As COVID-19 began to make headlines, the recruiting team at fast-growing fintech firm Robinhood was given a pressing assignment: Develop and release a remote hiring and onboarding process that ensured the company’s newest employees felt connected to Robinhood’s mission and culture.
A cross-functional group of employees quickly came together to create virtual solutions for tasks normally done on-site during interviews, such as coding tests and whiteboarding. And recruiters had to figure out how to proceed with candidates already in the pipeline. Since the pandemic started, the company has hired hundreds of employees remotely, according to Joe Gillespie, a recruiting manager at Robinhood.
Jack Reid, a learning and development partner at Robinhood, is one such new employee. “My hiring and onboarding were 100 percent remote," he says. “I have not physically met anyone at the company in person. But I never felt alone coming into the role. I was surprised at how easy it was; I had no pain points.”
We’ve all gotten used to virtual interviews instead of in-person. But here’s what else Robinhood is doing to create successful remote hiring and onboarding processes—all while keeping candidates’ and new employees’ needs in mind.
Tailored Check-Ins and Training
These days, it doesn’t make sense to take a one-size-fits-all communication approach to the candidate process. Instead, Robinhood's recruiters now ask candidates how they would like to be contacted—phone, text, email, or video call—and adapt to their preference, Gillespie says. For example, if a candidate feels more comfortable having a phone call instead of a video chat for an interview (or receiving text updates over email), that’s up to them to decide.
Recruiters also spend time training job seekers in advance on the virtual whiteboard and coding programs that they’ll use to work through problems with hiring managers in real-time during interviews.
“From my personal experience, the remote hiring process was really buttoned up,” says Mitch Atkinson, who was recently hired as a site lead on the customer experience team. “It was very coordinated and efficient. Robinhood figured out what they needed to do to source and recruit candidates remotely, and how todo it in a way that’s tailor-made to them.”
New hires have always received welcome gifts on their first day—only now instead of receiving them on their desk, packages are sent right to their home. “It’s fun in the remote world to get an anonymous delivery,” Atkinson says. “I’ve been here four months, and I've already gotten a few swag packages. The gifts make you feel like it’s real: I’m a ‘Robinhoodie,’ which is what employees call ourselves.”
The boxes are not just filled with generic items, Gillespie adds. Rather, each one is personalized. Have a new baby or one on the way? You may get a Robinhood onesie. And those with an upcoming wedding anniversary might get a bottle of champagne to celebrate.
Robinhood has always leaned heavily on their onboarding program, Camp Sherwood, to give new hires a sense of the company’s strong culture. Pre-pandemic, the first two days in the office would be spent exclusively going through the program. Now, Robinhood hires receive their laptops via mail and log in to a live online version of the program instead.
“We wanted to make sure we were continuing the information sharing and giving new hires the lay of the land in order to be set up for success, especially in a remote environment,” Reid says. “Our goal is always to make sure they feel included in the Robinhood culture and community from day one.”
During Camp Sherwood, new employees are divided into groups of six to eight people on Zoom, then paired with different Robinhood leaders. They learn about the company’s history, mission, products, and culture. As a financial services company, they also have several activities and trainings that help inform new employees about everything ranging from security and privacy practices to compliance.
New hires are also introduced to our diversity and belonging initiatives including an array of employee resource groups like Black Excellence, Parenthood, Rainbowhood, and Latinhood, as well as other ways to connect, like dedicated Slack channels for dog lovers, vegans, bikers, and even fruit.
“As a new hire, you notice right away that the culture is quirky,” Reid says. “And I mean that in a positive way. We embrace that quirkiness and encourage everyone to show up as their authentic selves.”