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How I got a job in the midst of a pandemic

By iOS developer Andrey Morozov


At the end of February, I was worried about the search for a new job, but back then I could not imagine that job interviews, registration and even onboarding would be remote. The whole process — from the job interview to the first working day at the new place — took a month and a half.

I’ll talk about everything in order.

Job interviews 👨🏼‍💻

The first job interviews went as usual; I made an appointment in the office early in the morning, or at six or seven in the evening, spent an average of about an hour on the road and another one and a half to three hours at the job interview itself.

All this is accompanied by the wildest jitters that you experience while walking from the subway to the meeting room with the interviewer, scrolling through the main topics for discussion in your head to simulate a conversation in advance.

The tasks related to my main job also did not disappear anywhere, although on the eve of job interviews my productivity dropped to almost zero. I was like this when I visited Bookmate, ivi and inDriver.

And then self-isolation began.

Surprisingly, many companies have not stopped hiring and have even adapted it to the current situation. Instead of glass meeting rooms and white-boards, now there was Zoom, mini-contests with problems on online platforms and live coding.

I caught myself thinking that this radically changes the situation. Job interviews are no longer aggravating and exciting. I perceived it as another working phone call aimed at discussing the details of the upcoming tasks.

As a result, scheduled job interviews stopped reducing my productivity in my main job. In addition, I saved time for the road and could now have two job interviews a day.

But there are also some disadvantages.

  • Charisma and charm. In live communication, you can influence your interlocutor, using charisma, facial expressions and gestures. As a result, some kind of chemistry appears between you — be it positive or negative. However, remote interviewing, albeit using a camera, does not work that way.

  • Office and atmosphere. When everything is online, you can’t walk around the office and appreciate the surrounding atmosphere in person. Articles in corporate blogs, although they give a small idea of the situation, can still embellish reality, or remain tight-lipped about some shortcomings and flaws.

As a result, I had completely remote job interviews with guys from companies MTS, Youla, Badoo, Joom, and Tinkoff.

So, if everything is clear with job interviews, then how is the registration process going? Where do you get equipment and sign documents?

Registration 💼

As a result, my choice fell to Joom (and vice versa), where the registration procedure is arranged really carefully. I filled in all the data for employment in a special online-questionnaire, where I also chose the equipment I needed for work.

On the appointed date, a courier came and neatly carried a laptop to the door, along with a cool set for a new employee with various goodies and a folder of documents. There was no need to take the signed papers anywhere either — it was enough to send photos and scans back to HR.

For the sake of fairness, it should be noted that the guys from Youla had a similar format for choosing a new employee. Now I regret not asking from other companies about it, then it would be possible to compare approaches and assess how quickly companies are ready to adapt to remote work.

For the sake of completeness, it must be said that the dismissal from the previous position did not happen remotely I had to go and pick up my work record book, sign all the documents and hand over the working equipment.

These circumstances quite clearly highlighted the problems in the over-bureaucratic chains of some companies, where a candidate must pass through several circles of hell to finally get to their workplace. For us, this is like a litmus test — a way to learn a little more about a new employer and make the right choice even at the negotiation stage.

However, the registration procedure, although important, is only the first step in a new company. What’s much more interesting is how both immersion in the team and the work processes of colleagues, whom you have not even seen live, are arranged.

Onboarding 🚀

For many companies, introducing and onboarding of a new employee is one of the biggest weak points in HR processes.

There is nothing more annoying than the feeling that others forgot about you so you are left alone with all the requests for access to various important documents, and logins and passwords from internal services.

Indeed, the first days are critical for a person to form an idea of the team experience and the readiness of the project in general. Therefore, it seemed that in conditions of forced remote work, a concept like onboarding had completely disappeared from circulation.

I cannot say that I have a lot of experience going through such onboardings, but Joom’s approach was impressive.

Getting personalized page in Notion was a nice little addition 😀

The first day was fully scheduled by the hour.

  • Phone conversation with the HR Director. We’ve activated basic services and accounts. A corporate Google account is used almost everywhere. We sorted out the documents, went through the main documents that needed to be read and signed. In Notion, I reviewed a detailed new employee checklist.

  • VPN setting up. A colleague from helpdesk connected, took over control of the laptop, supplied all the necessary certificates and made sure that all resources were available.

  • Discussing goals and plans. I phoned the head of client projects (mobile applications and web). We briefly discussed further plans and tasks for the current quarter.

  • Getting acquainted with the team. Each team member told a little about themselves and their interests and hobbies. It even turned out that one of the guys is from the same city as me — hi there, Ufa.

Yes, it’s impossible to cover everything in the first day. But the most important thing that I understood was that the company had prepared for my arrival. They created a set of small tasks in order to gradually familiarize me with the project, and also prepared all the necessary access in advance.

At first glance, it may seem that these are unimportant details, but in my experience these little things really show the general attitude of the company and the team to their product and business.

 

Conclusion 🏁

The coronavirus pandemic has really changed our society, forcing businesses to rebuild and modify their processes to fit the online format. It is difficult to say whether this was beneficial to many or not. But we’ve definitely now had a chance to arrange completely remote job interviews and procedures for processing the necessary documents.

And most importantly, companies that have learned how to conduct high-quality onboarding online are highly likely to continue doing this in everyday life, and this is really good.

As for me, in the middle of March I reached a crossroads — to continue looking for a job or to postpone this adventure until better times, when everything will be settled. Now I understand that I made the right choice, because we don’t know how long the quarantine will last, and it is better to enjoy the work right here and right now!

Read the full version of this publication in the Joom blog at vc.ru.