As the talent shortage continues, many employers hiring remote workers. As more organizations offer remote or hybrid work options, it’s no longer necessary to have a totally local workforce. Hiring remote workers requires you to rethink your “traditional” hiring process. Here are some tips to help you succeed.
Tip #1: Decide how far to cast your net
“Remote” is a fairly vague word, so you’ll need to define what that means for you. Do you still want to hire local employees, even though they’ll work from home? Maybe you’ll consider people from within the same state or region. For other roles where the talent shortage is more pervasive, it might make sense to work nationally or even globally. Once you open your hiring up beyond your local area/state, you’ll need to pay special attention to tax laws and liabilities and employee benefits at a minimum. If you’re willing to hire someone from another country, there are a whole host of compliance issues that can get you into a lot of trouble if you run afoul of them – from compensation to PTO to requirements for a local business entity and more. You may be required to provide equipment or funding for a home office, or calculate pay based on the cost of living where the person is located. This is an area where it definitely pays to have expert assistance.
Tip #2: If you’re hiring globally, pay special attention to the language in your job postings
Words matter, and all words are not understood universally. There may also be different discrimination or privacy laws where you are advertising, so FIRST make sure your job postings are legal. Avoid using jargon, metaphors, or other wording that is unique to your country/language. For example, in the US, we use a *lot* of sports analogies and metaphors in our writing, likely without even realizing it. Phrases like or “hit it out of the park” or “big hitter” or “threw a curve” do not make sense to people who don’t play/watch baseball, which is not popular in many parts of the world. Be very clear about how you are defining “remote” as many candidates will assume it means they can live anywhere and never have to come on-site. Be specific about the benefits to candidates of the remote opportunity – are the hours and days flexible? Will they have teammates available during their working hours?
Tip #3: Make sure your remote interview process is ready to go
If you’re going to be interviewing candidates in other locations, you had better be ready to do at least some of that virtually. That means using a scheduling tool that covers multiple time zones and using some sort of virtual communication platform. For F2F interviews, Zoom and Microsoft Teams are certainly acceptable. You may want to consider pre-recorded interviews for some of your initial screening efforts. A side benefit to this is that it ensures that each candidate is asked the same question(s). You’ll want to test your technology in advance. If you’re going to do a panel-style interview with multiple people in attendance, determine the best way to conduct those interviews so that everyone can see and hear. Consider time of day – it may be difficult to hold interviews when it’s extremely late (or extremely early) for one party. As always, check your lighting and location, turn off other notifications and distractions and practice looking into the camera.
Tip #4: Spend time on your virtual onboarding process BEFORE hiring remote workers
If hiring remote workers is new for your organization, you need to understand how you’re going to onboard and train someone who is working alone in a different location. Will they have a mentor or another buddy that is easily accessible during the times they are working? What can you do to build camaraderie among team members who are physically separated and may not ever meet in person? What sorts of pre-boarding activities can be completed before the new hire officially starts? Do you have cybersecurity needs that need to be addressed in advance? What about insurance obligations? Do you have electronic forms and e-signature processes in place? Many people don’t have access to a printer or scanner at home, so try to minimize the amount of paper documents you use. If time is a factor, you’ll also want to avoid sending paper documents by snail mail, especially if you’re sending them to another country. Make sure you understand what kind of tech, tools and other equipment will be needed so that your remote workers are set up for success.
Tip #5: Ask interview questions related to remote work
Ask probing questions to dig in to the candidate’s experience with remote work. Have they worked remotely in previous roles? How do they stay engaged and motivated? What kind of tech tools have they found valuable? What are their greatest challenges with remote work? How do they achieve work-life balance if they’re working from home? Many people find they work MORE hours because of the lack of physical boundaries between work and home. How do they deal with communication challenges? Not enough communication, miscommunication, unclear communication, lack of real-time communication, etc. are all issues that can make remote work challenging. This also gives you the opportunity to learn how you can improve your own remote work offerings.
There are many other issues to consider when hiring remote workers. Follow these tips and you’ll be more likely to have successful hires and more importantly, successful employees.