Ultimate Guide to Hire Remotely: Tips, Tools, and Best Practices
Discover the advantages of hiring remotely and how to do it right. Hire top talent from anywhere with our step-by-step guide
Hiring Remote Talent: How to Find and Hire the Best Candidates in 2023
In this blog post, we will take you through how to hire remote workers for your company. We'll cover everything from what online tools make it easy to find good candidates all over the world, how to set up an interview process that makes sense given the location of your potential hires, and more!
There’ll be less offices in 2023 as the traditional workweek fades away, replaced by an era where anyone can work from anywhere. And it's not just Gen Z that are into this trend, but many people across generations are increasingly choosing to go remote over being shackled to a desk, chained to a cubicle, or even just commuting.
In the wake of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the global shift to a truly remote workforce was accelerated. If there was any doubt regarding the readiness of a remote workforce, or the ability of millennials to function without constant supervision, Covid-19 put those doubts to rest. It was now abundantly clear that telecommuting, freelancing, and remote work is no longer a trend, but an established and well-honed reality.
In fact, a recent Gartner survey revealed that as high as 90% of HR leaders will let go of the requirement for office presence when hiring, in the next couple of years. According to the same report, they said they "will allow employees to work remotely even after the Covid-19 vaccine is available."
At this point, it is worth mentioning (in case you're unaware) there are many benefits to recruiting remote workers. Businesses are realizing that remote workers are often more productive, efficient, and happier than their office counterparts. Plus, access to a broader range of top talent - which is crucial in a competitive market.
If you’re a recruiter, you might need to “hire remotely.” It’s going to happen whether you like it or not, so it's time to start accommodating the change.
However, many still find hiring remotely novel and challenging. The truth is: hiring remotely is different and you need to adapt your hiring process accordingly.
This guide is here to help you manage the unique hiring needs of your company in this brave new world.
How Businesses Can Hack Remote Hiring in 2023 in 7 Simple Steps
Step 1: Lay the Groundwork
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Alexander Graham Bell.
A good military commander knows that even the best plan can fail if his or her troops are not ready for battle.
Similarly, before you charge head-first into hiring a remote worker, you need to prepare yourself and your company for recruiting remote workers in a way that reduces the risk of failure.
These preparations will not only lay down a foundation but also help you create a strategy that you can fine-tune as your business grows.
Here are some of our suggestions
Find out if hiring remotely is a smart move for your business
If you have the freedom of choice, consider whether hiring remote workers is a good fit for your company culture and mission statement.
Take time to consider the benefits of hiring remote employees, such as reduced overhead costs, the ability to hire internationally, and access to a greater range of talent.
Choose whether you need full-time employees or part-time
If you are on the fence about hiring remotely, some businesses choose to hire part-time remote workers instead of full-time. This allows them to test out a remote work setup before committing, and also see if the employees are productive enough for full-time employment.
Answer these crucial remote recruiting questions
- How will you manage a remote workforce?
- Do your employees need to be in the same location as each other, or can they be located across different time zones?
- What are your needs here - is it one worker, or a team of workers you need to recruit?
- How would you handle communication with employees (especially asynchronous communication)?
- How will you motivate and encourage your team members to perform well, especially if they are not in the same place as each other?
- How will you handle training and performance reviews?
- What about the need for collaboration - is that significant to your company?
Find out about state and federal regulations
In the United States, telecommuting has been a subject of controversy between employers and employees for decades.
However, many states have now made it clear that they are in favor of allowing employees to work remotely for various reasons - including the reduction of traffic congestion and air pollution.
This means that employees who work remotely are protected by the same laws as those in traditional workplaces, such as anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation laws.
So: before you start hiring, find out if there are any specific regulations that your state requires or recommends you follow.
Build an attractive online presence
Competition for the best talents is fierce.
If you want to hire the best remote workers, your company needs an attractive online presence that shows off what makes it unique and worth hiring for. This will encourage potential workers to learn more about your company before they apply, and it can even help you find excellent candidates.
Here are some tips for building an online presence that will help you find the best remote workers
- Make sure your website has a professional design and contains information about what you offer and who you are. Keep it up to date with the latest partnerships, projects, or milestones.
