Hiring and onboarding from a distance

Clerbo application on the computer screen
The last year has changed how we do many things, including the way employers recruit and onboard new staff. Moving away from face-to-face meetings, recruiters and hiring managers are assessing candidates remotely. Similarly, onboarding new staff has moved beyond an in-person greeting with a warm handshake, with new starters unable to meet everyone in the office during their first few days. Familiarizing new employees in their new role, helping them get to know colleagues and processes, has taken on a new look and feel. Ensuring that new staff do not feel isolated in their own home offices has become a priority. Collaboration and onboarding tools are now a necessity.

Y Soft’s global presence had already given us a wealth of experience with remote recruiting and onboarding of new staff. Providing recruitment and HR support across 17 countries, the Y Soft HR team is headquartered in the Czech Republic. Other than a few minor exceptions, we don’t have HR staff based in other locations around the world. The pandemic has sped up our transformation of remote recruitment and onboarding. It has also underlined the need to adapt our processes. We need to have effective remote support and solutions for every department. 

Here we share our experience with remote and international hiring and onboarding. From the perspective of Ondřej and Viktor, our HR colleagues, and Ben, new to the Y Soft team. 


Opening up the candidate pool

HR Business Partner Ondřej Zikmunda has been working on international recruitment projects for the past 4 years. From the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Netherlands, Hungary, Russia, Dubai to our Headquarters in the Czech Republic; he has helped to hire and onboard many new colleagues around the world. 

“Travelling around the world conducting final interviews face-to-face has been a fantastic opportunity. I don’t think you can beat sitting with a candidate and chatting over a cup of coffee. Going for a walk through the ‘buzzing’ office environment shows the local office in action. This is particularly useful in the last round of interviews, where decisions are being made by both parties. It helps the recruiter to assess the culture fit and real behavior. Importantly, it allows the candidate to establish whether the company is the right fit for them. It’s a time to see how the virtual presentation of the company and the real experience match up.” says Ondřej

However, this is no longer a reality. Chatting through facemasks, traveling, and drinking coffee present new challenges. Walking through quiet hallways with empty chairs and desks does not reflect an energetic and creative company. This is not the type of candidate experience we want to provide at Y Soft. 

We have focused on improving the candidate experience online. Substituting traditional face-to-face interviews with a series of friendly and comfortable online conversations. 

The advantages of an online interview process include:
  • Candidates don’t need to travel to our office for a meeting, saving time and money. Interviews can take place sooner and at any time of day. This is especially important for international recruitment. 
  • More interviewers can join the interview process. Having more parties involved allows both the candidate and Y Soft to gain an in-depth perception of each other. The hiring manager, recruiter, future peers, and other staff can all take part. This can also reduce the number of interview rounds, speeding up the process, saving both time and money. It also improves the candidate´s experience.
  • Candidates in remote locations can now be considered. By removing the requirement for a candidate to be based in a particular location you open up the pool of candidates. This benefits everyone. 
  • Removing the home advantage for the recruiter, interviews take place online instead of in the office. This reduces candidate stress and puts both parties on a more equal footing.  

Feedback has never been more important

Viktor Kulhavý, HR Project Specialist & Onboarding Coordinator, says: 

“Our candidate experience does not finish with an online interview and a job offer. It would be a mistake to stop all activities at this point and not communicate with or support the new employee until their start date. We want to show all newly hired candidates that their new employer cares and has thought about them.

Clerbo is the Y Soft onboarding tool that helps maintain communication and information. It is an ongoing part of the overall experience for candidates and new hires from recruitment and beyond. 

When hiring staff remotely, we have always focused on preboarding and onboarding. But with the Covid-19 pandemic, the need to focus on our onboarding experience became even more urgent.”


