The Pandemic & Remote Recruiting

The Pandemic & Remote Recruiting

By Carroll Leatherman


The coronavirus pandemic has challenged recruiting in ways that we could not have envisioned even a short time ago. Now that we are ten months in, we have gained great perspective on how “best practices” are evolving to meet this new normal, in both recruitment and even more importantly, on-boarding. The insights shared below have been gleaned from a diverse group of our investment management clients for which we have launched and closed searches during COVID-19.


The Recruitment Process:

How best to interview:

  • It’s important to replicate the pre-COVID in-person interview process as best as possible to set the right tone and create momentum in the recruitment and on-boarding process.
  • Have an administrative team member connect with each candidate for 15 minutes to run through the VC platform and troubleshoot any tech issues to avoid snafus once interviews begin. This can effectively simulate the same organic interaction and community building one would have being greeted in reception for a meeting with an organization’s leader.
  • Once a candidate is engaged, it is ideal that video interviews are scheduled sequentially (i.e. back-to-back) so that candidates feel that there is a streamlined process as if they were in person. Explain to the candidate why the interviews are scheduled this way – you are trying to avoid having candidates feel that the process is fragmented.
  • The final round interview should ideally take place in person in a socially-distanced manner on site at the physical office or at a mutually agreed upon location with the hiring manager.
  • We have found that candidates are much more likely to have reservations about accepting an offer when they have not been able to meet the hiring manager in person. If meeting the hiring manager is not possible, then assigning a “social distance ambassador” who is another senior team member or peer can be a good alternative. Ideally, you would have one person that can serve as a consistent, in-person interviewer for each hiring process.
  • Even more than usual, clients have been requesting that candidates present business plans or case studies as a final round. We have found it to be effective to do so 1-on-1 and where possible, in person, with other stakeholders dialed in via videoconference.


Onboarding Phase:

  • Conducting meetings via videos in lieu of phone calls should be essential for the first several weeks of orientation.
  • Hiring organizations must deliberately build a sense of community for new hires that remains active even after formal onboarding has been completed.It is near impossible to ascertain the ‘EQ’ of an organization when working remotely, so intentional community building is very important.
  • Encourage team members to devote extra time to getting to know each other beyond work, i.e. learning about hobbies or outside interests, as these topics don’t come up as organically on videos as they might in traditional onboarding scenarios like welcome dinners.
  • In instances where essential workers or key team members are allowed in the office, there must be a concerted effort to include those who are working remotely, so that the “in office team” is not outpacing or excluding those who are remote. This can be particularly challenging when team members who have worked together for a long time are less in-tuned to incorporating a new hire into the existing rhythm.
  • Overcommunication at all levels cannot be overemphasized, as overcommunication is the best antidote to alack of in-person interaction.
  • Importantly, these efforts should not be made in a silo.Some of the best practices should be used firmwide for longer-tenured employees as well.


Maintaining Strong Culture while in a WFH Environment for Existing Employees: (from our previous blog post)

  • Engage employees across the firm to identify the most important aspects of the culture and how to sustain them while virtual.
  • Focus on team-development and team building to reinforce culture, core values and engagement. Further retention and culture by developing ways to form connections with leaders and managers in the virtual environment.
  • Consider opportunities to socialize as a team in a relaxed setting following longer meetings.
  • Establish regular “office hours” where workers can pop-in virtually.
  • Awareness of video fatigue; create “no-meeting time zones” to allow workers to break from their screens and recharge.
  • As the pandemic continues into 2021 and organizations and their professionals have become accustomed to the new normal, there has been an increased focus on setting boundaries to respect non-working hours and weekends.


If you have any questions, or you would like to continue this dialogue, please feel free to contact us.