions and is ultimately tied to employee longevity. Successful onboarding also impacts how quickly a new hire gets ramped up to become a productive team member within your organization. 

Here are tips to help create a more seamless onboarding process for new hires:

  • Create learning and development teams

Appoint team members as point-people who can answer questions and provide further new hire support. Designating go-to team members as guides ensures that new hires learn the ropes from insiders and helps indoctrinate them into the company culture more quickly. 

  • Virtualize onboarding

Creating a virtual onboarding process involves making every previous in-person interaction digital. Companies should strive to create a genuine "new employee" feeling even though communications can't take place in person. It takes proactive planning. HR teams must take inventory of their new hire processes and find ways to provide digital equivalents.

  • Strengthen the HR/IT relationship

HR teams and IT departments must work more collaboratively now than ever. Working together, they must provide a reliable, repeatable digital experience for recruiting and onboarding. Collaborative software tools can improve channels of communication between departments and foster a synergistic relationship that benefits new hires. 

  • Implement new technology

One of the most common things being echoed in the HR space right now is that new technology was on their "to-do” list before the pandemic forced its adoption. Now (even if out of necessity) is a great time to overhaul manual processes and install modern platforms and tools. Choose HR software that is user-friendly and has self-service onboarding features so new hires can locate important information easily.   

Modernizing outdated hiring practices not only serves to conquer the challenges of remote recruiting and onboarding, it also helps organizations stay competitive by attracting top talent with exceptional candidate experiences – even if those organizations eventually migrate back to a more traditional office setting.  

HR's Guide to Digital Hiring and Onboarding helps teams adapt to new challenges in remote work. 


Contributor: Nic Jagoe, Docusign VP of Talent Acquisition