🏡 WFH— how to turn self-isolation into a learning opportunity

Tereza Machackova
Mar 17 · 6 min read

Remote work has been a growing trend in the tech industry for years, but in the last few weeks, it has become a necessity. With the coronavirus outbreak spreading, many companies are being forced into the unprecedented position of having to go fully remote.

Make no mistake, the current situation is serious. But it is also a huge learning opportunity. For the first time, we get to truly test the remote model, rather than just dabbling with it.

Now at this time, working from home makes the best sense. We need to delay the spread as much as possible and keep our loved ones and the community safe.

Here are some suggestions on how recruiters can make the most of the time spent working remotely.

📈 Dive deep into data

We are currently building out a reporting dashboard that provides everyone in the company with visibility around the recruitment cycle, showing data on our pipeline, recruitment stages, conversion rates, pass-through rates, offers, and so on.

As well as increasing transparency around recruitment, this is a great way to build a better, more informed recruitment strategy.

📝 Create a narrative

I borrowed this tip from the most recent Marty Cagan’s article about working from home. He is such a vocal fan of the magic of co-located teams, but he wants to advise all the product managers to look at the situation’s all advantages, rather than feeling desperate, procrastinate or not being productive.

What do we want to do at productboard and people ops team?

A few months ago, we hired Nick, our very first People Ops content writer 🙏🏼 He’s helping us share our amazing culture and stories with the world through blog content. This is a powerful way to spread the word and attract new talent.

We are also going to polish and tidy up our Notion pages with him, which act as our internal wiki. We use Notion to set out internal processes, policies, and other relevant information. With remote work now enforced, this is an amazing opportunity to fine-tune our onboarding and interview processes and ensure that everyone has complete transparency around what we do and why.

👨🏽‍🚀 Focus on improvements

Now is also a time to take stock and focus on ways we can make the candidate experience faster, smoother, and more enjoyable. To do this, we have to ask ourselves some pressing questions.

What areas of the process could we improve? Where are we too slow or inefficient? Could we get back to candidates quicker? How could we improve the feedback we give?

Once we have the answers, we can start making the candidate experience even better. The same applies to internal people processes and employees engagement and wellbeing.

🤖 Learn to code!

No, seriously! You can learn to code online. For free. Today. Check out this link for more details. You don’t necessarily need to become a programmer, although I know at least three recruiters who converted to programming after playing around with Codecademy.

I tried my hand at coding a while back because I wanted to better understand the work that engineers do. I received wonderful feedback from our candidates, who recognized the effort I put in when talking about my attempts with the Rails Girls workshops, doing intro courses, and trying to build my first app.

If you are recruiting engineers, showing your first lines of code is a great ice-breaker, especially during the initial screening with a candidate. At the very least it’ll be a laugh for them.

⭐️ Build your brand

Building an aspirational and inspiring brand is essential for any company, but it is also crucial for individual contributors as well. Every single employee has a story to tell, and wisdom and experience to share.

So, if you’ve struggled to find the time to update your portfolio on Dribbble or finish that blog post you’ve been working on, now is the time! 😳⏰ No excuses! (I’m looking particularly at our amazing designer Peter and our CTO Daniel 🙎🏻‍♀️)

This helps show the world that your company is full of inspiring people, which in turn helps you attract top talent. Most of the smartest candidates I have ever interviewed told me the same thing: “I don’t want to be the smartest person in the room.”

If you want to dig deeper into this topic, check out Will Larson. He is a star when it comes to building inspiring engineering organizations from scratch. I love his thinking about competency matrixes, career ladders, and brand building.

📚Read a book

Take some time to read some inspiring and relevant books — my favourite for this time is The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. I am taking notes recently from the book recommended to me by amazing VP People of Pusher, Brian Evje, On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis.

🤯 Dig into a competitive analyses

Go and talk with the community, or search for new ones. Are you missing data for benchmarks when looking at compensation bands? What about other benchmarks, such as for social campaigns and brand awareness?

Do a deep dive on your competitive landscape, looking closely at the disruptors in your industry. What does each competitor do well? What could you do better? Be creative. Get inspiration from other industry players.

👩‍👦Find a mentor

Go and find a mentor. Ping 30 inspiring people from your Linkedin network and see what comes of it. I am living proof that it works — in my case, 14 responded and hopped on a call! You can also reach out to people through Slack communities. Let me know if you need any help.

🌱 Create your own growth plan

Do a self-assessment of your skills and then craft your own improvement plan. Let your manager help you if they are willing to help and guide you through its great start!

❤️ Help if you can!

Coronavirus is not what any of us planned for, but it is the reality we face. There is also good work that can be done now with our help. I do not take my situation for granted, I admire all the beautiful activities coming from all the communities, leaders, companies, non-profit organizations, health care industry and influencers. I am super grateful for all the below and for the solidarity that is making the community stronger than ever before.

Volunteering activities — there are plenty of organizations that are looking for volunteers. I just signed up here (coordination of volunteers), and I am happy to share other initiatives too!

Food delivery — companies like Rohlik and Liftago are helping each other through this cycle to satisfy customers needs.

Medical assistance — Tomas Sebek, a surgeon and digital health evangelist, is raising public awareness about the most recent updates on Covid.

Stay healthy and safe, everyone!

Thank you, Nicholas Edwards, our most beloved content writer, for helping me to polish this article 🙏🏼❤️

Tereza Machackova

Written by

#girlintech | Scaling @productboard |Head of Talent

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