With remote work on the rise, hiring amazing talent has never been easier. Here's our comprehensive guide to recruiting remote workers.
By now, most of us are familiar with at least the basics of remote work. Many articles covering the subject tend to deal with matters from the remote worker’s perspective and not from the companies’ angle. Guides on how to land a great remote job are aplenty, but there are fewer of those covering the recruitment process of remote teams. This shift in the job market has many companies and recruiters confused and uncertain about whether they need to adapt their approach and how.
As we are ourselves a fully distributed company, here are some tips from our playbook on recruiting remote professionals:
Recruiting remote employees is a process that puts your company on the remote-friendly map. Don’t jump into this if your company is not fully ready to embrace the benefits and challenges of remote work.
Carefully evaluate the expectations of each position and its possibility for remote hiring. Consider whether you will be hiring globally or locally, the expenses or savings remote work brings to your company, and the processes you need to put in place for a frictionless work atmosphere.
Many companies fall into the trap of just trying to replace certain parts of their processes with remote equivalents. For your company to achieve success with remote hiring, you need to reconfigure the way you think about your teams and, in turn, new hires.
Think about how you will share assignments with candidates and evaluate them. Incorporate written communication in the recruitment process as much as any remote worker will need to do in their daily job. Share the job requirements with your team members and ask for their inputs: after all, they will be working with their new colleagues every day.
Remote employees won’t be present in an office where you can easily supervise them or pick up on their personality traits. The traditional method of evaluating performance through hours spent in an office doesn’t apply in this context, so make sure to think about the kind of person you are looking for in your team. One of the essential traits for remote workers is translating complex concepts into words and tasks — communicate that in your job posting.
A pro tip: Make a profile of your ideal candidate, but not by years of experience. Instead, focus on their character traits, reactions, and abilities. This will help you outline the requirements in the job description much easier.
Of course, you should start by posting the job on your company’s website/ career page and any other recruitment channels you use. Then, post the opening on one of the many remote job boards, like Remotive, We Work Remotely, and Remote.co — it’s where you’re most likely to find seasoned remote professionals.
Spreading the word on social media, particularly Twitter and LinkedIn, is beneficial if you use the right hashtags. Also, make sure your team members amplify the search by sharing the posting on their feeds.
When hiring remote workers, you need them to demonstrate their skills and qualifications quickly and effectively. Identify the core responsibilities for the position and make trial tasks — anywhere between 1 and 3 assignments. Don’t make them too time-consuming or complex since your candidates may have jobs to do and families to take care of, and job-hunting shouldn’t be a job in itself.
A fraction of the workload is enough to see how someone manages the assignments, whether they’re creative or not, and how they respond to various situations. It’s a good idea to organize a follow-up session after the task. In this session, you can go over the candidate’s work, ask for clarification, and collaborate on refining the result. Make sure to keep the session short but productive, which will reassure the candidate that your company is well-versed in remote collaboration.
Job interviews are usually stressful both for the candidate and the recruiter. If you add the online component to the mix, it’s easy to imagine how poor internet connections and family members in the background could ruin the time entirely. Remote job interviews differ from traditional ones in several ways; they are more informal, as you will be peeking into the home or coworking space of your candidate and vice versa. Embrace this informality and reassure the candidate that internet breakups will not affect the call itself.
If you are interviewing a candidate from a different country, take some time to know them. Be informed about their time zone, country, or even how their name is pronounced. The research takes only a couple of minutes before the interview, but it can save you the embarrassment of not knowing who you’re talking to.
Some companies receive hundreds of applications for a single job posting. It’s fair not to respond to everyone who applied if you announce in your posting that you’ll only contact those who are being considered. However, as your hiring rounds progress, take some time to give feedback to candidates who weren’t selected.
A couple of sentences can go a long way in providing the candidate with a sense of value and appreciation. Job seekers appreciate constructive feedback that helps them improve, and companies benefit from making a good impression during the selection process.
Once you have selected your perfect candidate, it’s time to welcome them to the team properly. This means making sure that someone can show them around on their first day, just like in an actual office. Start by introducing the new colleague to the team in your virtual lobby — a Slack channel for general discussion and non-work-related chat.
Make a checklist for all the tools and equipment the new hire needs to have on their first day — their email, project management login, a walkthrough of communication protocols, etc. Consider assigning an onboarding buddy who can help new colleagues join the company smoothly.
Companies have rulebooks and protocols in place for virtually every aspect of their employee’s work, and this should be the case with remote employees too. A remote work policy is an essential document outlining procedures, responsibilities, and company culture.
It should cover the availability expectations, work hours and schedules, equipment, employee allowances, security and privacy, and any other aspect affected by remote work. Working remotely has many advantages, but it can quickly be confusing or overbearing without clear guidelines for both the company and employees.
Hiring remote employees is a process with a clear endpoint, but retaining talent is an ongoing project. Keep communication lines open and frequently discuss the overall experience with team members.
Companies will need to evolve their culture constantly and motivate their employees in new and exciting ways. Keep an idea book handy and use it to write down suggestions for team-building activities, benefits you can offer, and projects to encourage your remote team’s work-life balance.
Good luck with your recruiting! We hope this article was useful, and we’re eager to see the rise of remote-friendly and distributed teams in the years to come. With this rise, however, the competition for the best remote talent will be fierce.
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