If you haven’t managed remote workers before, recruiting and hiring remotely might seem an uphill battle. But that’s not the case.
Building remote teams is the best option for small businesses operating on a shoestring budget.
In fact, recruiting and hiring remotely allows you to save money on overhead – not to mention that you can access the global talent pool and find the finest talent across the globe with just the right combination of skills and experience to benefit your small business.
It may seem hard to believe, but finding top talent remotely is not rocket science.
Once you learn a few tips for hiring the right remote workers, it’s a safe bet that you’ll get the right people to set your business up for massive success (and this is exactly the purpose of this post – to provide you with expert advice on how to fine-tune your hiring process and find great people to hire).
Table of contents:
1. Top 5 Characteristics Of A Top-Notch Remote Employee
Remote work isn’t for everyone.
While some people are happier and more engaged when working remotely, others see their productivity and performance plummet in a home office.
Therefore, before you begin hiring people, I strongly recommend you consider the skills it takes to be successful in this work environment (before considering the skills it takes to be successful in the specific role you are offering).
Below you will find the list of traits that employees need to have to be successful and productive in a remote position:
1. Self-discipline and great organisational habits: A good remote worker does not need someone to look over their shoulder. They’re used to working independently without constant check-ins with their colleagues or managers. They need a strong ability to maintain focus and establish a routine while setting ground rules with family and friends.
2. Strong written and verbal communication skills: Remote employees must excel in written communication (verbal communication skills are important too but most remote employees’ communications are in the form of email and various messaging platforms, so make sure they master the skill of written communication).
3. Tech-savvy: When I say that your remote employees need to be tech-savvy, I’m by no means telling you to hire an expert hacker or a genius programmer. But, I recommend you find people who are comfortable with computers and the latest communication tools. Not even the most skilled worker could benefit your business if they didn’t handle technology effectively.
4. Time-management: Remote working can offer tremendous flexibility and increased levels of work-life balance. But without effective time management strategies, remote employees won’t be able to accomplish a lot during the workday. You do not want your workers to find themselves drained at the end of the day after juggling home and work, so make sure they know how to avoid those time management mistakes that can easily make their work spill into family time.
5. Independent decision making: Of course, you want employees to follow your instructions. But once you give them instructions on the work they need to accomplish, you do not want to get an endless string of emails and messages because they aren’t able to make a simple decision by themselves.
The ability to think and make decisions independently is a key skill that remote workers need to have, so make sure you spot it during the hiring process (in the next section of this post, I’ll teach you how to spot these 5 key skills that truly committed remote workers need to have).
I know what you’re thinking.
“What about reliability, attention to detail, the ability to prioritise and a myriad of other skills that employees need to have to be successful at work? Aren’t they essential skills to look for in candidates?”.
You are right.
You (and most employers) want certain skills in every candidate, no matter what role they will fill. However, the 5 skills and qualities listed above are a must-have for every remote employee (meaning that along with having the specific soft skills and skills to do the job duties, your remote workers must have the qualities I’ve previously listed).
Think, for example, of time management skills. For office based-staff, priorities swirl around eight working hours. This means it is easier for them to manage their time and get work done (even if they’re not time-management ninjas).
Remote workers need instead to be great at time management as they are responsible for setting up a structure of routine that enables them to get work done on time.
While these 5 skills are important but not always essential for office-based workers, they are absolutely imperative for remote employees.
2. How To Recruit & Hire The Right Remote Employees
Below you will find a step-by-step guide for recruiting and hiring great remote workers who will contribute to your business’s success.
1. Map out what qualities the ideal candidate should have
The first step you need to take when looking for the right remote employees is determining what skills and abilities they need to succeed in the job you are offering (don’t forget to add to your list the 5 skills mentioned in the first section of this post).
Make sure you also include in your list traits and values in line with your company culture. You may also want to review similar job listings from brands in your industry and find skills you may not have thought of before (e.g., experience with certain tools).
2. Write a job description
As a general rule, your job description should include the following details:
- Job title (include keywords such as “remote” or “work from home” in your job title)
- Position details (specify whether or not the position is open to applicants worldwide and if the role is part-time or full time)
- Details about your company (e.g., mission, values, benefits for remote workers, etc.)
