Even before the pandemic, remote hiring was increasing in popularity as company leaders discovered that they could attract better talent by broadening their search nationally or even internationally. Additionally, the latest research has found that remote workers tend to be more productive than their non-remote counterparts. And employees appreciate the flexibility offered by remote work, so it's a win-win.
Now, due to the coronavirus, more employers have been forced to reckon with the benefits and challenges presented by remote work.
These recruiters and hiring managers face the task of remotely assessing, interviewing, and hiring candidates. This can be a challenging prospect for many organizations, especially when it relates to confirming which applicants have the required skills for the position.
Although there are obstacles in hiring remotely, many businesses have come to appreciate the benefits offered by the remote hiring process, such as having a wider range of applicants, reduced overhead expenses, and the ability to hire people from anywhere in the world.
Whether you're new to remote hiring or you're looking to streamline your current remote process, this guide will provide a few key tips
If you're new to remote hiring
If you're looking to develop a remote hiring process from scratch, here are three essential tips to keep in mind:
1. Maintain clear communication with applicants
It is important to maintain clear communication with each candidate from the get-go, making it clear that the hiring process will be 100% online and that, if approved, the proposal will also be followed up via the internet.
Setting a clear structure to the process not only helps your hirers and recruiters to be effective, but it also relieves potential stress added to candidates and interviewees. Candidates may feel more anxious about a remote interview, especially if they are new to the process. Setting clear rules and procedures on how and where to conduct communication can help set candidates at ease.
It is also important to clarify whether or not the position
is temporarily or permanently remote. The position might only be remote during
quarantine, for example.
It is essential to keep the candidate informed about the selection process, explaining the context in a transparent manner and making it clear that the company under what circumstances remote work is permitted. This way the candidates can make an informed assessment when evaluating whether the job is a good fit for them. If it's not a fit, you'll want to find that out sooner rather than later.
For example, imagine the time you might waste if you weren't clear that the position was only remote for a few months. You could end up spending a lot of your time (and the candidate's time) before realizing that they aren't willing to relocate.
2. Make full use of available technology
Choosing the right video calling technology for your business is a must. Imagine working in an office where the door to your supervisor's office might randomly lock, separating you from the support you need as you're beginning a new role. This is what it can feel like for remote hires if technical difficulties or a lack of the right software makes it harder to communicate with team members.
Video calls are an crucial aspect of remote work. There are several options on the market, such as Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams. If you don't already have video calling software, begin your research into the different options today so you'll be prepared before you hire your first remote employee.
Depending on what industry you're in and the content of your conversations, you may need to assess the ramifications for compliance of any tool you use or are considering using. For instance, a HIPAA-compliant video calling solution might be necessary if you're working in the healthcare industry.
Whatever you choose, make sure that everyone on your team is using the same video conferencing software, that they have all the equipment necessary for quality video calls, and that they are trained in any software or service used to conduct interviews, meetings, or share files and information.
After you choose the software you'll use, it is important to establish a quick guide to instruct new team members on how to use it. For example, with video calling software, you'll need to help new employees set up their video and sound equipment in advance to prevent technical issues and give them a general sense of what to expect. You can record these guides on video or write them down so that you don't have to provide individual instruction to every new hire.
3. Adapt your onboarding process to the remote model
One of the challenges of remote hiring is that, since employees will not be meeting their managers and coworkers in person, it can be challenging to integrate remote employees into your organization. That's why it's important to have a comprehensive plan for new remote employee's onboarding into the company before hiring them.
Here are some actions you can take to adapt your current onboarding process for remote workers:
- Develop welcome emails in advance. These emails should be sent to new remote hires to guide them through the different steps they need to take when starting their new role.
- Set a clear schedule for the first week. This should include activities to help new hires acclimate to their new responsibilities and video meetings with team members.
- Make company manuals and rulebooks available digitally. The easiest way to do this is by creating PDFs for download, but developing an employee portal is ideal if you have the resources available.
- Share company policies and content about the main areas of the business. This will help the employee immerse himself in the culture, vision, and values of your organization.
- Virtually introduce the employee to the entire team. Ideally, this will be done through a video call. You might also consider scheduling some fun virtual events that will allow the employee to get to know the team in a more laidback setting.
- Be sure to provide feedback early and often. This will help your employee adjust to the remote work environment. This is especially important if this is the employee's first time working remotely.
- Plan video calls to walk employees through important tasks. Remote training tends to be more complicated than face-to-face training. Video calls and screen sharing can help new employees learn how to use new software and follow new processes. Depending on the software you use, these calls can usually be recorded so that the employee can refer back to them in the future. You can also use video messaging tools like Loom to create a reusable set of training videos for current and future employees.
How can people who are already hiring remote workers improve their remote hiring process?
If you're already hiring remotely, here are the four best ways to improve your process:
1. Adjust your employee benefits
Hiring for remote candidates can be more competitive, because with the rise in remote work opporutunities, there may be many more companies competing for the same talent. Extra benefits are a great way to set your company apart in the eyes of possible candidates. You have a lot of options here, like offering a stipend for a co-working space or providing a budget for technology or professional development.
