Hiring Remote Employees: It’s All About Fit
Virtually almost anything can be done remotely nowadays. Thanks to a connection and a portable device, we have widened the scope of things that can be accomplished remotely, and that includes working. But what about hiring remote employees? Also feasible! Let’s explore what to consider when hiring remote employees.
Is it worth it?
We could certainly point out some of the cost effective benefits to consider hiring remote employees: it removes the geographical boundaries of attracting the best talent; it cuts costs on rent, physical space and office-related equipment; it contributes to work/life balance flexibility and work satisfaction. Before opting for hiring remote employees, reflect on what this means realistically in the day-to-day operations and long term for all parties involved – employers, employees and third parties. Then, be clear about specific objectives, expectations, accommodations and how remote workers fit within the organization in a sustainable way.
The basic principles still apply
Having decided to pursue that path, the fundamentals or recruitment still apply. The power of networking still holds true, even though we may not be able to physically meet face-to-face. As you are probably very well aware, getting to know people in a professional setting, being acquainted with specialists from a variety of fields, backgrounds and experiences, as well as being associated with organizations, social groups, colleagues, partners and clients enrich our professional lives. Being in interaction and connected to one another adds social value and opens us up to multiple opportunities. Explore any channels that facilitate professional networking.
Moreover, allow for direct communication and interaction. Communicate the best ways to get in touch with you. Start with people you trust, like immediate and closest social circles to help spread the word. Make sure the LinkedIn pages of your organization or profile are easily accessible. Reach potential candidates through educational institutions and trading schools, job boards, bring more visibility in popular online job platforms, invest in social media advertisements, host networking events and implement incentives for employee referrals.
Show your cards
How do you match two people without knowing anything about them? With great difficulty and leaving most of the outcome to chance, presumably. We don’t want that. More information about the profiles will greatly increase your chances of hiring the right remote employees. This goes beyond having an “about us” webpage. Get more visibility to appropriate remote candidates by showing what the organization is about: what do you do? Where are you based? What do you value? What specific services or products do you offer? How do you operate? What does it feel like to work there? How would you describe the internal culture? What projects have you accomplished? What causes do you support? How do you treat your employees? What’s the overall customer experience like? What do employees, partners and clients, past or present, have to say about your organization?
What should remote employees expect specifically? Have you outlined what their responsibilities would entail? How would their schedule look like exactly? What systems and applications do they need? How are you treated in the newsmedia? Access to these answers will get the attention of people interested and encourage them to apply. Easy access to such information become all the more important to attract suitable remote candidates as this virtual alternative to physical proximity translates to more transparency and adds to building trust.
Watch out for small cues
Because we tend to build more trust towards a person by spending more time with them, why not invest time and resources on direct and frequent communication. Nevertheless, nothing replaces a physical meeting quite yet. So, depending on the position, it may be worth coordinating a trip for an initial face-to-face meeting. If not possible, something close is videoconferencing. The context of a virtual setting requires some technical adjustments. However, conveying professionalism remains the ultimate goal. So, how to make a good first virtual impression? By showing professionalism from both parties: respect, preparedness, presentability, positive attitude, punctuality. From your list of potential remote applicants, approach them with a personalized, respectful and courteous email or phone call.
The importance of the first interaction
Establishing a first pleasant interaction is especially crucial if you require their participation submitting tests, portfolios, etc. to assess their skills before going any further. At the interview stage, applicant’s preparation is key. Have your homework ready: gain knowledge about the organization, related news, innovations about the field and competitors, the department, the team, the industry sector, the position and tasks, answers about your resume, questions to ask, etc. Finally, fifteen minutes prior to the meeting, test out your audio and video settings.
Choose a neutral and well-lit background to be shown under the best light. Pick an outfit that makes you feel great. Fake confidence by adopting a comfortable posture. Smile and be enthusiastic. Find a way to have fun with it. View it as an opportunity to learn and meet new people. Whether you’ll get hired or not, you will still gain from the experience. Throughout the whole process, recruiters must make candidates feel welcome and comfortable. Indeed, when they feel at ease, they reveal more about themselves consciously or not – their behaviour, demeanour, knowledge and competence.
Final words: things to keep in mind
At the same time, keep also in mind that technical difficulties or technological deficiencies should not cause to rule out potential candidates. Showing empathy for the obstacles and challenges remote candidates may face under the current state of affairs costs nothing and goes a long way. Then, during the whole hiring process of remote employees, pay attention to details from these remote interactions for better assessment of candidates and decision making. How do they respond? And how promptly? How do they communicate? How well do they understand and follow instructions remotely? What’s the tone of voice like? What questions do they ask? How enthusiastic are they? How prepared or organized? Furthermore, how genuine are their answers? What about their characteristics fit the job description, the team and the organization? How do they deal with different time zones? What indications showcase strong remote management skills?
Notice how all these observations for recruitment don’t differ much from ‘traditional’ strategies. Yet, it’s worth reminding ourselves of what matters when hiring remote employees. In the end, it’s all about fit.
Shirley is a Vacation Tracker occasional contributor. She’s held a few positions in communications, marketing and copywriting. When she’s not at her laptop, you can find her daydreaming about her laptop and chasing the sun while people watching.