Noah joined Branch in mid-March as the Toronto General Manager. His work primarily consists of enterprise sales, but also encompasses plenty of operations and customer success functions.
You were hired right around the time that the pandemic really hit North America. What was it like to join a company amid so much uncertainty?
It was all pretty wild. I went into my first day thinking that it would be a regular day (which would’ve included a furniture install and lunch with one of our co-founders, Verity), but Toronto and the province of Ontario ended shutting down the same day. So it was definitely a different start than I’d expected.
Additionally, within my first two weeks, we started the process of pivoting to selling WFH furniture, so change has been more-or-less a constant since I’ve started. It’s been exciting!
Luckily, our CEO Greg and I had worked together in the past & met in person before I signed my offer there. And I got to meet Verity on my first day, so there was at least some in-person familiarity with a few of the team members. However, I don’t know when I’ll get to meet the rest of our team in New York!
As GM, your job includes growing the Canada team. How did your approach to finding and hiring new talent change in light of the pandemic?
I think the approach to getting applicants was honestly relatively unchanged. We focused on posting jobs on Indeed, our website, and LinkedIn and also reached out to our network to get referrals.
For the interviews themselves, I ended up having a preference for video for my interviews, but I do wonder if our initial screening calls should’ve been audio-based (as I know video interviews can be quite nerve-wracking). If we were ever to hire for a role remotely again, I think I’d do audio calls for the first round of interviews and video calls as people get further through the process.
How did you plan for onboarding your new hire, Keisha?
Luckily, we’re cloud-based at Branch, so that lent itself for easy collaboration across Google Docs, Slack, and some of our other internal tools.
A lot of the planning was through a Google Doc that covered the specific topics we’d be covering in onboarding along with our target milestones throughout the onboarding process.
Additionally, Keisha is a (self-described) visual learner, so I did a lot of the onboarding and showing of tools via video calls while sharing my screen. That way, she could see all the content as I talked through the specifics. We also set-up shadowing calls with other team members (where they also shared their screens).
For questions, I made extra clear that I could be ‘bothered’ at any time for questions via Slack. I think it’s key to overemphasize this at the beginning of any onboarding process.
Lastly, a key part of onboarding was ensuring that she was able to meet all our team members via video call. While this obviously isn’t the same as meeting in person, it’s so key to have buy-in for this across an organization while everyone’s working remotely!