What's it like to start a new job during a Pandemic? We asked our new starters

If you saw the Talent team’s last post, you’ll know Fidel hasn't slowed down on hiring during Covid-19.

But we are doing things differently. For obvious reasons, we’re conducting our hiring and onboarding processes fully remotely. That doesn't mean we've changed our focus, though. We're still committed to growing a world-class team while providing a great candidate experience.

That’s not possible unless we collect feedback in the process and learn from it. The current situation is new to all of us,  and most of us have probably never interviewed fully remotely either. But changed circumstances are no reason to let our standards slip, and we want to make sure we’re providing the best experience we can.

What we asked

To help us with our direction, we asked our new starters how they’d found their onboarding experience.  We wanted to know:

  • What motivated you to apply to Fidel during the Pandemic?
  • Did our team make you feel safe and clear about the stability of our company and your role?
  • Were we well-enough prepared to conduct our hiring 100% remotely?
  • Did we communicate well with you?
  • How did you manage to build your understanding of the team, culture and office?
  • What do you think could have improved your hiring experience?

What we did well

1. Maintain an agile and fast-paced hiring process
100% of our new starters said our remote hiring process worked really well. They said it was not only fast, but efficient and well-adjusted to a remote setting.

What the team said:
“YES! It felt like the team had experience with a remote environment which also implies that team communication is generally good”.
Marcia M., QA Engineer, Lisbon

How we did it:
We’re proud of this one! Even before Covid-19 struck, we made a point of being fast-paced and agile in our processes. We try to give constructive feedback to candidates as fast as we can, and are flexible around time-zones when it comes to the scheduling of interviews. Now more than ever, we make sure we’re paying attention to the specific needs or situations of our candidates.

2. Give candidates the chance to get to know Fidel's culture
We  asked our new starters if not having the chance to be in the office during the hiring process concerned them when assessing our culture. 100% of them said it didn’t.

What the team said:
“Not at all. Obviously I would like to have been to the office and met everyone in person, but I don't feel like the lockdown is any detriment to sharing the company culture that everyone absolutely lives by."
Carlos F., QA Engineer, Lisbon

How we did it:
We encouraged everyone involved in the hiring process to share their honest feelings about what it’s like to work at Fidel.  We made a point of talking candidates through our company values so they understood what we care about as individuals and as professionals (even if they couldn’t experience it in person).

3. Collect feedback from candidates
When we asked our new starters what captivated them about Fidel, the answer was pretty much unanimous:

What the team said:
“The funding, the people, and the product. All best-in-class!”
Simon B., Business Development Manager, London

How we did it:
The best way to improve any process is by looking for feedback. During our hiring processes we send NPS surveys to our candidates to give them a chance to provide us with sincere feedback. After they’ve joined, we ask them to answer a few questions (like these ones!) on how their hiring and onboarding process was.

What we could do better

Starting to request feedback from our new starters has been a great learning experience for us. It’s really encouraging to see that most of the feedback we received is aligned with our focus on candidate experience.

But not everything is rainbows and we also received feedback on the areas where there’s room for improvement.

1. Share more about what we’re doing:
What the team said:
“I remember speaking to Kat and Les about this as the website isn't the most comprehensive in my opinion. The most useful part for me was the case studies. The culture was easy to understand through glassdoor and speaking to individuals.”
Simon B., Business Development Manager, London

How we’re addressing it:
A key piece of feedback from our new starters was how important it was to get to know our culture early on – even before they spoke with any team members. 70% of our new starters said that they relied mostly on Glassdoor reviews to understand our culture, rather than on materials created by the company. Some of the ideas for how we can improve that included a "meet the team” page, a more culture-oriented section in our blog, or even more team updates on Linkedin. To make our culture more visible, we’ve started this blog series and have some changes to our careers page underway. Watch this space!

2. Introduce candidates to more team members:
What the team said:
“Depending on the office we're hiring for, I would definitely recommend connecting candidates with 'culture carriers' even if not directly involved in day-to-day responsibilities. i.e. interacting with Anna was really helpful for me to gauge culture”
Pat N., VP Strategic Initiatives, New York

How we’re addressing it:
During the Pandemic, we’re making sure that candidates get the chance to meet more team members than usual. But the people the talk to in the hiring process are usually those who they’d be working most closely with. We’re now looking into ways for newbies to meet team members from completely different departments, giving them a more holistic view of the company culture. We’ve also started posting team-member spotlight posts on our instagram.

3. Give more reassurance about the Pandemic:
What the team said:
“I mentioned my concern about the current financial situation/pandemic. Although everyone was really helpful in answering my questions, I suppose it would have been good to have some really concrete resources explaining the drive for more recruitment despite the situation just to ease any initial concern without needing to request the extra detail. I think it would be a massive reassurance to a prospective new hire.
Tom K., Copywriter, London

How we’re addressing it:
In such uncertain times, we’ve been conscious of the need to share more about the outlook of the company. 40% of our new starters said they would have appreciated a more detailed explanation of the current financial situation of the company. We realised that simply asking team members to speak about it during the hiring process might not be enough. Now, we’ve created an internal strategy to allow our top management to share more detail with the team and have formally added it into our interview guidelines.

Thanks to the feedback from our superstar new joiners, we now feel informed and empowered enough to make the right improvements to our hiring process. We’re ready to take it to the next level. To see what it looks like for yourself, why not apply for one of our open roles?