The new reality of the workplace is remote workers. As technology and modern business practices improve, you no longer have to consider only applicants from a certain region—you’re free to consider almost any candidate in the world, which can help you save money and grow your business. But with this freedom comes a new set of remote hiring challenges. Thankfully, these eight tips help make the process a breeze.
Before you even get the chance to consider any remote workers, your job description tells them what to think of your business. To create the best possible first impression, emphasize aspects of the job that are most appealing to remote workers: Flexibility, a comprehensive support system, good work-life balance. By crafting a description that outlines the positive aspects of remote work and values productivity over process, you’ll find yourself with a strong pool of applicants, making the rest of the remote hiring process much easier.
Posting your job listings in the right places is also an incredibly important but often overlooked part of remote hiring. Unlike the regular sites, there are plenty that focus exclusively on remote listings, making it much easier to connect with applicants who understand the process of working remotely. You’ll have to pay to post on them, but it’s worth the investment. Use more general sites like ‘FlexJobs’ and ‘We Work Remotely’ to reach a wider audience. For a smaller but deeper pool of candidates, you can also look into industry-specific listing sites, like editorial-focused ‘Ed2010’, development and management-driven ‘Working Nomads’, and SkipTheDrive’s dozens of subcategories.
You should know exactly how many people you want on your remote team and what you want each specific role to encompass. If you don’t have answers for each of those questions yet, consider the goal that you’re hiring the team to accomplish, then work backwards as you imagine your ideal team. The best way to set up for success is to delineate exactly what needs to be accomplished by each member—that way, you know who you need to hire and how the group’s personalities should fit together. Setting expectations early makes it much easier to build your team and monitor their progress down the line.
Like any normal office job, you should perform due diligence with each top candidate. But when you want to hire remote workers, you should heighten this step. Talk to each of their references and ask questions that speak to remote job responsibilities, such as responsiveness, initiative, and ability to function in a team. If there are any red flags, don’t be afraid to consider someone else—it’s better to have an abundance of caution when narrowing down these candidates. More than anything, you want a team that will perform well together, so vet them with teamwork and ability in mind. Company culture is still key.
Gone are the days of simple phone calls. Thanks to today’s tech, almost everyone has access to video chat, so use this to your advantage. Make sure you ask the right questions, especially ones about availability, flexibility, and organization. If it’s hard for the applicant to nail down an interview time or for the get an internet connection, it’s a great indicator that they might not be able to perform the unique duties of remote work. On the other hand, if you end up having a productive conversation despite the physical distance, you might have found the right person for the job.
By now, you’ve narrowed the pool down to your top few candidates. As you know already, this is where hiring gets tougher, especially if you’re new to remote hiring. To help suss out who could be the perfect fit, implement a skills assessment during the hiring process. This can be as quick or as involved as you want it to be, but make sure that it speaks to the actual day-to-day work that you will be asking of your remote employees. If you’re hiring a communications team, give them a writing test. If you need a group of developers for a project, test their coding skills before bringing them onboard.
Now that you’ve narrowed down the field into your most qualified group of candidates, it’s time to introduce them to each other. They’ll most likely get along well, like any other employees in an office environment, but monitor their initial communications and check for any issues that might arise. You should be present for their first meeting, which will take place as part of the onboarding process, where you can establish a productive relationship between group members.
Even after you’ve made your final choices, you can still get something more out of the remote hiring process. Schedule one-on-ones with your remote employees and check in on their progress. Check if their onboarding went well, if they’re working well as part of a team, and even if they have any pointers for you to make the process smoother the next time you do it. You’ll be surprised at just how much you can learn by going back to them.