When I first joined Legacy.com in March 2008 as the HR Manager, I had no idea what to expect from a company that handles online memorialization. Sure, the Human Resources function would be similar to my previous work in HR, but this was different. I was going to be hiring people sight unseen! You’re probably wondering why on earth I would do such a thing. Well, here’s why.
As a visitor to this blog, you likely are aware that Legacy.com hosts online obituaries for its newspaper and funeral home clients, and includes with that service an online Guest Book in which visitors to the obituary can leave condolence messages. One thing we also offer is a small army of Content Screeners, Legacy.com employees who review messages left in Guest Books to ensure the content of the messages is appropriate for posting. These Screeners also work remotely from their homes, and my job is to hire the right people to fill these positions. To increase our applicant pool, we recruit throughout Illinois and Indiana. And so that our applicants don’t have to travel many hours for an interview, we conduct our content screener interviews via phone.
My fourth day at Legacy, I dove face first into the remote hiring process. I was incredibly nervous about helping to make hiring decisions on potential employees without ever laying eyes on them. I mean, what if an applicant was a closet criminal? Surely I would be able to see that if I met them in person. But over the phone, I worried they could deceive me into letting a nefarious character onto our team.
Luckily, I managed to reign in my overactive imagination and focus on the task at hand. Over time, I learned that, while it is indeed much harder to hire someone based solely on their qualifications, a background check, and their answers to our interview questions, it is also an exciting challenge and a good way to remain unbiased (an HR Manager’s favorite word!). Interviewers don’t get to see an applicant’s facial expressions – did she roll her eyes at my question? Did he constantly check his watch because he was bored? – or whether or not they showered and dressed up for the interview. Hiring someone sight unseen is truly about whether they are qualified for the position and can do the work.
Today, I’m happy to report we’ve hired some truly excellent employees sight unseen! Meeting them in person for the first time is even more enjoyable after spending so much time getting to know them through other means.