Growing Our Team During the Pandemic

How COTA Leveled Up the Hiring Process for a Better Candidate Experience

Zoom. Shared Google Drives. Slack. Remote work. Things that only some people had mastered two years ago have become as routine as our morning cups of coffee, thanks to the pandemic. And while video meetings literally gave us all a view into each others’ worlds and made remote work more collaborative, it certainly came with its share of challenges — one of the biggest being its impact on hiring and onboarding.

We pivoted quickly. Getting it right took some time, but COTA is proud of the process we’re using to recruit new employees.  

Interviewing - Engaging Candidates

As a relational company, we love in-person interviews. There’s nothing like sitting with prospective employees learning about their qualifications and interests and  introducing them to their potential teammates. We really miss it! But until we can get back to that, we’re perfecting our remote recruiting approach with virtual ways to keep candidates engaged.

  • The COTA Intro: Done either over Zoom or email, the COTA Intro is how we welcome and engage candidates to COTA’s interview process. From the start we let all candidates know what to expect while interviewing, as well as the specifics regarding the position they are hoping to fill.. We discuss everything from the overall culture to the day-to-day detail of their work. We also answer any questions the candidate may have, and give them advice to help them succeed in their interviews.
  • Dedicated Coordinator: We also make sure that each role has a dedicated coordinator who knows the intricate details of every stage. Having one central point of contact who can promptly assist candidates with their questions, interview rescheduling, and insight into the process shows that we care about their experience and gives a small taste of our company culture.

Onboarding - Embracing New Employees into a Fully Remote Workforce

When we hire new employees we set them up to be successful. We refer to this as “going F.A.R.,” an acronym for getting them ready Functionally, Administratively, and Relationally.

  • Functionally: We make sure every new hire has whatever they may need to physically do their job, i.e. a laptop, mouse, keyboard, etc.
  • Administratively: We set up their email accounts, payroll, and any other logins required.
  • Relationally: We connect our new hires to their fellow teammates by making the proper introductions. We connect them to the company by sending them COTA branded swag. And we connect them to vendors and clients that they will be working with during their onboarding process.

Enhancing the Process - Empowering Ourselves to Improve

Our remote onboarding isn’t a one size fits all model, but we always make sure to keep our candidates’ interest our top priority. We allow ourselves to learn, gather great feedback, and adjust to improve our recruiting process and gain outstanding new team members.

  • Diverse Representation: As a hiring initiative, we represent inclusivity in interviews. Throughout their interview process, a candidate may speak to a wide array of COTA staff. Whether the interviewer is from a different department or has a different level of superiority than the candidate, or they are a different age, gender, race, etc. COTA is stronger because of our diverse team and we want our candidates to engage in this strength from the start.
  • Language: How we choose to communicate goes a long way to make someone feel comfortable. We work hard to make sure the emails we send to candidates are not only clear and concise, but also warm and friendly. Searching for a job is nerve wracking enough, so we use our communication style to put candidates at ease while getting to know us.

When we were forced to interview remotely, we knew the most important thing was keeping our candidates engaged. We’ve stayed agile to make necessary changes that improve the process and are thankful to everyone who has and will go through it. We can’t wait to finally sit with you in person!