Below are some of the changes we have implemented in our onboarding process:
  • Before their start date, we are active in our communication. As part of their preboarding, we provide access to our internal portal Clerbo. Using this tool they can find a wide range of content to support their experience. Information, news, training, and more are available as documents, blogs, videos, and so on. These materials can help to maintain a connection and interest from the new starter. Preboarding also includes administrative tasks such as collecting personal documents and information. With everything in one central location, it is easy to use and keep everything together. 
  • We use the same system for preboarding and onboarding. More content is made available to the new starter on their first day, including training materials and onboarding tasks. 
  • Day 1 has always been ‘Welcome Day’ for new YSofters. We now provide as much of this program as possible online, maintaining that important first-day welcome. The agenda for the day includes introductions, presentations as well as our usual deep-dive into the core elements of our company culture and working styles. Guest speakers show up during the day and everyone has the chance to introduce themselves and get to know their new colleagues. There are scheduled breaks and space for informal chats.
  • Each new starter is paired up with a ‘Buddy’ who virtually supports them. From setting up system access and acting as a guide for their first few weeks, they are on hand to help them settle into their new job. Despite minimizing travel, we want to continue to meet and greet newcomers virtually. We engage newcomers in regular departmental calls, introduction meetings with global contacts, and introduce them to colleagues. We now use remote meetings to help them get to grips with the Y Soft spirit.
  • More than ever before, receiving real-time newcomer feedback is valuable. We take all feedback information and this goes directly into adjusting and monitoring our processes. This helps us make changes as we go along.


YSoft Clerbo provides newcomers with a personalized detailed (pre)onboarding plan. All important information, as well as upcoming training, are presented in chronological order in one central location. The interactive plan allows training progress to be recorded and monitored. 


The colleague ‘mug shot’ 

Ben’s experience with Y Soft started pre-Covid in January 2020 when he applied for a Business Development Manager role in the UK.  “An existing employee at Y Soft kindly gave me a heads up that there was a position that I may be interested in. I updated my CV and went to the ‘YSoft Jobs Board’ to read the job description, which was clear and precise. It looked like a perfect match.” says Ben

It is key to remember that first impressions are important, for both employee and employer. Ben’s first impressions were positive and proved that Y Soft had an effective and well-managed recruitment system. Ben continues: “Complementing the easy to use system and application process, a short time later, I received a call from a Y Soft HR representative. They informed me that my application was being processed, and I was in the running for the position. He took the time to outline the 3 stages of the process which Y Soft has in place for recruitment. From the start I had a clear understanding of the processes, timeframes and expectations.”

“From the recruitment process to employment, there was respectful communication through phone calls, follow-up information, written confirmation and contracts. With Covid delaying my start date, I was signed up to Clerbo to use the pre-boarding and onboarding portal. This meant that prior to my start date, I was able to access product details, webinars and perform tasks to enhance my knowledge of the products and Y Soft.”

Ben started at Y Soft in July 2020. His first two weeks were due to be filled with the standard Y Soft recruitment practices, meeting the HR team and key personnel at our Head Office in the Czech Republic. However, because of Covid-19 restrictions, Ben is still waiting for this trip.

“I have only met four colleagues in person since my first interview over a year ago. This has been quite a challenge as I was employed to make an impact in the UK markets by utilizing existing YSofters around me. I only know them, and them me, by “mug shot” pictures on the screen. However, in the background, Clerbo moved from preboarding to onboarding tasks. This provided a way to meet team members in a host of locations (online due to Covid of course) and to provide training in their areas of expertise. It also provided structured training courses on applications used by Y Soft. Importantly, Clerbo creates a self-generating agenda for 121 catch up meetings synced with both my line Manager and HR representative over my initial probation period.”

Covid has created many challenges for both employees and employers. Some tasks are now carried out differently and in certain situations they are taking longer to complete. Y Soft had an onboarding structure in place that was robust and open for adapting to life during the pandemic and beyond. Even though Ben has physically met only four of his colleagues in person, the Y Soft onboarding process offered a structure which allows him to get to know his colleagues and processes. 

Want to find out how you can see what all the fuss is about? Find out first-hand what onboarding at Y Soft is like - check out our open positions Come-on-do-it.png