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Virtual Onboarding: Our Employees Share Their Experience

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Inside Bloom / July 27, 2020

A few weeks ago, our digital marketing agency welcomed 2 new employees: 

Marie Demeire, Account Manager

Sam Giasson, Paid Media Analyst

Over the years, we’ve tweaked and improved our onboarding and hiring processes but this was the first time that our agency was hiring and onboarding new employees 100% remotely. We wanted to make sure that our new Bloomers had everything they needed to hit the ground running. 

In addition, we wanted to make sure they had a chance to interact with each team member and get a taste of Bloom’s culture and value without stepping foot in our Montréal office.

We wanted to know what it was like for our newest team members to start a new job completely remotely. Hopefully, it can help other firms and businesses adapt their human resources processes to the new remote reality brought by COVID-19. 

Read more to find out what Marie and Sam had to say about their experience:

How was your remote interview process with Bloom? 

SAM GIASSON: It was pretty much the same as going to a real interview and meeting people in real life. I was more comfortable doing the interview remotely because I was in my “comfort zone” at my place. So you can concentrate better on the conversations and interactions than your surroundings and the new environment. Other than that, I exchanged a few emails with Bloom’s Paid Media Director, Jeff Johnson, and he proposed an introductory call. Then, I had to complete a few tests online, and we scheduled another video call. I got the offer a couple of days after, the whole process took about 2 weeks.

MARIE DEMEIRE: In my career, I’ve done many in-person interviews, but this was the first time doing everything remotely, and I enjoyed it so much more! I found that interviewing from home felt less intimidating and being in a familiar setting gave me a little extra boost of confidence, and I did not have to worry about having to hustle through public transportation to make it to my interview on time. The hiring process was also much quicker than it usually is in-person, it took a week from the moment I applied to signing my contract! I guess one of the perks of interviewing remotely is that it’s easier to find a time that works for everyone?

What advice would you give to someone going through a remote hiring process?

SAM: First thing first, clean your house and show the interviewers a nice background ;) But just as you would do for an in-person interview, do some research, learn more about the brand/business and refresh your memory with what you know about the role. Then pour yourself a cup of tea, breathe and jump on that Zoom call.

MARIE: Pay attention to how you look on screen! Since your potential employer will be getting their first impression of you through their computer screen, it has to be on point! Make sure you have proper lighting, a solid Internet connection, and a good headphones/microphone set-up. My pro-tip for feeling extra professional is to wear a nice pair of heels: even if your interlocutor can’t see it on screen, it will give you that extra boost of confidence!

Can you walk us through your first few days at Bloom?

SAM: My first couple of days at Bloom went very smoothly, I was introduced to each team member and we could communicate easily. That allowed me to really understand the roles of each team member and they also got to know me a little bit more as well. When I  was on my own, I got familiar with the agency’s software, methods and processes. My team lead would check-in regularly to see how things were going. I was there for less than a week and I was already meeting with Account Managers to learn more about the clients I would work with. 

MARIE: My first day started with a company-wide Town Hall, which was a great way to jump in and get to see some faces! After that, I met with the partners, directors and team leads to get a better sense of how the company is organized, and who I should reach out to based on the questions I have. The rest of the time, I received training from my supervisors and had some time to go through the documentation available. A few days in, a virtual [email protected] was organized with the other Account Managers, so that I could get to know everyone on my team!

How was your remote onboarding different from traditional on-site onboarding?

SAM: Apart from the fact that we can’t have real human contacts, nothing was really different. Communicating with the team is easy and everyone is doing their best to be quick on the keyboard so if I have questions, I can get an answer quickly. I have regular check-ins with my team lead to make sure everything is okay on my side.

MARIE: I’ve always found traditional on-site onboardings very draining: you spend your first few days meeting a lot of new faces, and you spend many hours in a conference room with someone talking to you to train you on your tasks. This time around, I had a lot more free time to explore the various platforms and documents on my own. Being able to look into things on my own time felt so much more relaxed, and less of an information overload at the end of each day! I definitely think that being able to spend more time digesting information before moving onto another topic helped me remember things better!

In your opinion, how can businesses provide a successful onboarding experience remotely?

SAM: Not being in the same physical location is really the only thing that is really different from a traditional onboarding, therefore, making sure that communications within the team are smooth and efficient is extremely important. Also, making sure that the new employee has someone they can easily reach out to throughout every step of the process makes it much easier.

MARIE: In a remote setting, you’re not necessarily able to hold your employee’s hand as much as you would in person. Therefore, having procedures and tasks well documented is critical. During my first weeks, our knowledge hub and account management shared Google Drive became very handy!  Company culture is also super important for me in a job, and while starting a new position from home can feel a little isolating, I received many friendly messages from colleagues during my first days to wish me welcome and offer their help if ever I had questions. It’s a small gesture, but it really helped me feel like I was part of the team!

You are also looking for a job in digital marketing? Take a look at our open positions here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marie-Joëlle Turgeon

Marie-Joelle works at Bloom, a digital marketing agency, as a Marketing Coordinator. She's passionate about digital marketing tactics (from social media to web design) for B2B businesses looking to grow online.

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