Have you ever thought about hiring a remote employee? Perhaps you can’t find anyone with the specific skill set that you’re looking for in your city or region, or maybe you know of the perfect candidate for a new opening... but they just happen to live in a different country. You can overcome both of these issues by implementing remote hiring strategies.
It turns out that hiring remote talent is mutually beneficial for employees and employers and has had a significant impact on employee retention and happiness. The Owl Labs’ 2017 State of Remote Work report showed that companies that allow remote work have 25% lower turnover than those that don’t. Additionally, the CNBC SurveyMonkey Workforce Survey shows that remote workers have a Workforce Happiness Index score of 75 out of 100, which exceeds the index score of their in-person counterparts by 4 points.
In this article, you’ll discover sources to identify and recruit remote job seekers, interview questions to evaluate remote candidates, and strategies to attract top remote talent.
Know what makes good remote talent
When hiring for a remote team, it is helpful to keep in mind what qualities and skill sets are required for the success of the employee.
Some common qualities, such as good communication and strong organizational skills, are valuable for in-person teams, but necessary for distributed teams.
There are also other qualities, such as flexibility and the ability to work autonomously, that you may not normally screen for during in-person talent recruitment. However, these traits will prove important when evaluating any remote hire.
Once you have a clear understanding of which skills and qualities are needed for remote talent to succeed, you’ll be able to successfully develop a recruiting program that effectively screens for the top candidates.
Define your ideal candidate
Try to visualize what traits the ideal employee embodies, what kind of personality do they have? What is their communication style? Are they able to work within a specific time zone or region? Specifying these traits early on will help you attract the best talent for your company.
Once you have a clear idea of what an ideal candidate looks like, you’ll be able to develop recruitment strategies and a selection process that will identify the best jobseekers for the role.
Use the right candidate sourcing strategies
Remote jobseekers can be found across different platforms. There are numerous job boards available online that specifically attract those that are seeking remote work such as Remote.co or WeWorkRemotely.
However, there are many places you may consider sourcing talent from. In addition to job boards, you can leverage social networks across platforms like Slack, Facebook, and LinkedIn. By diversifying your sourcing pool, you will ensure a broad range of candidates with different skill sets and backgrounds.
You may also want to consider what online tools and platforms your ideal candidate engages with to share their work and build community. For example, Dribbble is a social media platform where digital designers and creatives can showcase their work. This is a great platform to discover designers, and they even have a search feature for those specifically seeking to hire on a full time or freelance basis. If you are looking for a technical hire, you may consider GitHub which is an open source community where developers can share their projects. These types of platforms and communities exist for many different hard skills you may target, from writing to website building.
Finally, ask your network for referrals. This sourcing strategy can deliver qualified leads that are pre-vetted by trusted peers within your industry. You can cast your net wide by announcing your plans to hire on LinkedIn or seek a curated selection by specifically reaching out to colleagues you’ve worked with before.
Set up a good interviewing process
Once you have successfully recruited candidates to apply, the focus shifts to effectively evaluating job applicants for their skill and company fit through an interview process.
Hiring a remote employee should use both synchronous and asynchronous methods to assess candidates. In the early stages of the recruitment process, you can leverage phone interviews, email, work samples, and skills tests to evaluate skills and abilities. A candidate’s communication style can be reflected in how quickly they respond to emails and how they communicate in writing.
In the late stages of the recruitment process, you can leverage video interviews and web conferencing apps like Zoom, Hangouts, Skype, Meet, and other video interviewing tools such as Vidcruiter, InterviewOpps, Video Recruiter.
Video interview tools can also be used for asynchronous interviews. For example, tools like Jobma allow candidates to answer and record their answers to interview questions in their own time. This is particularly helpful when you have candidates across multiple time zones.
When hiring remotely, video interviews provide the opportunity for the employer to build a more personable connection with the candidates, and this face to face interaction remains critical, even in remote work environments. Video interviews also offer the employer the opportunity to evaluate a candidate’s ability to use video conferencing tools.
Evaluate remote work culture fit
Remote work offers benefits in terms of flexibility but also requires a lot of discipline, communication, and the ability to work independently. It is important to assess remote talent for these traits during the interview process. Some good questions to evaluate employee readiness for a remote work environment are:
Which technology and tools have you used to work remotely in the past for communication, file sharing, and project management?
