The trend towards recruiting and hiring remote workers was already in place prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. It now appears that most businesses will likely seek some form of remote workforce in the weeks and months to follow.
But the hiring process for remote (or virtual) employees differs in some significant ways from how companies go about hiring in-house staff. Relying upon traditional methods of hiring may not yield the broad range of qualified virtual candidates you are looking for.
Here are tips to keep in mind as you rev up your hiring efforts:
Pay close attention to your employer brand.
Job-seekers are often highly aware of an employer’s brand within the business community. If they hear bad things about a specific company’s hiring process and/or corporate culture, chances are they’ll move on to a more promising employer. That’s why “the status of a company’s reputation among those actively pursuing a new position is increasingly a decisive factor” among those both applying for and accepting a job offer.
To boost your employer brand and profile:
- Ensure your brand messaging remains consistent and upbeat among all channels and platforms.
- Accelerate efforts on social media and elsewhere to promote employee-focused policies and events.
- Invite current remote workers to share their stories about why they love working for you and post their “testimonial videos” on your company website.
Job applicants with a deeper understanding of how your company works may be more inclined to apply for open remote positions.
Craft a different kind of job posting.
What you’re looking for in a new remote hire can be significantly different than someone who works on-site. Craft a job posting that stresses high levels of digital communications abilities, as well as mastery of various types of technology needed to meet job responsibilities in a remote setting. Also, be sure to emphasize that your company culture embraces remote-based employees as key parts of the overall workforce.
Determine the best interview process.
Obviously, a qualified candidate who lives thousands of miles from your company HQ can be interviewed more efficiently in something other than a face-to-face setting. Whether it’s via phone, conference calls, video chats or other methods, determine what works best for your hiring managers and teams, and ensure that this technology is up to the demands of the process. (It’s also helpful to keep that process as simple as possible, to facilitate better communications with job applicants.)
Keep tabs on the candidate’s soft skills.
Generally speaking, remote workers must possess communications skills as good as (or better than) those who work on-site. Therefore, your remote hires “should also be flexible and willing to accommodate the needs of your company,” notes ZipRecruiter. Watch for “evidence of these skills in all steps of the hiring process, from the initial application to the interview to reference checks.”
Monitor the applicant’s responsiveness.
You can learn a lot about a potential new hire by how well they respond during the recruitment and interview process. “If they take a few days to respond, chances are they won’t be quick to respond to work-related emails,” notes the performance platform 15Five. The best approach is hiring an individual “who responds quickly and forms their thoughts well on screen.”
Assign a pre-hire assignment.
If you are serious about an individual applicant, consider assigning him or her a “trial assignment.” (It’s desirable to make this a paid assignment, out of respect for the applicant’s time and efforts.) With a deadline of several days or a week, the results of this assignment will offer keen insights into how well the applicant works under deadline and whether the results are up to your company standards.
Hiring remote workers might well become a cornerstone of your future employee recruitment efforts. Learn more about how to interact with and engage your new remote workforce.