Your company may already offer great benefits like an on-site fitness center, snacks, or dedicated office space.
But remote hires will not be able to enjoy such office-based benefits. If your organization relies on these benefits to influence potential applicants, you'll need to come up with new benefits that aren't office-based to appeal to remote candidates. Some examples of employee benefits that work for remote hires include:
- Health/Life/Dental/Vision insurance
- Extra vacation time
- Childcare benefits
- Loan assistance
2. Promote your company culture
Building and promoting your company culture can be difficult when remote hiring, but it's just as important as it is when hiring on-location employees.
An easy way to do this is by highlighting your company on social media. You can share videos, post photos of the office, and share content that will demonstrate your corporate culture.
This doesn't have to be hard. Quick, simple photos of the office, workspaces, past corporate events, and other unique information about your organization shared on social media or directly with candidates can go a long way for respondents to better understand what working for your organization is like and what the company values.
Yearly retreats can promote teambuilding by helping remote hires and their on-location employees get to know each other. You can mention these retreats in your job posts and on social media.
Having a presence on social media will help showcase your company as one that is well-adapted to the digital aspects of business and is well-prepared to work remotely.
3. Clearly define what you want in a remote worker
It is crucial to have in mind, both for you and potential
candidates, what you want, need, and expect from the candidate.
Some important factors to define include:
- What skills you seek in the candidates (such as self-discipline and adaptability)
- Which company values the candidate should share
- What the position entails and its responsibilities
- Preferred time zones that work for the rest of the team
And once you know what you're looking for in your hires...
4. Write good job descriptions
Job descriptions need to be written to attract talented individuals and should include information on your remote hiring and remote working process.
When physical meetings cannot be held, it is essential that the job posting transparently lays out everything that professionals should know about the positions and its responsibilities.
Be clear and specific about the job's tasks, and of course, make it clear how much in-office time (if any) will be required.
And while it is important to be concise as possible, don't neglect to include any information the candidate will need to determine whether the job is a good fit. A good description is explanatory, detailed, and clear. That way the best candidates will have a complete understanding of the position and can identify whether or not they would be willing to accept an offer if made.
5. Look for the right skills
There are few skills that, while always important, are even more crucial when hiring remote workers. Here are a few skills to look for:
Self-motivation. Since remote employees typically won't have anyone peeking over their shoulders and directing them all the time, it's important that they can function independently. They need to be self-motivated and willing to put in the effort to deal with the responsibility of working remotely. Personality tests like the enneagram test can help you determine what motivates a candidate how independent they are.
Written communication. Remote employees tend conduct more of their communication in writing than their on-location counter parts, so they need to possess good written communication skills. Strong reading comprehension and writing skills are essential.
Collaboration. Even though they'll be remote, you'll still need everyone on your team to work together. Personality tests like the DISC assessment can help you determine how collaborative a remote hire will be.
Focused. Since they'll typically be working without direct oversight, it's important that remote workers are able to stay focused. There are plenty of distractions in a traditional office environment, but there can be even more if you're working at home, in a co-working space, or at a coffee shop.
6. Prepare leaders to deal with new challenges
Remote employees will sometimes be led by people who haven't managed employees remotely before. There are several changes in the everyday routine and workflow that require new skills and knowledge.
In addition to remote team management, managers should be able to:
- Measure results rather than work hours;
- Manage flexible schedules;
- Lead remote conference meetings with the team;
- Use of online tools to monitor tasks.
How many more applications should companies expect to receive for remote roles vs. non-remote roles?
Although different for each business and industry, companies
should generally expect to receive a much greater number of job applications
when hiring remotely.
And it's easy to see why.
When you're hiring locally, you're limited to the number of people that are qualified for the job within the region. But when you hire remotely, you're including people from all around the world to the list of possible applicants.
And with the COVID-19 pandemic, remote roles are even more in demand, as more and more people shift to working remotely. As such, getting double or triple the number of remote applicants is not uncommon.
This is both a blessing and a curse. On the bright side, it offers a wide range of applicants with different skillsets which can increase the chance that you find the perfect fit for the position. On the other hand, the volume of applicants can be so high that it becomes incredibly difficult to properly assess which applicants are qualified and which are not.
With such an influx of candidates, a natural question arises: how can you reduce the amount of irrelevant and/or unqualified applicants? And, more importantly, how can you find the most qualified candidates more efficiently?
That's where online skills assessments come in.
Instead of going through hundreds, or even thousands, of resumes, you can create an assessment with up to five tests, include the link in the job posting, and save thousands of hours of work by filtering applicants in an automated manner.
TestGorilla offers over 100 scientifically validated tests from which you can the five most relevant to the role. As applicants finish the assessment, you'll be able to see the scores of the test-takers in real-time and decide which ones to invite to the next round of the hiring process.
Remote hiring doesn't have to be hard
With the right processes in place, you'll adapt to remote hiring in no time. And, if you're already hiring remote workers, there are plenty of opportunities to optimize your approach. But there's no need to reinvent the wheel. Companies across the globe have been refining the remote hiring process for years with the tips in this article.
Hopefully this guide has helped give you some ideas on how to move forward!