How SoFi Is Putting Candidates First in An Increasingly Virtual World

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans have experienced the complexities of working and interviewing remotely. In-person meetings and interviews now happen over Zoom and many job seekers apply, interview, and start new roles fully remote. It’s expected that by 2026, 40.7 million American professionals will be fully remote - setting new standards for the work environment. 

At SoFi, we pride ourselves in being employee-first, serving as trusted advisors to candidates as they take on new and tough decisions, including where they will work.

We spoke with SoFi’s Talent Acquisition Manager Mona Mehta and Senior Recruiter Benjamin Ross to understand how candidates’ expectations have changed during the pandemic and how SoFi is putting candidates first in this increasingly virtual world.

Hello Mona and Ben! To start, can you tell us what you do at SoFi and your favorite thing about working here?

Mona: I’m a Business Recruiting Manager at SoFi and work with all of our corporate functions, business units and the Bank. What brings me to work every day are the people and teams I’m surrounded by! Working together in SoFi’s mission-driven environment allows us to truly embrace our values and put our best foot forward to reach our goal of helping people achieve financial independence.

Ben: I’m a Senior Recruiter for all things general and administrative (G&A) at SoFi. My favorite aspect about working here is that I am an integral part of building our teams at such a rapid pace, and I take pride in representing SoFi and our mission to the external market of potential employees!

Living through a pandemic has dramatically changed how many Americans live and work. Have you seen candidates’ expectations of employers change during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Mona: Absolutely! Navigating the challenges of COVID has changed how we all go through the basics of life, and has put a lot of things into perspective for many professionals. Candidates are much more open about their lifestyles, living situations, family obligations, mental well-being, and want to understand how teams will support work/life integration rather than balance.

“Candidates are much more open about their lifestyles, living situations, family obligations, mental well-being, and want to understand how teams will support work/life integration rather than balance.

In terms of expectations, candidates continue to value growth and flexibility. In addition, once the economy stabilized post-2020, we entered a highly-competitive job market and saw a major change in compensation expectations. Overall, the value of top talent is rising across industries and geographies, making candidates' expectations increasingly important as employers face one of the toughest hiring markets to date.

Ben: We’ve seen a massive paradigm shift in the way candidates evaluate companies as potential employers, and the interview process is the first step in this evaluation. As a recruiter, most of my initial calls with people have been focused on the mission of the company, how the company treats its employees, and if there is support in place for growth and learning. Certainly, the income expectations have increased over the last 2 years, but candidates are absolutely putting more weight on “will this job and company make me happy?” rather than just a salary number.

It sounds like we are not only experiencing the “Great Resignation” but also the “Great Reprioritization.” What is SoFi doing to meet these new candidate expectations, especially when interactions are completely virtual?

Mona: Our team’s philosophy is transparency - the more accurate a picture we can paint about a job, expectations, hours, company culture, etc., the higher likelihood we build trust with our candidates and hiring teams so we can find the “perfect match.” The way that we recruit has changed in that the majority of our interviews are conducted virtually via video conferencing tools. It allows us to move quickly without having to worry about logistics, travel, and certain accommodations and helps us focus more on individual motivators for candidates. 

Ben: One of the biggest changes has been the lack of “onsite interviews”, where candidates used to shake hands, see the office space, and truly feel the energy of the company. Everything is virtual now, so candidates are taking a big leap of faith when accepting an offer based off of a few Zoom calls. I feel more responsibility to portray and articulate the company culture and prepare people for what life is like at SoFi.

“Everything is virtual now, so candidates are taking a big leap of faith
when accepting an offer based off of a few Zoom calls.”

We now offer more flexibility to work from home, more remote working options, and have a big focus on making all employees feel included, no matter where they are located. Overall, I’m as honest as I can be with every candidate during the hiring process. My mindset is that if things go well, we will be colleagues, so let’s create a good relationship from the jump based on trust and transparency!

Has the way that SoFi’s recruiters, and the broader Talent Acquisition team, advocate for candidates changed since the pandemic? 

Mona: We take new things into consideration. For example, we push hiring teams to think outside of the box - does this role truly need to be onsite if the top candidate prefers remote or hybrid work? 

Ben: We are looking for talent, and we know that doesn’t always come in the perfectly-packaged resume that a hiring team might envision. It’s our job to dig in and understand what makes people tick, and what their best attributes are that would make them strong additions to the SoFi family. People have dealt with a lot during the pandemic, and sometimes the advocacy of a recruiter can make all the difference in finding their dream job. This potential to help people and SoFi be better together is always top of mind.

Lastly, how does SoFi take care of candidates to ensure they are supported as they go through a virtual application and interview process?

Mona: I’m extremely proud of the work that our team is doing to offer a strong candidate experience. We’ve rolled out a new accommodations program, developed diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) strategies, and are trying to replicate a high-touch approach in a virtual world. Many of these are in the form of externally-facing resources that shed light on what SoFi looks like on the “inside.” For example, anyone can check out our DE&I site with REAL data of who we are as a company, demonstrating our commitment to our values of embracing diversity, and setting ambitious goals that we can be accountable for.

“[We] are trying to replicate a high-touch approach in a virtual world.“

Hiring teams and recruiters are also demonstrating the highest levels of compassion as candidates continue to juggle sickness, childcare, and mental health in these challenging times. We have a supportive culture of people striving for the best in their careers, not just workers tied to a job. 

Ben: Our Talent Acquisition team is very dedicated to candidate experience. I constantly receive feedback from candidates that our resources to help them prepare were insightful and unique compared to other companies.

Often, when I’m asked questions about SoFi, I’ll send a resource (whether a web page, blog, or news article) that reiterates my answers. This is common practice for our team because we want to build trust and credibility, and it’s important for candidates to know these answers aren’t just a sales pitch but the reality. This gives the candidate confidence that we are who we say we are! With this effort, even in the virtual world, I’m hopeful all our candidates feel that we genuinely care about their success, whether at SoFi or beyond.

Readers: you can check out some SoFi resources and news articles here.

Thank you Mona and Ben for sharing your perspectives and insight. I can see the passion you have for this work and we’re very lucky to have you taking such good care of our candidates. And readers - we are hiring! Check out our open roles and consider applying today.

Join the SoFi Talent Community!

The individuals featured are SoFi employees. Their personal experiences, obviously, do not take into account your own specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. Results will vary.

(Future Workforce Report 2021: How Remote Work is Changing Businesses Forever, 2021).

SoFi provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion (including religious dress and grooming practices), sex (including pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, breastfeeding, and conditions related to breastfeeding), gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, ancestry, age (40 or over), physical or medical disability, medical condition, marital status, registered domestic partner status, sexual orientation, genetic information, military and/or veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by applicable state or federal law.

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Chloe Lombardo, Talent Brand @ SoFi