HR Post Covid
Facebook Israel: “The market realized how important our products are” during Covid-19
Many companies struggled with lockdowns and social distancing, but for the world’s largest social network, it was their chance to shine
When your product can help more than two billion people during a global pandemic, all eyes are on how you react to such a crisis. As well as treating its employees well during lockdowns and their new working from home environments, it turns out Facebook’s value could be seen externally as well as internally.
“Internally, I think that our employees reacted positively to how well we were being cared for by our company,” said Facebook Israel’s Global Product and Software Recruiting Manager and Site Recruiting Leader, Tahg Adler. He cited how Facebook sent and set up work equipment directly in the homes of its new hires, running new hire orientation, and training up new teammates all while working from home.
“Externally, I felt like the market realized how important our products are to connecting the world - particularly during a global pandemic with social distancing restrictions.”
Of course, he’s not wrong. While we may be Zooming with our parents and grandparents or using virtual office tools with our colleagues, consumers were still glued to Facebook’s products like Instagram and WhatsApp to connect with their peers.
Adler joined CTech for its HR Post-Covid series to share how the company dealt with such an increased demand during 2020.
Company Name: Facebook
Tahg Adler, Global Product and Software Recruiting Manager and Site Recruiting Leader for Facebook Israel
Field of Activity:
I am leading our recruiting teams to hire the talents that will build the products for our company and serve our global community while focusing on giving a great candidate experience.
Number of employees/location:
Hundreds of employees work for Facebook’s Israeli R&D offices, which are located in Sarona, Tel Aviv.
Professional background of HR Manager:
I have over two decades of experience in leading recruitment teams of top global companies, both in the U.S. and in Israel - among them are Google, Airbnb, Red Hat, and GoPro.
On a scale of 1-10, how much did the coronavirus pandemic disrupt operations at the company?
The answer is 5. The global pandemic pushed us to evolve the way we operate as a company, as it caused us to think differently and significantly shift our working practices accordingly. We adjusted our recruiting operations to the current remote work situation and customized our interviewing and onboarding experiences to a virtual environment. Our candidates were used to live, face-to-face interviews – due to the health and safety precautions that were taken as a result of the pandemic we decided that our candidates can interview via video conference throughout the entire process.
We also adapted our initial onboarding experience for new hires to a virtual format. This included sending (and setting up) work equipment directly in the homes of our new hires, running new hire orientation, and training up new teammates within their respective functions while working from home. We were committed to try and make this experience as smooth as possible – I was very impressed with our company's ability to quickly adapt and to efficiently move towards working in a virtual environment globally.
What interesting technological tools do you use in employee management/recruitment?
While we shifted our overall recruiting activities (including recruiting events) and interviews to the virtual environment, our recruiting process remained quite consistent with our overall approach to the external market – including our recruitment tools. We continued to focus on recruiting across diverse populations and tried to provide the best candidate experience possible, despite the new circumstances.
Thankfully, all of our teams (recruiting team, recruiting events team, candidate experience team, and interviewers) adapted very well to the virtual settings and succeed to create a great experience for our candidates throughout the entire recruitment process. We hosted many virtual recruiting events and activities - where historically, we hosted candidates physically in our offices for these events and interviews, we shifted these recruiting activities to take place online.
We also thought that it would be important to share some tips with the candidates and explain how we adapted to the virtual interviews, so we published a dedicated piece in that regard.
What positive and/or negative impact did the outbreak have on the human capital of the company?
Internally, I think that our employees reacted positively to how well we were being cared for by our company - and externally, I felt like the market realized how important our products are to connecting the world - particularly during a global pandemic with social distancing restrictions. I think that the care that our company provided to employees, along with the relevance of our products to the global community, helped us to enhance our attraction and brand affiliation to the external talent market.
On the other hand, maintaining the company and team culture was a bit more challenging at first, as it was a new experience that we had to work with. Prior to the outbreak, all work interactions were primarily in a live, physical environment – from onboarding our new hires, to team meetings and general team bonding. As the global pandemic spread across the globe, we quickly adapted and moved how we operate to working. Naturally, we had to work through some challenges in order to learn how to operate in this new environment.
What are the two major challenges you are coping with these days?
Speaking for myself, I experienced a few very difficult challenges throughout the last few months. I genuinely miss the physical and live interactions with my teammates; at times, I have some personal challenges with managing my four kids’ home and online school schedules while trying to work. In both of these challenging situations, our company was very helpful in giving me the time that I needed, and my teammates being even more mindful about how we can maintain our culture together.
Are you actively recruiting? If so, what is the process and where can the applicants find you?
Yes - we are absolutely hiring and thankfully we have not stopped during the global pandemic. Our company’s mission is to give people the power to build communities and bring the world closer together, a goal that had become more relevant than ever and thereby we continue to grow. We are hiring across the board, including Software Engineers, Engineering Leaders, Product Managers, Product Designers, Content Designers, UX Researchers, Data Scientists, Data Engineers, and more. We put together an Interviewing at Facebook resource to help our candidates prepare for their interviews. Interested applications can view and apply for our open positions via our career page.
Which changes forced upon you by the circumstances will stay in place after Covid-19 is over, and which are you most eager to revert back to normal?
I believe it’s too soon to know exactly what will stick and what will go back to normal after the pandemic. We generally learned that we were able to maintain our recruiting productivity while working from home, and were also able to attract and hire incredible candidates within the remote work environment – for example, we had higher attendance at our virtual recruiting events. I believe that when things go back to “normal”, it is possible that we may eventually go back to doing some of our recruiting activities in a physical format – but I can definitely see us maintaining some things in a virtual world.