When you think about working remotely, you might think about the appeal of working in your pajamas, having unlimited access to your favorite coffee in your favorite mug, and enjoying a more flexible schedule. While the stereotype isn’t always accurate, it is fair to say that working remotely is on the rise. An estimated 43% of U.S. workers work remotely to some degree, and that number is continuing to grow. But what does that mean for hiring remotely? How can employers be sure they are hiring the right candidates?
Hiring remotely is as much of an art as working remotely is. A successful remote employee is self-motivated, organized, and communicative. One of the perks of hiring remotely is the incredible applicant pool, but that just makes the employer’s job that much harder. You have to be able to narrow down and find people who will mesh well with your company and have the soft skills needed to succeed. This is why hiring remotely is a whole different ballpark than hiring in person—they are different processes that require different hiring strategies.
You might want to start your hiring process with a pre-screening process. The most significant difference between in-person hiring and remote hiring is the lack of an in-person interview and onboarding process, so other aspects of recruitment have to make up for that. A pre-screen can give employers a glimpse into what skills and qualifications an applicant has. It can also provide applicants with small tasks to complete, which can portray their work ethic.
After a pre-screen, you will want to have some kind of interview process. It is recommended to have multiple types of interviews—most commonly, over the phone and via video chat. The phone interview, which may be brief, gives you a read on how well the applicant can talk on the phone and how confident they are, skills that may be essential for the position. A video interview is beneficial in allowing you to see their mannerisms and figure out their personality. Many employers may rely on bodily cues to determine whether or not a person is a good fit for the company—a video interview helps substitute for that.
During the interview, it’s essential to ask about the applicant’s work ethic. Self-motivation is especially vital in working remotely. You may ask the interviewee about what their home office space looks like, how they handle remote projects, what kind of hours they work, and how they solve complicated problems. Questions like these give you information on how organized they are, what motivates them, how they self-motivate, and whether or not they are a problem-solver.
It’s also important in the interview process to monitor applicants’ email responses. Do they respond to you right away, or within a day? What are their writing skills like? How well do they communicate? Communication is incredibly important in working remotely, so evaluating this skill can help you determine if they are the right candidate for the job.
It may be useful for you to have a paid trial period with your new remote employee. This will give you the time you need to see your new hire at work and figure out if they are going to work well for the position.
Working remotely is supposed to make life easier for the employee and the employer. Don’t let your experience be complicated by hiring the wrong person for the job. Hiring remotely is different from hiring in-person, but it doesn’t have to be harder.