Adapting the hiring process during fully remote working

Matthew Blenkarn Content Writer
5min read

11:FS moved all employees to remote working on March 13. What has that meant for the hiring process? As 11:FS Lead Talent Partner Natalie Thornicroft explains, plenty of adjustments and a lot of video calls.

We’re fortunate that 11:FS has access, tools and systems set up to allow Elevens the ability to carry out normal duties from anywhere in the world. So while the circumstances of going remote haven’t been ideal, it is not an unusual concept to us as a business. Indeed we have a number of our employees already working fully remotely.

Many companies already operate a completely remote hiring experience – GitLab and Zapier spring to mind. However, we’ve always included some onsite face-to-face time for prospective candidates as an important part of our process on value alignment and insight into 11:FS culture.

As a Talent team we needed to adapt our approach to bringing new people into the business and do it quickly. When it comes to dealing with people, fluidity is key both internally and externally.

So how have we done this?

Engage your Hiring Managers

Need to hire fully remotely? Then you’ll need your hiring managers to work with you to give candidates the best experience and a consistent approach to hiring without compromising on expectations. Sounds simple, no?

[The] Hiring team is focused on the best outcome: bringing on the best talent to grow the business

Thankfully all the teams here at 11:FS are driven by hiring the best people, and our hiring managers were quick to respond and quick to implement fully remote working. A critical part of this is being hyper transparent and over-communicating to keep the momentum going. You’ll usually find us on a Google Hangout, sharing ideas as a team and encouraging all interviewers to provide input.

Our mission keeps us engaged and we live and breathe our values, which results in a Hiring team that is focused on the best outcome: bringing on the best talent to grow the business.

Remote Interviewing

As part of the hiring process, we ask candidates to carry out technical whiteboarding and a pairing session for our engineering roles. This is reflective of the actual work we carry out and a good indication of the level we expect people to be at in order to succeed at 11:FS.

It’s also something we’re not prepared to compromise on, so we’ve adapted this stage of our process to enable hiring to continue.

Unleashing your talent is something close to our heart

Our Talent Coordinator, Hannah Black, has been working closely with the business units to find the best tools for collaboration and whiteboarding to fit our needs. She’ll also be keeping a close eye on feedback. Find a solution, iterate and test.

Remote Onboarding

With the pace of events unfolding we were faced with an immediate need to adapt our onboarding approach. Our People team is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to providing solutions to immediate issues, so we quickly rolled out fully remote onboarding.

We’ve tailored onboarding to be fully remote. Where required, we’ve sent employees’ tech to their homes, ensured they have all their necessary logins and information, and created a series of Hangouts with their line manager and team members in the first couple of weeks. Each staff member is also added to daily stand-ups (Our Elevens have their own humorous individual approach to this) and all team meetings so they can embed and understand the wider team.

We want all of our new starters to feel part of the business from the minute they decide to join the 11:FS family, even while they can't physically be in the office.

Unleashing your talent is something close to our heart. This doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach and we embrace this with an open mind.

So there you have it – that’s how we’ve adjusted to our new reality of hiring and onboarding staff while we're all remote and likely to be for the foreseeable future. It’s presented some challenges, most of which we anticipated and some of which we didn’t. But with a clear focus on a positive candidate experience throughout the process, the team has maintained what is close to working as normal, even if we’re all at home rather than the 11:FS HQ.