- Go beyond the “About Us” page, and include testimonials from current workers about their experience, as well as a clear description of the company’s values in action.
- Use regular blog posts to show off your company culture, and offer articles that help people with the skills you are looking for.
- Leverage social media to promote your brand. Create profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook - not only to promote your company but also for recruitment purposes. Social media is the most cost-effective way of reaching out to the best remote workers. Aside from recruitment, also use social media as a feedback channel, so that you can understand what is important to your employees.
The costs of hiring someone remotely can quickly add up.
If you want your remote workers to bring in results, remember that you will need to pay them accordingly.
Then, there are fees that need to be paid for online resources, interviews, and meetings.
Be sure to include all of your costs in the budget for hiring remote workers when you plan ahead so that it doesn’t come as a surprise.
These are some options for how your company can afford to cut the cost of hiring remotely:
- Do not outsource your recruitment. Use the services of websites like EliteBrains that provide a list of vetted workers (software developers) and their hourly rates. No need for complicated interviews, worker management tools, or any other overhead costs.
- Take the time to look for free alternatives that do not require any payment or subscriptions fees, like Skype or Google Docs.
- Do not outsource key company functions, but instead hire remote workers for specific tasks.
- Get your employees on board by offering them some of the pay as an incentive such as a bonus.
- Be realistic with your expectations regarding results and timeframes, so that you can remain within budget.
Step 2: Create an Intelligent List of Requirements
Although your company may be built on hiring talented, skilled workers who are leaders in their field, you also need to remember that hiring remote workers is much different than hiring local employees.
You can’t simply hire the best person for the job.
Instead, you need to also consider factors like how well they are capable of working independently, how well they communicate with their team, and other factors that are relevant to remote workers.
Use this list as a checklist to define the top qualities you need in a remote worker.
Exceptional Technical Skills
Your company should always be looking for skilled employees, regardless of where they are located. For example, if you need help creating a website for your business, make sure any remote workers you hire have exceptional coding skills.
Mastery of Remote Working Tools:
Outline the tools needed to work successfully remotely, and make sure your candidate can handle the tools you need them to use, and look for experience with similar tools in job descriptions/resumes.
This will help you find the right remote worker for your company, and ensure they have a smooth transition into their new role.
These could be simple services like Google Docs, Skype, and Gmail - but it’s important that your employees have access to these tools, and that they are able to use them without any problems.
Some specific tools you may want to consider when hiring remote workers include:
- Tools for communication - such as Slack and Zoom (for video conferencing).
- Tools for collaboration - such as Trello, Asana, or Basecamp.
- Automation tools - such as Zapier or IFTTT.
- Tools for file storage and sharing, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box.
- Tools for project management - such as Asana, Basecamp, or Trello.
The value of a skilled remote worker can be lost if they struggle with motivation and focus.
Remote working often requires a high level of discipline, as it’s easy to stray from your to-do list without the structure of an office environment.
So, make sure to look out for candidates with a track record of completing tasks successfully.
The ability to communicate efficiently is a must-have skill
Communication is key to remote working - ideas, reports, reviews, plans, and other business operation processes are all easier to achieve when you can communicate effectively with your team.
So, look for remote workers who are confident communicators.
By this, we mean those who can express themselves clearly (written and verbally) and who are good listeners. Plus, have experience communicating with people in person - either face to face or via video chat.
Wherewithal to Work Asynchronously
Remote workers are often isolated from their team, so they may work on assignments at different time zones. For this reason, remote employees need to be self-starters and self-managers. If a remote worker isn’t able to manage their own time effectively, it will be a struggle for them to be a remote worker in your company. Therefore ensure the candidate is comfortable working without a fixed schedule and can prioritize tasks to make sure they meet deadlines.
Cultural Fit in non-negotiable
All of your employees should fit into the company culture, and remote workers are no different.
This means that even if they have the best skills for the job, they won’t be a good fit if their personal values don’t match up with your company culture. It’s even more important for a remote business because remote workers can feel disconnected from their team if they aren’t a good fit.
Make sure your candidate is someone who will mesh well with the culture of your business, and who has the potential to grow with it.
Remember, you want someone your employees will be excited to work alongside - not dread having around.