This question assesses the candidate’s familiarity with various tools and evaluates their savviness for the different uses they have. Candidates will need to have a strong grasp of digital communication tools to effectively collaborate in a remote environment.
How do you stay motivated?
Remote work often has limited in-person interactions. This type of work environment can be challenging for those who are extrinsically motivated by rewards such as salary, commission, benefits, or public recognition. Although these rewards are, to some extent, motivational for all employees, it is important for the employee to express alternative reasons for seeking employment.
Interviewers should seek individuals with strong intrinsic motivations. Be on the lookout for candidates that mention motivations such as the opportunity to have autonomy in their work, the ability to build mastery in a skill or knowledge, or a personal connection that would give the employee a sense of purpose in their work. These individuals are generally self-starters and reliable employees.
How do you manage your time and prioritize tasks?
Individuals on remote teams are expected to work on tasks independently and will need to effectively prioritize the different tasks they have to work on. The unstructured work schedule of a remote team gives the employee the freedom to prioritize tasks so that they can work most efficiently. For example, those who work best in the morning may choose to work on the harder projects first and spend the afternoon in meetings or responding to emails. It is important to consider how a candidate’s work style fits into the company’s work structure.
Tell us about a time where you needed to consult several team members to come up with an answer to an issue. What was the outcome?
Even though remote work requires independence and the ability to work alone, remote teams can still be very collaborative. The best candidates will be proficient in online tools for collaboration and will know how to effectively communicate with other team members. Communication should be timely, clear, and concise.
What challenges have you faced in the past as a result of working remotely?
For candidates that have experience working remotely, the way they answer this question can reveal how they will handle the challenges of remote work. Common challenges include lack of connection, difficulty with getting information quickly, and overcoming distractions. Those that work well in remote environments are aware of these challenges and are able to identify solutions with little to no assistance needed.
Which hours do you keep when working remotely? How do you schedule your day?
Remote teams may be distributed across time zones. Some flexibility may be required for scheduling meetings or when working synchronously on projects to get the job done.
Consider how many hours of overlap between team members are actually required to complete projects. How much can be completed asynchronously? While it is reasonable to expect teams to overlap work hours, it is also important to remember that many remote workers are attracted to that type of work environment because of the opportunity for flexible scheduling options.
Culture fit tests are another method to evaluate fit. There are several options available, including Human, which uses AI to remove bias that could potentially affect hiring decisions due to cultural differences and Saberr, which uses data-driven technology to predict how well a candidate will fit into the role, team, and organization.
Oyster also offers a Preparing for Distributed Work course which serves as a starting point for building skills for remote work. Job seekers can join the program to learn remote working skills and tools that set them up for success.
Set the right expectations
Employees should have a clear understanding of what their role involves, how it relates to the work of colleagues and other teams, and what success looks like. Any ambiguity or vague expectations about the job creates confusion, which can be costly for the company and demotivating for employees.
These expectations should be clearly outlined and shared in a job description and throughout the interview process.
Offer competitive compensation and benefits
Once you’ve identified and recruited the best remote talent, you need to find ways to attract and retain them. Individuals that work well remotely have countless options available to them, especially as more companies around the world expand their hiring across borders. You’re literally competing against companies around the world.
Top talent will look for fair compensation, at the least, and will often gravitate towards companies with attractive benefits packages. You can stand out as an employer by offering benefits that specifically consider the needs of remote employees such as a technology stipend, a home office stipend or coworking membership, or a professional development stipend.
Remote work is on the rise. Employers need to be prepared to effectively recruit remote employees to build a competitive talent acquisition strategy. Those that are able to hire remotely are able to attract and retain top talent.
Hiring a remote team requires strategy and planning to recruit and vet candidates through a different process than the one used to hire in-person teams. In the hiring process, it is important for employers to consider the unique skills and traits employees need to have in order to succeed in a remote environment.
While there is some additional upfront effort for the employer to hire remote talent, the benefits to the employer (in terms of increased employee retention and productivity) and to the employee (in terms of increased flexibility and autonomy), outweigh any short-term costs.
While you are evaluating the talent during this process, it is also important to remember that they are evaluating your company too. It is important to put your best foot forward by designing a process that accurately conveys the company culture and encourages candidates to open up.
Ready to build your remote team? Oyster makes hiring remote talent easy by integrating tools to help you hire, onboard, and pay your team with expert help available when needed.
Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, hire, pay, manage, develop and take care of a thriving global workforce. It lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches and expense.
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