Hiring Remote Workers the Right Way


Recruitment is hard. You have to deal with people outside of your organization. And these people have different priorities, opinions, and various approaches. They likely use different tools and possess their own work philosophy that might not always gel with your organization. When you’re hiring remote people, all of these differences are amplified.

Acquiring talent from across the continent or overseas becomes more challenging compared to headhunting onsite engineers. With so many additional stages, matching a prospect’s skills with your development needs may grind to a halt. You also have to understand a candidate’s personality and establish a rapport with them, based purely off a video chat impression.

Considering these difficult conditions, why should your organization want to hire remote workers? It surely makes sense for business – because there’s a talent shortage in many areas and skills that you and other companies are looking for. You may find yourself in a situation where you can neither afford expensive local resources or lack the capacity of the available and suitable workforce altogether. If your recruitment team is in this situation then your way forward is hiring remotely.

The key here is a new approach and a set of fresh tools that are useful for recruiting across the country or the world. Great communication skills, expert questioning tactics, and genuine curiosity will come in handy when you try to land that coveted perfect match. Here are our tips on how to make it happen – and what to avoid along the way.

Promote Across all Channels – Especially the Non-Traditional Ones

A company finds they cannot find the right people locally so they go for a remote software development team. These programmers, developers, and other tech staff have advanced skills and can complete any job, but choosing offshore workers does come with its challenges.

A core issue is the consistency of delivery in terms of the results. When a manager has a programmer sitting next to them it’s easier to direct the work. If the goal is to improve the speed of the NetSuite ERP platform, then the manager can go through the steps and immediately respond to questions from the programmer.  There are the benefits of one-on-one communication where issues are less likely to be misconstrued and each person can gain additional context.

There are also cultural differences that can lead to miscommunication and different styles of working and responding to authority. Some parts of a project might get “lost in translation” due to these differences, which can result in delays and cost overruns. Despite the myriad challenges, there are ways to overcome any issues and develop a more inclusive and collaborative local and offshore environment. This is why project management is so important.

Use Video Interviews

Not everyone is comfortable in front of a camera, but in the absence of a face-to-face connection, video interviewing is your number one opportunity to get to know your candidates. Practice video calling regularly and you’ll soon become an expert at spotting top performers. Here are some guidelines:

  • Make sure the candidates have all the information they need in the interview invitation;
  • Set up the interview in a quiet place – and persuade your candidate to do the same;
  • Double check all of your peripherals before starting the call;
  • Log in 5 minutes early to make sure everything is in order, all parties are present, and your candidate is in a zen state of mind;
  • Flex your small talk muscle as a way to gauge their personality;
  • Establish a clear way for candidates to follow up with you so both parties have set expectations.


Collaborate Early and Often

Even if your organization lacks the requisite software for collaborative hiring, you have to establish internal workflows to compensate. It’s not just a great way of getting your team involved in the hiring process – it helps you deep-dive into a candidate’s skills, personality, and experience.

Future teammates will have the opportunity to assess, evaluate, and get to know potential remote hires. This will help you ensure that remote hire is a good fit. Follow these tips to improve collaboration:

  • Communication: Most of your conversations will happen over Slack, Skype, and other remote tools. It is very important for your future teammates to know how to express, coordinate, and collaborate through text.
  • Maturity: remote workers must be autonomous and complete work without micromanagement.
  • Accountability: working outside of the office means no hand holding. Your prospects will need to make decisions without guidance, so be fair but hold them accountable.
  • Interests outside work: working from home can make it difficult to “turn off”. Identifying interests outside of work and nurturing them will help your future employee keep a healthy work-life balance.


Don’t Prolong Hiring Cycles

Getting to know someone takes time – especially when you want to hire with a ‘happily ever after’ outcome. But when you factor in the distance and virtual communication of remote hiring, you need to walk the fine line between rushing through the process and taking a bit too long. Ultimately you have to go with the most qualified candidates and the impression they gave from interviewing.

Communicate and explain why exactly your hiring process takes as long as it does and why you think the candidates should buy into this timeline. However, do take into account what kind of urgency your prospect is expressing and try to find a middle ground as needed. Most of the times this will require an individual approach, but that’s exactly what it takes to build trust and make the right placement that will pay off for your business and the new hire.

Keep an Eye on Culture

The impact of a healthy culture on your business processes cannot be overstated – and a lot of times it gets overlooked even in the most well-established companies. Creating your own atmosphere in the office is difficult, and with remote workers, it’s even harder.
Make sure they are exhibiting your company’s values, even if they aren’t on-site. Unfortunately, there’s no good way to understand what the person is like outside of the screen time that you experienced during the interviews. That’s why the hiring team has to be deliberate in the questions they ask and make sure they understand what the candidate is answering.

Onboarding and Training

You’ll encounter higher turnover and training costs while working with remote employees than you would by hiring full-time on-site employees. While interviewing, be aware that most remote workers may lack the same level of buy-in as traditional employees, especially at the early stages of their tenure with your organization. You’ll likely work primarily with contractors on shorter-term projects. Different businesses have different needs, so this is not necessarily something bad – but your HR department has to be ready for higher attrition rates and pay extra attention to onboarding and training needs of your incoming employees.

Remember throughout this process that hiring is an imperfect art. Someone might interview well and do great on a video chat, but not work out as a freelancer or employee. But taking the right steps and sticking to a good process can drastically improve your odds of finding and keeping quality remote talent.


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