by Kevin Hooks
As remote work continues to trend upwards in the American workforce, companies are increasingly becoming more open to adopting a remote approach to their business. In fact, most companies must take this approach to attract top talent. But after making the step in that direction, how do you go about hiring remote workers in an efficient and effective way? Here’s a start!
- Be Clear With Yourself On Company Expectations for the Position.
As with any job, a clear expectation and description of what you need is important, but it can be even more critical when hiring a remote worker. Take the job description you would typically use for that job, and look at it through the lens of managing a remote worker. What is the expectation on communications and responsiveness? What technology requirements will you require and/or supply? What other behavioral expectations and characteristics (e.g., self-motivation, discipline) will make someone successful in this position? The clearer you are on your expectations, the clearer vision you will have of your ideal candidate. And the easier it will be to identify that candidate when presented.
- Stay Committed to Your Screening Process.
For some unknown reason, employers tend to relax screening procedures when hiring remote workers. Although it may be tempting to relax procedures, it is even more critical to stay true to your hiring process when hiring someone you may never meet face-to-face. If you run background checks for in-office workers, run them for remote workers as well. If cultural fit is important (as it should be), make sure the candidate is a good cultural fit for your company. In the interview process, use questions that give insight into why and how they work remotely.
- Use Technology in the Interview Process.
Almost without fail, employers will conduct a face-to-face interview with a potential employee. But when the employee is going to work remotely, employers will often conduct only telephone interviews, and skip the face-to-face, which is a mistake. You can find out a lot about a candidate’s professionalism, demeanor, work process, creativity, and discipline when speaking in person. Use Skype, Google Hangouts, FaceTime or other technology to take the opportunity to look the candidate in the eye and get a feel for what she will bring to your team. It also gives the candidate a better feel for your company’s culture and feel.
- Use Test Projects if Relevant.
Although not practical for every candidate, a test project for your final 2 or 3 can help you make a solid hiring decision. Assign a project to the candidates and pay them on an hourly basis to see how efficiently and effectively they can complete projects working from home. If possible, use a real project that is relevant to a job on which you are currently working. The investment of a few dollars and a little time in reviewing a completed assignment can save you significant time and headaches down the road.
- Give Your Preferred Candidate an Incentive to Accept!
Talented workers, including remote workers, are in high demand. Once you find that ideal candidate, give them an extra incentive to come aboard! As more companies move to hiring more remote workers, the market will only become more competitive, so take steps to distinguish your company. Offer the candidate a new computer to use in working from home. Provide benefits such as PTO not typically offered to remote workers. Think about perks you provide to in-office employees, and either provide those same perks (or a variation) to remote employees. Get creative!
Finding candidates who want to work remotely is not difficult. Finding the right remote employee requires some thought and preparation!