It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the workforce. For many companies, the pandemic began the shift to remote and hybrid work, which has become mainstream. As society adjusts to a new normal, a large number of employees prefer to work remotely. A recent survey from McKinsey found that 87% percent of workers offered at least some remote work embrace the opportunity. What does this mean for hiring staff?
Benefits of Hiring Remote Employees
There are a variety of benefits of hiring remote workers, such as:
- Bigger hiring pool: Location is not a roadblock when hiring remote workers, increasing the number of potential applicants.
- Employee retention: Working remotely is a huge factor in reducing employee turnover. A recent report from Owl Labs found that 84% of employees would be happier to continue working remotely.
- Reduce overhead costs: Fully remote employees don’t need a desk, furniture, or office supplies. In areas such as field service, the cost and time to travel for training can be eliminated entirely.
- Productivity: The Owl Labs report also found that 90% of employees were as or more productive working remotely than in the office.
Common Roadblocks of Hiring Remote Employees
Hiring remote employees can be hard. Businesses may be familiar with the following challenges:
- Finding the right applicants: Although a bigger applicant pool can be a benefit, it can be difficult to sift through and find the strongest candidates.
- Misalignment: Having a broken meeting link or realizing that the meeting is in another time zone can be frustrating for a potential candidate.
- Connectivity issues: A shaky internet connection can create confusion and dropped calls during interviews.
- Lack of personal connection: It can often be difficult to foster the feeling of human connectivity when hiring fully remote employees and solely communicating through video calls.
No hiring process is without its growing pains, and hiring remote employees is no exception. With ample planning and the right strategy, companies can successfully interview and hire remote employees.
10 Tips for Hiring Fully Remote Employees
The better equipped a company is to hire remote employees, the more successful the hiring process will be for both parties. Here’s a comprehensive list of recruiting and interviewing tips for hiring remote employees.
- Embrace technology
One key to successfully hiring remote employees is having the right technology and software. Video conferencing equipment, internal communications and file storage, mobile device management and online scheduling platforms are integral for both parties.
- Take note of the candidate’s communication style
A candidate’s communication style during the interview process indicates their greater communication skills. Notice if they prefer phone calls or email. Do they respond in a timely manner? Do they use slang or overly informal language in their digital communications? The answers to these questions will predict their communication style as an employee.
- Identify critical qualifications in a remote candidate
Working from home is not for everyone. Consider the must-have qualifications for a candidate, such as the ability to ask for feedback and voice their needs and concerns. They must also be a self-starter and well-organized to thrive in a remote work environment.
- Consider remote-specific skills
Remote employees must have strong time management skills and the ability to work independently, often with little supervision. Remote employees need to have strong digital communication skills since that will be their primary mode of interaction with co-workers.
- Set interviewees up for success
Similarly to an in-person interview, ensure a remote candidate has any materials or relevant information before the interview. This includes video conferencing links, the names and positions of who they’re interviewing with, and a detailed agenda, if relevant.
- Make job requirements clear
To reduce the number of unqualified applicants, be as specific as you can in the job description. In addition to job roles and responsibilities, the job description should answer logistic-related questions, such as:
- Do I need to be in a specific location or time zone to apply?
- Is this position 100% remote?
- Are there specific hours that I need to be online?
- What does the day-to-day look like?
- Is it OK if I need to run an errand or have an appointment during the day?
- Have a strong onboarding process
A strong onboarding experience can make a new employee feel valued. Organizations with a strong onboarding process improve retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. A successful onboarding process can set a new employee up for success, and keep processes and work streamlined.
- Focus on company culture
Company culture is just as important, if not more so to remote employees as it is to on-site workers. Without an established company culture, remote employees can feel isolated, which can affect their work quality. If your company doesn’t have a remote culture with high levels of employee engagement, candidates may look elsewhere.
- Consider a behavioral assessment to see how they work with the team
A behavioral assessment is an objective way to learn more about a candidate’s behaviors, values, and traits. It can be a helpful tool to determine if the candidate has a compatible personality and working style with the team. It is also important to evaluate a candidate against your company’s unique core values to ensure that they align with the culture.
- Recruit through the right sources
Post job listings where suitable candidates will see them. In addition to posting on your website and social media, consider posting on industry-specific websites as well as remote-only websites.
Hiring online employees may seem like a challenge, but with the right processes and strategies in place, it can be an enjoyable and rewarding process. A simple way to gauge your existing remote hiring process is to ask current employees about their experience. They can provide feedback on the process to help make it better for future remote candidates.