Finding a new job often feels like a job in itself. From searching for job posts and talking with recruiters, to brushing up your resumé and writing endless cover letters – not to mention the interviews – the whole process can be daunting. Even once you’ve got the job, you still have to go through the onboarding process and get to know your new coworkers and environment.
However, in today’s world, when so many of us are still working from home, all of this has to be done virtually. People are searching for jobs online, going through rounds of interviews on video calls, doing online tests and then starting their first day from their own homes. In these unusual times, we talked to one of New York Life’s newest employees about the challenges of starting a new job remotely.
Interviewing from your couch
Even before the pandemic, video and phone interviews were not unusual. Perhaps the job was across the state or the country, or you might be interviewing with coworkers who work remotely. Whatever the reason, we all know the many ways that technology can let us down and background distractions can interrupt our flow.
“My first interview was over the phone with HR. I totally thought that I did not get that at all,” laughs Meghan Gunther, Associate Production Administrator, and new hire at New York Life.
“It went horribly because my car alarm went off during it and my dog was barking. I thought, OK, well this just was not meant to be, because there were so many things going on in the background.”
It’s easy to forget that we’re all in the same boat. Since we’re all working from home, we’ve all been interrupted by pets, kids or just our internet dropping out.
As Meghan moved through the hiring process, she started to see benefits as well.
“My second interview was with Candace and Brianne, who are my immediate team members. And I honestly loved meeting with them. My conversation with Candace was about an hour and a half. I feel like I probably wouldn't have gotten that time with her in the office just because things are so crazy and people are dropping in. But I actually really enjoyed having the conversation and I didn't feel like I was losing that personal connection,” she says.
Top tips for virtual interviews
“Approach it like you would if you were going into the office to interview,” agrees Meghan. “Do your routine. If that means printing out your resume and going over it or just taking notes on the company in general, do what you would normally do and treat it like you're sitting in front of them in person. And that also means dressing like you would for an interview.”
Although you might be worried about speaking over someone at the wrong time, or that you might be interrupted, Meghan and advise that people to try to treat the interview just the same as an in-person chat.
A virtual start
What’s perhaps more disorienting is starting the job from home, without ever having met the team in person or even seeing the office.
Luckily, Meghan has found that New York Life as a company, and their collegues, have gone the extra mile to help them. She found the official HR onboarding a rewarding experience that introduced them not only to their own role, but to the company at large. And in her team, their superior has ensured that they’re introduced to everyone they need to know, and then some.
“I had meetings virtually the whole day on the first day. I was just in meetings, dropping in, meeting people and getting to know people. I was a part of the team already from day one, which was a really great feeling,” - Meghan Gunther, Associate Production Administrator.
“I had meetings virtually the whole day on the first day. I was just in meetings, dropping in, meeting people and getting to know people. I was a part of the team already from day one, which was a really great feeling,” says Meghan.
Meghan has already gained a strong sense of New York Life’s company culture, its inclusiveness and personal touch, even though they’ve yet to set foot in the office. For Meghan, it’s apparent on the Square, the internal social network and intranet that connects people from every part of the firm.
“The Square is essentially the corporate Facebook, for lack of a better term, and there have been some really great opportunities there to join communities that I'm a part of. So there's a New York Life Pet Lovers group that I joined and I actually have a lunch today with a group of what they call YO Pros – young professionals – so we'll be able to chat for one hour and get to know each other that way,” explains Meghan.
“Seeing all of these different groups and all of these different people that work for the company. You might never have had any idea what their job entails, because they work 14 floors above you, but you're still able to share a connection with them in some way. I think New York Life does a really good job at connecting people who typically wouldn't be connected.”
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