That remote work is here to stay has become obvious to all business and to all prospective job candidates. More and more people are looking for flexible work schedules and the freedom to work from the comfort of the environment of their choice, and that’s great news.
Not only in terms of personal freedom; employers may also greatly benefit from hybrid work models at least if they’re not ready to go fully remote. One obvious benefit is decreased costs of renting (or buying) physical space… and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Next on, the opportunity to select the finest candidates from virtually wherever is an unprecedented revolution; pity not all businesses have recognized this opportunity… yet.
No matter how you look at it, remote work is a win-win situation for both parties, but that isn’t to say there aren’t any downsides.
First of all, not all managers have the skills or indeed the knowledge to select (let alone lead!) remote teams seamlessly. For companies practicing outsourcing, there are also cross-cultural matters to consider.
Fortunately, none of these obstacles are insurmountable; training and then some practice will definitely help them perform better.
Here are some tips on how to hire the best remote workers and on some typical traps to avoid.
Know What You Need Before You Start Online Interviews
On top of preparing a meeting outline, you should also have a clear idea of what exactly you are looking for in prospective candidates, with “exactly” being the target keyword.
Vague definitions like “online customer support employees” are not much to go on. Rather, consider target personalities, hard skills, and, especially, soft skills.
Soft skills get too easily overlooked by managers unused to managing remote teams, while they are, in fact, the most important feat to keep in mind. Online communication is full of misunderstandings and people need a lot of practice to get to learn to read between the lines.
Set Clear Expectations
Setting clear expectations as early as the interview will save you loads of time in the long run. It is essential to ensure the candidate is on the same page as your business. Ask as many questions as needed to determine whether the candidate is a good fit for your expectations.
One of the most common of mistakes is presuming that simply assigning a task and assuming “everything will be fine.” This strategy simply doesn’t work no matter how skilled the employees are.
Rather, you should make sure to provide the necessary information on all aspects of your expectations, including company culture, standard processes, working hours, and response times.This can be provided through a meeting agenda example when you connect with your hiree, or in a written format.
Create New Remote Hiring Process
Stephen Light, CMO and Co-Owner of Nolah Sleep says that creating a new remote hiring process rather than reshaping traditional hiring practices is the best approach. Because remote hiring makes it difficult to get the company culture across, traditional methods simply don’t work.
He underlines that this is easier with office work because prospective candidates can earn a lot by simply being present and observing things: from office layout to the break room, everything speaks clearly about company culture.
Don’t Miss Important Cues
Take it from the experts: train your mind to recognize the cues that are normally missed when you’re not interviewing candidates in person.
Anthony Martin, CEO and Co-Founder of Choice Mutual says that he tackles this obstacle by “observing their behavior every time we communicate,” which includes all emails, Zoom meetings (whether they’re on time), and the amount of effort they put into the hiring process.
Martin says that it’s important to have a meeting outline ready and be prepared to answer many questions, notably those office managers are unfamiliar with: time zones, communication methods, workflow processes, and business approaches for remote teams.
Require a Short Video Introduction
One notable issue with remote work is that job opening attract considerably more candidates than traditional job openings, especially if you’re hiring internationally. Going through all applications takes a lot of time, so one good idea is to ask all candidates to provide a short video introduction (set the time limit) or perhaps to create a TikTok resume.
The practice has two positive outcomes:
- It will save your time
- It will discourage random applicants
Don’t forget the latter! Many gig workers practice sending their applications to as many addresses as possible without really giving it a deeper thought. When job requirements aren’t specifically set, you can expect this to happen. This is very common in the movers industry.
Also, keep in mind that not all applicants actually read your job opening, especially if it’s a long read. That’s why many employers include something like “type banana in the subject line when applying or else your application won’t be considered.”
Assign Test Task
Finally, if you observe all previous steps, you should add one more tier: request a test task. Usually, these are paid tasks that don’t take too much of applicants’ time. Be reasonable but also set targeted assignments that will help you discern whether the applicant is the right fit for the role.
Basically, keep in mind the following: if someone is applying to three similar job openings (and they are — the gig economy is highly competitive) and needs to write “War and Peace” within 24 hours, they will turn to other employers instead. However, if you ask for a short summary that highlights candidate’s insights, you will get the desired response and also secure the best angle at the candidates’ skills.
Hiring remote workers is hard work with many unknowns even for skilled recruiters. That’s why it is crucial to be prepared and set a new hiring process rather than adjusting the process for hiring office workers.
Include a couple of additional steps, as follows:
1. Require a short video introduction
2. Set clear expectations in writing
3. Assign a paid test task
Last but not least, be open-minded. Polish your online recruiting processes and adapt your approach as needed. After all, there are many, many candidates out there and picking the finest among the finest is never an easy task.