Remote Recruiting: Getting Hired Virtually

Whether it's your first job or you're a seasoned recruit, the process of changing jobs can be daunting, especially in today's virtual world. In the RGD's new series, designers share their experience going through the hiring process in the era of COVID. First up, Ashley McCarthy RGD, Senior Graphic Designer at RouteThis.


Tell us about your new role and the key ways it differs from your previous position? 
I currently work for a small tech start-up as a Senior Graphic Designer. I was previously working for a much larger corporation also in the tech industry as a Senior Graphic Designer but my new role is much different as I am now the sole designer. I report directly to the VP of Marketing and am establishing a graphic design process from the ground up. 
How did you know it was the right time to make a move? Did the pandemic play a role in your decision?  
I had thought about making the change for a while for a number of reasons. I don’t think the pandemic created new challenges but helped magnify those that already existed. It sort of lit a fire in me and gave me a “now-or-never” feeling.
What was the hiring process for your new role? 
During my job search, I noticed that more companies were having multi-step interviews and assignments than what I had seen before the pandemic. The hiring process for my new role was a four-step process that included an initial phone screen, interview with the hiring manager, interview with immediate team members and then a design assignment. I actually found interviewing during the pandemic to be less stressful mainly because I didn’t have to worry about driving anywhere, transit or parking, weather conditions, etc. I can get social anxiety at times so doing the process remotely actually worked to my advantage. It felt more relaxed and casual.
What advice would you give to those going through a remote job application process?
My advice would be the same as if someone was doing the process face-to-face: Be prepared and be persistent. Research the company you are interviewing with. Reach out to the hiring manager or talent acquisition person through LinkedIn. Be ready to talk about your experience and portfolio. Ask for feedback and keep trying. It’s ok to turn an offer or interview down, if it doesn’t feel right.
What are key considerations for preparing for remote interviews?
Make sure your portfolio is up-to-date and online. If you have questions, write them down so you don’t forget. Ensure you have a good Internet connection and that you can take the interview in a quiet, clean room where you won’t be interrupted. Also ensure that there is nothing distracting behind you while you’re doing the interview.
What are important questions to ask?
I had questions specific to the company I was interviewing for and also a set of standard questions I would ask everyone. Those questions included things like what does the file infrastructure look like? Is there a server, DAM, cloud, etc? If you’re going to be working remotely, it’s important to understand how you will access files and what processes are in place. It’s also important to ask about equipment. Are you being provided with a computer? Is there an Internet allowance or budget for a good chair? And then there are important questions you should be asking regardless of if the role is remote or not like are there established brand guidelines? What does the approval process for a project look like? How many other designers are on the team? Who will you report to? These questions will help to inform your expectations for the role when you start the job.
Can you share any advice for on-boarding to a new team while working remotely? How have you connected with your new co-workers / how have you been able to learn your role and participate in company culture while working from home?
My new employer is very active on Slack, which is such an integral part of keeping everyone connected company-wide and has allowed me to integrate seamlessly. My team uses Asana for project management and we also use Google Workspace which allows us to collaborate in real time. I’ve found this process to be extremely efficient. My employer has also been great with providing on-boarding videos pertaining to the company culture and business. I’ve found these to be very helpful.
In general, how did the shift to working from home impact your perspective on work / your career? What have you learned from the experience of making a change during this time? 
It was definitely an adjustment at first. I was at the end of a 13-month maternity leave in March 2020 when I had to go straight to working from home at the kitchen table with my previous employer. I had to adjust to the new arrangement very quickly. Once a few personal logistics were sorted out, I feel like I flourished. I love working from home. Working from home has allowed me to spend more time with my family and save money because I’m not using my car nearly as often. I find that I am more willing to work extra hours because I don’t feel drained from a long commute and I have more flexibility in my day. I’m more comfortable and therefore more creative. 
From this experience, I’ve realized that my mental health is just as important as my physical health. It took many months of hard work but I feel like I’m in a better position in all aspects. The pandemic has been devastating but it has taught me that life must move forward. 
Ashley McCarthy RGD is a highly organized multi-disciplinary Senior Graphic Designer currently working in-house designing digital marketing campaigns with a focus on project management, brand leadership and strategic direction. For more than a decade, Ashley has been a key contributor to the success of companies in industries including Tech, Entertainment, Non-Profit, Insurance, Health Care and Public Services to name a few. Ashley lives and breathes creative problem solving and design thinking and stays relevant by maintaining her certification with the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD). She takes pride in supporting the many amazing artists, designers and musicians in her community and beyond.
If you have recently gone through the recruitment process virtually and would like to share your experience, please write to Rushika Shah at .
Read other articles by Ashley McCarthy RGD