Well, the jury’s in - remote working works. Hybrid and distributed teams are happier, more engaged, more loyal, more able to cope with sudden dramatic change, more attractive to top talent, and just as productive.
Many businesses made the huge leap to remote work in a matter of weeks during those crazy, terrible days in early 2020. Now, with the pandemic easing off in many parts of the world, we’re all bringing our heads above the parapet, and starting to figure out how to do this thing for the long term.
We know we can do it. We’ve trusted our people - and seen them rise to the challenge. Today, it’s time to build the systems, processes and tool kit to support a distributed workforce.
And, in particular, it’s time to start hiring remotely.
The problem with remote hiring is that it’s a totally new ball game.
Forget intensive days of interviewing (unless you like spending 10 straight hours on Zoom calls.)
Forget charming your candidates with your beautiful offices and free lattes.
Forget geographic limitations.
And say hello to a new recruitment pipeline that can reach anyone, anywhere.
If you’re one of the 40% of managers who have never hired a remote candidate, remote recruitment can be pretty darned refreshing. But without the right steps in place, it can also be totally overwhelming.
So, with that in mind, here are the 4 secrets to remote hiring. These are the tips and tricks that remote recruiters (myself included) have learned the hard way. The keys to a remote recruitment process that is straightforward, manageable, cost effective and scalable.
1. Plan ahead
Yes, there are major advantages to remote hiring - a bigger pipeline, access to more affordable candidates, a more diverse candidate pool, reduced time to fill specialist roles.
However, if you don’t have a clear plan and the right tools in place, you might feel like you’ve opened the floodgates when you post your first remote job listing. Couple that with the massive surge in applicants predicted by the SHRM this year, and your hiring team may soon be underwater.
To avoid drowning under a tidal wave of applications, you’ll need:
- An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or Hiring Platform that lets you automate the pre-screening, so your recruiters only need to focus on qualified candidates;
- Intelligent screening questions that help you sort the qualified candidates from the misfits automatically, and screen IN the candidates who might be on the fence about the position;
- Clear guidelines and policies on your remote hiring strategy.
When it comes to C, you’ll need to consider your company culture, your hiring budget and your tolerance for new logistical challenges. Here are a few questions to get you started:
- What do you mean by remote hiring? Are you planning to go fully remote, or will you need people to be able to come into the office regularly?
- Will you provide funds for remote workers to travel to the office? How about paying for coworking spaces if they don’t have a suitable home office?
- Will you provide laptops or other office equipment?
- Are only some roles suitable for remote work, or can all your roles be handled from home?
- How “remote” will you go? Will you consider international applications? If yes, from where?
- Do you have specific language requirements? For instance, does the job require native English, or would a high level of fluency be enough?
- How will you handle compliance and data security for remote workers?
- Do you need to update your contract to account for at-home work?
Document all this information, and make sure that it is taken into account in your job listings.
2. Refine who you’re looking for
You’ll need to update your hiring process, to make sure you find candidates who will thrive in a remote environment. For instance:
- Hire for values fit, not cultural fit
According to Gitlab, the world’s largest distributed team, you should make sure that you look for candidates that align with your company values, rather than your company culture.
Company culture tends to be something we associate with a physical location - the vibe in the office, essentially.
However, successful remote candidates will identify with and demonstrate your company values - the behaviors, priorities and principles that make up who you aspire to be as an organization.
Once you’ve defined these values, identifying candidates with a strong values fit should become relatively straightforward, both by the use of screening questions and during interviews.
- Take remote work skills into account
While most of the qualities of great remote workers are shared by great employees in general (autonomy, communication skills, integrity, and so on), there are particular skills that you might want to emphasize as you build a remote team.
- The ability to drive their own learning and goal-setting, and take responsibility for their own priorities and projects (what GitLab calls being a “manager of one”);
- Great written communication, not merely strong verbal skills;
- An instinct for building systems and documenting processes, to avoid siloed information;
- Confidence with digital tools and learning new technologies.
3. Rethink your hiring process
Once you’ve considered the implications of remote hiring, and revised the characteristics of your ideal new hires, you’ll need to think about how to implement your remote hiring strategy in real life.
Switching to remote hiring will mean updating the way you recruit from end to end, including:
- Attracting new talent
The benefits you offer to entice top talent to your business will probably need to be revised, to make sure they appeal to remote candidates.
For starters, flexible working is an attractive perk in its own right, and should get top billing in your job listing. Other location agnostics benefits could include unlimited vacation, performance-based bonuses, or childcare and coworking funding.
To take advantage of your new, expanded candidate pool, make sure you rethink where you are sourcing candidates and how you market your job listings.
For instance, for experienced remote workers, you can turn to remote-only job sites like FlexJobs or WeWorkRemotely.
To build a more diverse candidate pipeline, you might want to advertise openings on sites like Craigslist or Monster. For a full breakdown on where and how to attract a more diverse workforce, take a look at HireMojo’s white paper, Reach for Diversity in your Hiring.
The right hiring platform will allow you to automate your job marketing at a reduced rate across multiple job seeker sites, to give you access to a wider range of remote applicants.
Remote communications need to be handled differently - and nowhere more so than during the interview. Otherwise, you’re likely to be in for an overwhelming number of video calls, with all the connection difficulties and frustrating technology issues that implies.
To make your interview process remote friendly, try using asynchronous communication as much as possible (as in, communication methods that don’t need you both online at the same time). This should make the process more flexible for candidates and less labor intensive for the hiring team.
- Handle pre-screening with an automated hiring software that allows you to ask intelligent screening questions, assign weighting to questions depending on their importance, and ask open-ended questions.
- Require qualified candidates to provide an introductory video answering a set of interview questions, or record themselves giving a short presentation.
- Ask your longlist of applicants to complete interactive online tasks - ideally working remotely with other potential future teammates to see how well they cope in a remote setting.
- Keep one-to-one video calls to a minimum, reserving them for your final shortlist of candidates.
4. Build your remote hiring team
Finally, it might be time to consider how you outsource recruitment, now that you have the option to hire from all over the country (or the world!) Now might be the right time to work with a broader range of expert recruiters, to allow you to connect with candidates in multiple geographies.
RecruiterShare puts you in touch with a vast, distributed, plug-and-play team of expert recruiters within minutes - giving you access to a much broader range of candidates without breaking your budget. If you’d like to know more about how RecruiterShare could help you shift to remote hiring, find the right person for the job, and save money on recruitment, please click here to set up a demo.