In the wise words of the legend that was Freddie Mercury…. “The Show Must Go On”, and on indeed it goes. Recruitment across the board has slowed down for sure. We are finding that 64% of open accountancy & finance roles are being put on hold or cancelled. However, there are green shoots and we are all adapting to the new normal.

Starting a new job is daunting at the best of times. Starting a new job remotely and from home would have seemed outlandish to most candidates 40 days ago. However, recruitment processes are still progressing and jobs are still being filled. Remote onboarding is alive and well and is taking place across the city and country. Whilst we are facing down one of the greatest pandemics of all time, the show is going on.

With a selection of Capital Markets accountancy & finance candidates starting in new position over the past few weeks, it’s been particularly interesting chatting to our new starters to get their views and insights into commencing a new job remotely under the cloud of Covid 19. Equally, it’s been very useful to hear how the opposite side of the fence, the HR and Talent Acquisition teams, are coping with their onboarding process.

What has impressed me the most is their positivity. Their acceptance of the situation, their understanding of the employers/ employee challenges and the willingness to get stuck in and carry on regardless.

In the initial few days of onboarding, companies have been doing a lot of Zoom calls, conference calls, screen shares, Google Hang Outs, live demos and using the WebEx tool for initial training. All candidates have had laptops/ phones couriered to them and have been fully set up to work remotely with online access to training tools and workshops. A senior level candidate who commenced work 2 weeks ago with a leading Telco organisation, described how “helpful and friendly” everyone has been. Part of his role requires getting to know key stakeholders in the business and this has been facilitated by way of video conferencing both on a one on one level and a larger group level. He described one such video call as having almost 100 participants on it and “whilst it may not be the best platform for a brain storming session, it was very well structured, facilitated by a host, had a clear agenda where all points were addressed and everyone had their say”. It’s amazing what we can achieve amid challenge and adversity.

Both clients and candidates, cite “relationship building”, “lack of face to face inductions, “on the job training”, “steeper learning curves” as being the main pitfalls. It’s been difficult getting to know the culture of the organisation while working from home. Building rapport with new colleagues, whilst you can achieve this on a call, it’s obviously not the same as doing it in person.

On the plus side however, a lot of organisation already support WFH and are ahead of the curve in terms of the technological infrastructure and support that goes with it. That has been a huge plus. We live in a world where Face Time, Skype, WhatsApp video is an everyday occurrence among family and friends. Professionally, video conferencing in large international organisations happens daily between colleagues in difference offices and countries. The video conferencing software and apps are all there at our disposal. So, for now, we’ve had to switch to these methods to stay in touch and keep internal communication alive. And I imagine we’ll all do a lot more of it going forward beyond this Covid 19 crisis.

In summary, whilst there is undoubtedly a cloud of uncertainty and cautiousness surrounding us all professionally and personally, what is clear is that the show will go on. Candidates are starting new jobs, companies are hiring and remote onboarding is the new norm. There are Spring shoots budding all around us even if the cloud of Covid 19 is making them harder to see.

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