From 2019 to 2022, the remote workforce has tripled according to Gallup. Remote recruiting is Human Resources’ fastest growing strategy within talent acquisition to meet the needs of an evolving work environment. Remote recruitment involves the sourcing, screening, interviewing, and hiring of employees located throughout the world. Traditional means of recruitment used to entail a multi-step process. Phone screens, in-depth phone interviews and then, one or more onsite interviews prior to extending an offer of employment. While some traditions are tried and true, traditional recruitment as described is becoming antiquated. It does not accommodate the needs of an evolving remote and hybrid work model. Companies need to make the recruitment process efficient for all types of employees. When recruiting remote employees, an organization must examine their existing recruitment plans. Then make essential adaptations to make the evaluation process efficient for everyone involved.
Review your company’s culture and online presence. Remote job seekers will search for opportunities online. The description of the company found online can affect if they apply. The remote job seeker will want to click to learn more or scroll by. Craft your company’s website with a plethora of examples of the company as a whole. Company culture, history, commitments to employees, customers and society with an emphasis on the company’s investment in remote employees. Share pictures on the company’s social media pages to generate excitement about events within the company. Be sure to include remote employees’ experiences within the content.
Include videos from leadership discussing the company’s mission, vision and values. Having an informative and engaging website will help remote job seekers develop a connection to the organization and reiterate their desire to work there. Include benefits that support remote employees such as additional education and certification opportunities, flexible time, technology benefits, etc. Reiterate that promotion can occur for both onsite and remote workers. If your organization is truly a remote friendly company, broadcast that on the company’s website so remote job seekers can quickly identify that your company encourages remote workers. Make it more than words or a nifty “remote friendly” graphic by including testimonials from remote workers about their positive experiences so job seekers can get additional perspectives from those who do work remotely.
JOB POSTINGS AND DESCRIPTIONS
Now that the organization’s culture has been addressed, take a look at the job listings that are posted on the company website and job boards. Human Resources talent acquisition personnel need to craft job descriptions that attract remote employees. Clarify if the position is 100% remote or if the position is actually hybrid with some onsite work requirements. If it is hybrid, will there be occasional travel to the company headquarters or regional office, and if so, how often? Include specific expectations of the role that apply to its remote specification. Is there a specific time window or time zone that the employee must work? What type of home work environment and technology are required?
An organization needs to examine all channels of promotion for remote jobs. Recruit existing remote employees to scan their networks for potential talent. Promote job listings on job boards that specialize in remote work opportunities. Utilize your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) integrations with niche job boards to expand your audience.
SCREENING AND PRE-INTERVIEW
Upon finding potential talent, it is time to evaluate further and put the “human” in “human resources”. Remote recruitment does not readily offer the ability to bring talent onsite for interviews so it’s time to go to the talent themselves. Schedule the interview through your Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Phone screens offer an initial opportunity to evaluate basic skills, but for remote positions, consider replacing a phone screen with a video call. This gives recruiters an additional opportunity to develop a connection and evaluate communication and nonverbal language skills. Recruiters need to develop and refine video interviewing skills prior to kickstarting a video interviewing process.
Keep your interview area free from distractions and interruptions. Make sure all equipment is working prior to the interview. Doing this prevents precious interviewing time being wasted on resolving tech issues. Technical issues can occur no matter what. So have an alternate plan to continue the interview in case technical issues cannot be resolved. In a warm, welcoming manner, be the first person to join the meeting. This way the interviewee does not increase nervousness waiting for the interviewer(s). This is not a typical video meeting. Recruiters need to gauge and evaluate nonverbal communication cues, but that can be more difficult over a screen. Take notes regarding questions about qualifications and experience, but if you are taking notes using an interview guide within your ATS, ensure that you can see the interviewee the whole time.
Craft interview questions to include segments focusing on time management, communication skills and autonomous experiences. Formulate questions to gauge the job seeker’s ability to work independently when remote and how they communicate with others when questions or challenges arise. How do they handle stress, particularly when they cannot get up and go walk to someone for assistance? Asking open-ended questions seeking examples will help recruiters find remote talent that will fit within the organization’s remote culture. Explore assessments to evaluate job skill compatibility along with behavioral and cognitive capabilities. Conduct written assessments to get an example of how the job seeker expresses themselves. Writing samples can include how to respond to an angry client while researching the problem, providing instructions to a teammate or a client, or whatever is relevant to the position.
When the interview concludes, ensure they know the next steps in the process and how they will be contacted. Remote recruitment can take longer than traditional recruitment processes. All job seekers appreciate updates on their status in the hiring process. However it is essential to provide additional communication with remote employees so they can stay engaged in the hiring process. Depending on the intricacies of the job opening, examine the need for additional specialty interviews such as panel interviews. Including the remote candidate in a group meeting and encouraging their participation could give another perspective on interaction and group acclimation. Positions need to be filled quickly to mitigate productivity loss. However, take enough time to host enough video interviews and group sessions. Doing this will allow you to determine if the remote candidate is the best fit for the position.
Once an employment offer has been extended to the soon-to-be new remote teammate and they accept, engage them in an active onboarding process starting with the use of onboarding software to automate part of the process. Keep the new remote hire involved with open communication and timely notifications of what is needed from them and what they need to do as well. Partner with the company’s Information Technology department to communicate technology security policies with the new remote hire.
Work with the new hire to validate that they have the tools they need to do the role. Craft communication plans with the new hire so they can start interacting with the team. Outline expectations for task completion, and most importantly, be available as questions arise. Check in on the new remote teammate and host weekly meetings to help them get up to speed on the responsibilities of their job. Remote work environments thrive on communication so ensure the team is there to support the new remote teammate as they learn the culture and their role.
Tailoring remote recruitment to meet the needs of remote job seekers provides the organization with the means to find candidates who want and can successfully complete the duties of a remote position. Remote employees must be self-directing and have stellar communication skills along with grit to handle tasks independently but be ready to collaborate and work with teammates digitally alongside them. Remote employees offer higher productivity and increased loyalty to an organization. As an organization seeks talent to fill vacancies, remote talent can provide the skills and commitment to forge a path of heightened productivity. Forge that path together, no matter where you are.