Starting a new job during Covid-19… my experience of joining LAT

Group of business persons handshake in the office

Working from home in a job you know inside out is hard enough during Covid-19, however starting a whole new career during lockdown was definitely a challenge I did not expect to come across! I interviewed for my role with Leigh Academies Trust in January 2021 where it was still remote working. I was unsure what to expect with a virtual interview as I had never had one online before, and I would say it was more daunting to me than an in person interview. I was worried about where in my house to sit and what to wear as I didn’t want it to look odd sitting at my dining table in a suit but still wanted to remain professional! 

It clearly went well as I was successful and started my new job with Leigh Academies Trust in the recruitment team in March 2021. I was so nervous… it was a whole new company and a whole new load of responsibilities, I had never even touched on recruitment before so it was all new to me. Personally, I found working from home tough. I enjoy face to face interaction and having to learn something from scratch at home felt like it was almost impossible however thanks to Holly and Elene I managed to pull through and it was all down to the help from them so I will be forever grateful for that!

After a month of working virtually together I finally got to go into the office and see my desk and actually meet Elene in person. We were back on a phased return so it was only one day a week but it really broke me in to what it would be like when we were all eventually going to be in together.  In time I then finally met my other colleague, Rachel (a fellow Recruitment Administrator who also started in her role in lockdown!)  I was there to show her how to post adverts and she taught me who everyone was in the trust as I had no clue! Trying to introduce myself to everyone in the office was interesting as there were not many people were in at one time… as soon as I saw an opportunity to say hello I grabbed it! To this day I still haven’t met a lot of my colleagues as they are based within the academies, but it helps when people have their pictures on email as it is always nice to put a face to a name. 

As I joined at the busiest time in the recruitment cycle, it was all hands on deck.  I was thrown in at the deep end which helped me as it didn’t allow me time to worry and overthink things (as I sometimes have a tendency to do).  I just knuckled down and learnt more and more as I went along. We were still working part time in the office and part time at home at this point, and the days I was in the office were amazing as I could really go through my work and have my colleagues right there when I needed them. 

In September I actually met my manager for the first time (she had been on maternity leave while I started in post).  This is when I feel like my journey really started! This was unlike any situation I had been in before as my previous managers have always been the first person that I had met. The whole team were in together and it felt like a whole new beginning. Policies and procedures were changing, we were pushing our social media more and even started to create a separate recruitment website! The buzz of it all has been unlike anything I have experienced before and although hard, it is always rewarding when you see all of your hard work pay off! 

With the ongoing changes to working guidance due to Covid-19, just as we get used to being back in the office together we then switch to remote working again (as does the rest of the world!)  The times that we, a really close and lively recruitment team, have together is amazing… that’s what is keeping us going!