The professional world looks a lot different today than it did a few years ago. In terms of how we work, the pandemic catapulted a lot of businesses years into the future.
Almost overnight, companies of all sizes had to create new policies, alter management styles, adapt to remote employment, and find new ways to equip employees for success in a virtual world. And in many cases, this would’ve taken them years to implement–if ever.
But as the dust settled, silver linings emerged when it came to these organizations’ ability to staff their teams and opened up all kinds of possibilities for acquiring great talent.
The key is making sure to approach it the right way.
How Does Remote Employment Benefit Businesses?
There were a lot of companies that had no plans to implement remote employment. But now that they’ve done the heavy lifting to accommodate it, they stand to realize some benefits.
- Broader talent pools: When your team doesn’t need to be in an office together, your access to talent is no longer confined by geographical borders. You can pick the best talent, regardless of what city, state, or even country they live in.
- Cost-effective outsourcing: As an extension of the broader talent pool, companies ranging from sole-proprietorships to national organizations can benefit from cost-effective outsourcing of tasks.
- Lower overheads and expenses: Fewer in-office staff means less need for an office space, in turn resulting in massive cost savings. This includes everything from getting less expensive leases to saving on electricity, hydro, furniture, hardware, stationery, and… the list goes on.
- Increased employee wellbeing: Happy employees are more productive and stick around longer. This means you can actually get results from remote employees that are equal to if not better than those in the office, all while reducing turnover costs.
- Higher appeal for job candidates: As remote work becomes the norm, it will be seen as less of a perk and more of a necessity. So, companies that offer remote work will have a leg up in their recruitment efforts compared to those that don’t.
But there’s one big glaring challenge facing anyone looking to hire remote talent: it can feel new and daunting.
It doesn’t have to be, though. It’s just a matter of having the right systems in place to make it as foolproof as possible.
7 Ways to Hire Top-Tier Remote Talent
The key to scouting, hiring, and onboarding the caliber of remote talent you want comes down to reimagining archaic in-person processes and leveraging the right tools and systems.
Here’s how to do it.
1. Define the Characteristics of Your Ideal Remote Employee
Before you even start your search, you need to define the qualities that great remote employees possess.
This can include things like:
- Communication skills: Even in person, communication between colleagues can be challenging. Add distance into the mix along with the fact that most communication will happen via email, text, chat, or video meeting, and things get even more complicated. It’s important to ensure your remote hires have strong written and verbal communication skills.
- Trustworthiness: If you can’t trust the person, then not being able to see them every day is going to cause you to lose sleep. Make sure you trust who you hire.
- Responsiveness: When you have a remote employee, you need to trust that they’ll respond to you in a timely manner. Keep an eye on how quickly candidates respond during the recruitment process to get an idea of this.
- Initiative: Working remote isn’t for everyone. Many people find it difficult to stay engaged and motivated. You need someone who’s a self-starter and is able to work independently.
Probing for examples and supporting evidence of these traits is a vital part of your remote hiring process.
2. Make Sure Your Policies Are Updated
Before you start seeking a remote candidate, update your policies to account for remote employment, including:
- How to deal with time zone differences
- How your hire will handle their workday schedule and hours
- How you’ll gauge their success
- Your specific expectations of the person on a daily, monthly, and annual basis
You don’t want to be guessing about how to measure the success of your new remote hire.
3. Pre-Qualify Candidates and Avoid Rushing
When you’re looking to make a remote hire, don’t be afraid to pre-qualify them out of respect for both of your time.
You can request a video-recorded cover letter so that you can get a feel for who they are before booking an interview.
Remember, it’s smart to take your time when hiring remotely. So, don’t rush the process. Give yourself enough time to do your due diligence.
4. Rework Your Job Description and Posting
Defining the position you’re hiring for is important. This means spelling out not only the standard points about the job–such as responsibilities and duties, required and preferred qualifications, and compensation–but also remote-focused details, such as:
- Remote tools they’ll need to utilize
- How the remote role will function including work hours and expected response times
- Policies around workday flexibility
- Parameters with differing timezones
By laying all your cards on the table, you’ll know the candidates that apply understand exactly what they’re in for.
5. Solidify Your Remote Interview Strategy
Most remote interviews happen by phone and video. And that makes them a whole lot different than in-person interviews.
So, make sure you’re familiar with video conferencing technology and video interview best practices, including:
- Giving all relevant details to the candidate well in advance of the interview
- Ensuring you don’t skip the small talk which will make you both feel at easy
- Having a quiet place to take the meeting with a strong internet connection
- Checking all of your technology in advance
- Dressing appropriately, even if you’re working from home
- Keeping your background neutral and professional
You’ll also want to create a strong set of interview questions, like:
- What’s your experience with working remotely and how do you tackle big projects when you’re not based out of a physical office?
- Do you have a go-to WFH productivity hack that helps you stay focused while working remotely?
- What’s your approach to remote communication and collaboration and how do you handle situations where you and a co-worker’s ideas are not aligned?
And since it can be harder to get a feel for someone without their in-person cues, be proactive in watching for their level of enthusiasm, points of passion, and the kinds of questions they ask.
6. Know Where to Look for Talent
If you’re wondering where to start seeking remote talent, there are a ton of options available to you, including:
- Job boards: Check out job boards like FlexJobs, Indeed, or Monster.
- Hiring networks: Check out the Jobs section of LinkedIn as well as places like AngelList, Remote.co, and Upwork.
- Current staff: Tap into your current staff for referrals and people they might know who would be a good fit.
And of course, you’ll want to include this on the Careers section of your website.
7. Make Sure Your Onboarding Process is Top-Tier
The onboarding process is pivotal. It sets the tone for your employee’s entire tenure at your business. So, make sure you tailor it for remote work, including:
- Making sure they’re equipped with all the tools, hardware, and software they need to do their jobs
- Scheduling digital training sessions in their calendar
- Building a strong library of onboarding materials that they can review at first and any other time they need to
- Planning social time, like Zoom happy hours, that help colleagues get to know each other
- Making sure the new candidate gets face-time with every team member
- Having some small assignments teed up and ready to go for them
As the working world evolves, remote employment may present you with awesome opportunities to acquire new team members–whether you’re a small business owner or the leader of a national organization.
So, if that need arises, make sure your remote hiring processes are dialed in and you can feel confident you’re getting the top-tier talent you need.