- Job description (include the daily activities)
- Skills you are looking for and prior experience (make sure you include both soft skills and job-specific skills)
Expert tip: When writing your job description, include keywords that will help candidates find the job posting online (e.g., “remote”, “telecommuting”, “work from anywhere”, “work from home”, “work remotely”, etc.).
3. Post your job description
There are many great websites where you can advertise your jobs and recruit great candidates.
You can also use your social media business accounts to post your job description and attract candidates.
One caveat, though: To attract the right employees, having a good employer and company reputation is an absolute must. If you’re running a home-based business, getting a virtual office is a sure-fire way to build a positive brand image and make your business appear larger and more reliable.
4. Screen candidates
If you do not have a great deal of experience in recruiting, you may want to start with resume screening (an old school method that will help you spot green flags – indications that a candidate is right for the job).
However, resume screening is very time-consuming, especially if you receive lots of job applications. To save time, you can also use cover letters to screen applicants (not to mention that they’re a great way to identify whether or not a candidate has strong written communication skills).
You can also perform an initial phone screen with the candidate (or ask them to answer a set of questions by email) to get to know them a bit better. Alternatively, you can ask them to complete an assignment to test their skills and evaluate what it would be like to work with them.
5. Conducting the interview
Once you create your list of top candidates, you’re ready for the next step in the recruitment process: the interview.
When hiring remote candidates, video conferencing platforms are likely to be your primary communication channel, so make sure you use the right tools.
Here’s a short list of questions to find out if a candidate would be comfortable in your organisation’s remote working environment:
- What does working remotely actually look like for you?
- What do you need in your physical workspace to be successful in your job?
- How would you handle lack of face-to-face interaction?
- Why do you want to work remotely?
- What’s your biggest concern about working remotely?
- What’s your most valuable skill when it comes to remote work?
Now, do you remember the top 5 skills that remote employees must have? (self-discipline and organisational habits, written and verbal communication skills, tech-savvy, time-management, and independent decision making).
Here are a few questions you may want to ask a candidate to assess these skills:
- Self-discipline and organisational habits: “How do you schedule your day?” or “How do you prioritise tasks?”
- Written and verbal communication skills: “How would you go about simplifying a complex issue in order to explain it to a customer or colleague?” or “Is it more important to be a good listener or a good communicator?”
Note: These skills are easy to recognise, so pay attention to the way candidates speak during the interview and the emails you get from them (you do not want employees who write incomprehensive emails with typos, grammatical errors, and spelling mistakes).
- Tech-savvy: “How do you use technology throughout the day, at work and for personal purposes?” or “What software and devices have you worked with?”
- Time-management: “How do you manage deadlines?” or “Why do you think it is important to manage your time well?”
- Independent decision-making: “If you had a problem when the rest of your team is offline, how would you solve it?” or “How would you approach a situation in which you were given a task but didn’t receive complete instructions?”
Expert tip: Even if you’re holding virtual interviews (instead of on-site interviews), make sure you conduct them from a professional location and not your home or a noisy cafe.
Giving a great first impression in a virtual interview is critical for both employers and candidates, so make sure you use a professional workspace. Alternatively, you can blur your background in video calls. However, conducting your interviews from a professional location will give your business a more positive and trustworthy image.
Also, at this stage of the recruiting process, I strongly encourage you to ask for referrals.
6. Evaluate the candidates and make a decision
After interviewing a number of candidates, it’s time to evaluate them and make a final decision. You may also want to conduct additional interviews to drill down to more details (e.g., compensation package, more competency-based questions, etc.).
Typically, large companies ask candidates to attend multiple interviews. Still, as a small business owner, you’re free to decide the number of interviews to conduct before choosing the ideal remote employee.
Conclusion: Hiring remote employees does require extra consideration, but if you ask the right questions, look for the right skills, and trust your gut instinct, you will make the best remote hire possible.
Looking to build a more professional image to attract the best and brightest employees? If so, let us give you a helping hand! B2B HQ can provide your remote business with amazing services to help you grow, build a winning reputation, and achieve greater levels of success. For more details, please feel free to contact us. We would be more than glad to hear from you!