Since transitioning to a remote workforce earlier this year, we quickly learned that there was more to becoming a remote team than just keeping our employees at home. Since business was still booming and we were hiring internally, we needed to establish a thorough process to virtually recruit and onboard in a way that ensured both the candidate and employer felt at ease. I had a chance to sit down with the newest addition to our recruiting team, Emily Fabiano, to learn about her journey thus far.

Emily has been in Human Resources and Recruitment for about 5 years now. She started out in a full agency recruitment company as a Staffing Consultant and eventually moved up to a Team Lead position. After doing that for a period of time, she moved to another company where she worked as an HR Planning and Staffing Consultant, doing full cycle recruitment. With the pandemic resulting in her sudden layoff this year, Emily still managed to get her CHRP designation!

Here is some more insight into Emily’s job search during the pandemic and her experience getting set up as a remote worker with Innosphere:

  1. How was your job search during the pandemic? Were you specifically looking for a remote role?

It was hard! I was laid off from my job in March right when the pandemic began. When they first informed us that I was laid off, I didn’t think much of it frankly. I was expecting to be back at work within a few weeks. Most of us were expecting to be back at work within a few weeks, so I didn’t start looking for work right away. I probably waited 2-3 months before I really started looking for new positions.

I started looking for jobs within the Niagara region because I had never really thought about remote positions. I quickly found that there weren’t very many companies hiring, especially for Recruitment or HR positions. Most of the positions I could find were entry level positions and I had already worked so hard to grow into my previous role, I didn’t want to feel as though I was moving backwards in my career. Though that was what I initially found, once I started expanding my search to include remote work, I had found that there were so many more options which was very encouraging. I had never really looked for remote positions before, but there were a lot of options especially in the Greater Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo areas. Since I am not located in either of those areas, I just needed to ensure they were permanently remote, so I made sure to read the job postings very carefully. In my searches, I found that a lot of the postings were temporarily remote positions because of Covid, but I was looking for something that would be remote even when things go back to “normal”.

  1. Tell me about the recruitment process when applying for the Recruiter role at Innosphere?

I came across the job posting and applied directly through Indeed. Shortly after, I received an email from Spark Hire saying that I had been invited to a virtual interview for Innosphere. Initially, I was confused because I had never used Spark Hire before, but the process was actually really cool, and timely, especially while dealing with a pandemic. It was a great tool to use, and even with coming into the interview from an HR background, I could see the value in it immediately. It was something I had the intention of suggesting other HR/Recruitment professionals use if they’re looking for virtual interview tools.

I accepted the interview request and completed the virtual interview the next day as I was fairly eager to find work. I didn’t know what to expect with the Spark Hire interview but it was pretty straight forward. It explained everything before I started recording. I definitely appreciated that it gives you time to review the questions so then you can think about it before recording, and that you can also retake your response if you didn’t do it properly or if you messed up. It’s funny because I would start and then i would stutter or start rambling so i would stop the recording and re-do it, so I was hoping they wouldn’t see my bad takes! But once I was finished, I just submitted it. I enjoyed using Spark Hire, it made the process very easy.

From there, I had a Microsoft Teams meeting with the Senior Manager and an offer was presented to me the next day!

  1. What was the onboarding process like?

Once I accepted the job offer, the HR Administrator reached out to me and basically became my point of contact for everything. She sent me all the information I needed and all of the initial paperwork. She got my address and contact information and had coordinated everything in order to send me my equipment, including my laptop and the docking station. I received it on the Friday prior, and started on the Monday, so I had the weekend to look at the documents that included basic instructions for set up and passwords. The laptop was pretty much all set up for me. My email along with all the programs I needed such as Slack and Microsoft Teams were already downloaded onto the laptop and set up so that when I turned it on I didn’t have too much to do. Having everything setup on the laptop was helpful, as it gave me the weekend to play around with things and get familiar with all the tools I’d be using. She also sent me an itinerary of my first day and what I should expect, as well as all of the invites for meetings ahead of time so I had them all in my calendar. This was nice because with in-person on-boarding, usually, there is someone for you to shadow all day to show you the ropes, but because these are unusual circumstances. Being on-boarded remotely due to the pandemic definitely was a bit nerve wracking, but the itinerary as well as my calendar set helped guide me through what was going to be done on my first day.

It was a lot of listening and reading the first day, trying to absorb everything but it went well. For it being online, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I had all the information I needed in order to be successful for that first week.

  1. Were you comfortable with the orientation and training that was provided?

Yes, I believe so and if I ever had a question I could just instant message my manager on Slack and he would get back to me very quickly. The documents really helped me for reference in understanding the role and understanding what the expectations were and what I should expect to be doing each day. Also, giving myself time to play around in Zoho CRM helped me catch on quickly because I learn best when I’m actually working with the tools hands on.

  1. How did you get acquainted with your team members?

We had a team meeting with everyone where the manager spoke about Innosphere and what we do. He also introduced each member and what their role was within the team. Each team member then introduced themselves and shared a little bit of their background, education and experience. We also have daily team meetings that are also helpful in terms of building relationships and getting to know one another and understanding their roles a bit better.

  1. How did Innosphere showcase their work culture?

Everyone was very friendly! Whenever I would message a team member they were always super pleasant and helpful. HR would also send out emails every Friday with interesting facts and fun information which was nice to keep people engaged. The company website also showed the different perks that are offered at Innosphere, so I felt like that spoke to the culture as well.

  1. What means of communication were you using? How did you find each of them?

I do like communicating with my team through Microsoft Teams or Slack. The tools are instant, and you can see who’s available so that if you have a question you are aware that they may answer your question quickly.

The one-on-one video chat meetings with my Manager are also great because you can address more specific questions related to your role that may not apply to anyone else so you don’t feel like you’re wasting anyone else’s time.

  1. What did you enjoy most about getting set up as a remote worker?

I really enjoy working from home. I didn’t know how I would do it, because I’ve never worked from home before and was a little hesitant about just being at home all day, but now that I’m doing it, I realized I like it! Working remotely is great because it is flexible, and as long as you stick to a routine, then it’s good. My favourite thing is probably the fact that I won’t have to commute anymore. Once 5pm hits, you’re already home!

There is no denying that remote work is here to stay and we are fortunate enough to live in the digital age where this is possible. Especially during a global pandemic. However, it does come with its challenges and it is imperative that we work together to make the process not only seamless but enjoyable for both the candidate and the employer.