Hiring the right remote candidate for your company is a must for remote employers. After all, bringing on a subpar employee can have catastrophic consequences, such as lost productivity, major interruptions in a team’s workflow, not to mention the thousands of dollars that will have to be spent to restart the hiring process all over again.
These seven tips for hiring remote workers should put you on the right path—and help you assemble a strong remote workforce:
1. Understand their “why.”
The motivations for wanting a remote job can vary from one job seeker to another. They might need work flexibility so that they can care for their young children, an aging parent, or maybe there just aren’t enough jobs in their neck of the woods. While their personal reasons for wanting a remote job shouldn’t greatly factor into whom you hire, it is still a good idea to understand what their rationale is for wanting remote work at this stage in their careers and lives. It can give you greater insight into the job candidate, and help you make a more informed hiring decision.
2. Be as flexible as possible.
Although some remote companies function as a R.O.W.E. (Results Only Work Environment), some still have a stronghold on the old-fashioned 9-to-5 workday. But if you’re looking to hire top talent, try to lose the traditional workplace mentality and instead give your talent more flexibility in their schedules. A great way to attract new talent to your company is by listing your remote company’s flexible work policy in its job descriptions. That will help you expand your talent pool and hire the best and brightest out there.
3. Know where to look.
Just as remote job seekers shouldn’t spend too much time on big-box job search sites, neither should you as an employer. To source remote workers who can be right for your company, look on specialized sites that cater to these types of job candidates. You should also harness the power of social media and look on LinkedIn to see if you can find quality remote job candidates there as well.
4. Seek out their soft skills.
On paper, your top three job candidates appear impeccable. They have the education, skills, and know-how to do the job. But are they good remote workers? Unless your applicants have telecommuted in the past, those qualifications might not cut it in the remote work world. Instead, look for the soft skills (i.e., time management, tech savvy, and a strong communicator) that are absolutely necessary in order to work remotely. If your candidates don’t have those skills, you might be taking a big chance on hiring them for a remote job.
5. Point out the perks.
With more and more companies either going remote or offering flexible schedules to their employees, the idea of working from home might not be enough to entice a job seeker to submit their online application to your company. What can lure a potential candidate to your organization: a vibrant company culture. Businesses who invest time and energy into crafting a quality company culture will often win out over those who have a weak or wishy-washy one. In your job descriptions, be sure to point out the company’s mission, its dedication to charitable causes, even its Friday happy hours. All of these things can help your hiring process by attracting candidates who would be a good fit for your company right from the start.
6. Test them.
Sure, remote job seekers can claim that they’re magnificent time managers. But unless they are put to the test, you might not find out that they are serious slackers until after you’ve already hired them. So give your leading candidates a test to measure their mettle. Assign them a small project that would be representative of the kind of work they would be doing if hired, and a specific deadline to complete the task. If they have tech troubles, don’t communicate their questions about the project to your remote team, or submit it too late (or not at all), those can all be signs that they might not be a good match.
7. Put them on probation.
Ideally, you would want to hire a job candidate and have them start working right away. Sometimes a better option, though, might be to put your new hire on probation for the first couple of weeks, at least. This isn’t meant to make your employee feel bad, but rather to protect both of you from a potentially bad situation down the road. Let’s say that your new hire finds that the job is too challenging for them, or remote work just isn’t working for them. And if your remote team has trouble connecting with them (as a team member and as a person), having a probationary period can be a kinder way to mutually agree that it didn’t work out, and part ways professionally and amicably.
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