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It comes as no surprise that the pandemic is challenging organizations around the world. It is forcing leadership teams to re-evaluate and evolve everyday practices. One practice we’re lucky to be evolving is how we hire new employees.

The PR industry can be volatile during the best of times, and we have not escaped unscathed during this pandemic. We’ve seen clients come and go. We’ve had to make hard staffing decisions. But the ebb and flow of agency life is a constant, as are the evolving lives of our staff, and so came a new challenge to overcome during this pandemic: hiring.

Video interviews were not uncommon for Media Profile before the pandemic. We had interviewed multiple candidates remotely who were either graduating or living abroad and were looking to start a new life in Toronto.

But at some point during the hiring process, candidates would end up at our office for in-person meetings which would help make our decisions easier.

In-person interviews were obviously not an option this time around. So, we needed to adapt to not only find the right fit but to ensure the culture we’ve worked so hard to build was evident during the onboarding process.

We have recently hired two new staff at Media Profile. Here’s what we’ve learned about hiring during a pandemic so far:

Forget postal codes. We have always offered the ability to work from home a few times per week (which employees near and far took advantage of) but being able to come into the office was a must. Now that we have employees working from home indefinitely, and some even from the cottage, we realized that living in the GTA was not a make or break. One of our new hires currently lives in London, Ontario. He plans to move to the city in the near future, but for now, there is no rush in finding a place. He can take his time to find a home that’s the right fit.

Up your onboarding game. We have recently created a four-week onboarding schedule for all new recruits. The first day includes an overview of your computer, work-from-home essentials, payroll and benefits details. But as the days go on, we facilitate meetings with account leads to provide an overview of the new hire’s accounts and the role they will play ongoing education on MP practices, and practical help like copywriting, design and time management 101. The goal at the end of the four weeks is to have the full picture of Media Profile and the new hire’s role within the organization.

Provide mentorship. Now more than ever before, mentorship is crucial for new hires, especially at the coordinator level. Our new director mentorship program provides junior staff the opportunity to be paired with a more senior member of the team to see how work is going and give advice on work-related questions they may have. The pairings are meant to help guide junior staff through their career at Media Profile, so while they will undoubtedly be helpful in those first few months, we hope the relationships that are cultivated will last for years.

Stephanie Bell
Vice President

Returning from mat leave… in the middle of a pandemic
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