Recruiting BAs during a pandemic…Part II

Following on from Fiona’s post last week, here’s the second instalment in how we’ve adapted to recruiting and onboarding from home …  

Once we’ve had a role accepted, we are excited for them to join us 🤩 There is a lot going here at AO and bringing people in to help with our journey is one of the most exciting parts of being an AO’er.  

So, before they start, we like to do a few things… 

  • Pre- call 📲 – Fiona will check in with our new hire before they are due to start. Boxing off any queries they may have or pointing them in the right direction 
  • Email saying hi 📧 – some people might be on a long notice period and let’s face it the world isn’t the same as it was 6 months ago. With our most recent hires I’ve been dropping them a line to say hello and ensuring they know we are looking forward to them starting. It’s also an opportunity for them to ask any questions they may have  
  • Personal profile 👀 – our interview process is lean; we try to not over complicate things and we love to learn about the person. With that in mind, we like our new hires to create a little profile for us, it contains things like: 
    • A photo – the less formal the better but not too informal 😛 
    • If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life what would it be? 
    • Favourite film of all time 
    • 1 interesting fact about you 

We then circulate this around the team and people they’ll be interacting with. So far, we’ve had good feedback that it helps paint a picture of what our new AO’er is like and gives some good icebreaker questions. 

Now the fun starts… 😝

We’ve been sending laptops/phones etc. out to our new hires or asking them to come to HQ if they live close enough.  

In their inbox is an email welcoming them to AO, a few useful links and key contact numbers (because if teams dies, we need to be able to communicate 😉) 

Our onboarding team then spend a few hours over MS Teams introducing them to AO and our business.  

Once they’re settled, we do a couple of things: 

  • Walk through of their BA induction pack – this contains things like meet and greets specific to their area, a walk-through of the business and some key milestones leading up to the end of their first 3-months  
  • Meet and greet the team – it’s important they know who they are working with, so we set up a quick intro call for people to say hi and get to know each other before being chucked in at the deep end…  

Culture, it’s what makes us AO ✋

During the first few weeks especially, we like to keep contact and communication high, as well as making them feel part of the AO family (it’s hard working from home and I can imagine it’s harder being a new starter in a new company)

Things like asking questions becomes harder and more formal (you can’t tap people on the shoulder anymore)

So we like to create a support network so our new starters can ask questions freely. AO is a great place to work and we have an incredible culture, making people feel part of the business takes more effort remotely but is 100% worth it. 

  • Buddy system – it can’t be all on the line manager to help onboard, so we developed a system where our new starters can speak to another BA about anything and everything 
  • On call rota – spread out amongst the team, if the new starters need to get hold of someone and can’t get their manager then we have specific people assigned to certain days 
  • New starters Teams Channel – a place for all our newbies to chat with a few of our mentors and amongst themselves. This creates a safe space to share and ask general questions.  

As well as that we… 🎤

  • Provide a list of meet and greets – we like people to have an informal catch up with the wider team, our IT Director, stakeholders and other disciplines across tech. It helps in the long run to form relationships early  
  • Tech town hall – every Friday we have a department wide update, included in that is the introduction of new starters (this is where the new starter profile is also used 😉) We give them a big AO welcome 
  • Fiona will also check in a couple of times over the first few months to see how everything is going

Adapting to recruiting and onboarding has been a challenge but a real fun one. I’d never have thought I’d be doing 2nd stage interviews in my dining room with notes scattered everywhere but that’s where we are at. It’s been fun so far and it’s going to be interesting to see how our process evolves. 

If you want to learn more about how we’ve adapted as a BA Community to working at home then check out our latest blog ➡️