Adaptation is key
Finally, make sure your candidate is capable of adapting to new environments. Remote working isn’t just about how well they can work on their own - it’s about how well they can adapt to new situations and work with leaders and different people in a range of environments.
Note: In some situations, you will require a candidate to have specific skills and experience working remotely.
If you are hiring for a specific skill set, make sure they have the necessary experience working remotely with that skill set.
For example, if your business is not a remote company - but you are hiring for a remote marketing role, make sure the candidate has some experience working remotely for a company in a similar industry.
Step 3: Cover all the bases with a well-crafted Job Listing
To make sure you get the right candidate and to avoid wasting time with irrelevant applications, create a job ad. The Job ad or listing or description is essentially a document that puts together all the skills, experiences, and traits you are looking for in your ideal candidate.
By using it you can make sure that any candidate you interview has the skills, experience, and traits necessary for the role.
Remember - it’s not about finding someone who has all of these - it’s about finding someone who has the best balance and fit for your business.
Job listing/ad/description for recruiting remotely should include:
- A Job Title - Make sure it’s clear and accurate, so the candidate knows what they would be doing in this role.
- Relevant Keywords - This is especially important if you are using a job board or an agency. You want to make it as easy as possible for candidates to find and "get" the job they are applying for. Words like "remote job," "work from anywhere," "work from home," "virtual job," and "telecommuting" are examples of great keywords. Include Keywords in the title, description, and throughout the copy of your job listing.
- Appropriate language and tone - Use action words to describe what you want from a candidate - For example, instead of using "must-have," you could use "is required to."Also, be mindful to ensure the right language that promotes inclusiveness in your listing. Do not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, etc.
- Employment Type - It is very important that the candidate knows whether or not this position is full-time, part-time, or freelance
- Job Location - State where the job is located. If you are open to candidates in only a specific location, you can state that as well.
- Duration of Work - How long would the candidates be employed for as well as the number of hours they're expected to put in per day/week.
- Job Responsibilities - This is where you list the tasks that will be required of your candidate in this position.
- Job Qualifications - This is where you list the skills and experience that a candidate should have for this position. Make sure to include any specifics you want to see such as the number of years experience needed, required licenses and certifications (and how they can be obtained), etc.
- Compensation - Let the candidate know how much they will be making for this job before they apply, so there are no surprises. You may want to include a range based on experience and qualifications if this is not a commissioned sales role.
- Benefits - This is a great way to make your company stand out from others who do not offer benefits, especially if you are hiring for a remote position. Let the candidate know if there are any benefits that come with this job.
- About Company - This is where you can explain what your company does, and why it’s unique. You want to make sure your candidate is a good fit for the company so include your values and culture. This can really help you weed out candidates who are not a good fit for your company.
Step 4: Look in the appropriate places for talent
Of course, times have changed, this is 2021 after all. To find highly qualified remote workers for your business, you should look to job boards, online forums, social media sites, and even specialized talent brokerages. The idea is to leverage the tools that are available for you so don't be afraid to experiment.
Remote job boards
While they are not perfect, job boards can be a great place to find qualified remote workers. Examples include:
Other "general" job boards you can post on:
Use Social Media to find remote workers
Social media is a great place to find talented workers for your business. Examples include:
- Twitter - search using hashtags like #remote, #digitalnomad and #telecommute
- LinkedIn - search using keywords like #telecommute and #remote
- Facebook - remote job group
- Reddit job subreddits like /r/jobs, /r/telecommuting and r/forhire
Using freelancing websites is a great way to find highly qualified remote workers.
- EliteBrains (for developers)
Step 5: Shortlist Applicants
Having posted a job offer, you'll quickly get flooded with applicants. If the number of resumes is overwhelming then prioritize and shortlist candidates. This will help you save valuable time for later on in the hiring process.
Steps to shortlist remote applicants:
- Review their resume for skills and experience - as a general rule, it is important to confirm that their experience and skills match what you are looking for.
- Check for references - if they have worked with others in the past, ask for a reference.
- Check out their portfolio(where it applies) - if they are a designer, developer, or writer then their portfolio is important. Look for samples of past work and judge whether they are up to standard.
- Research their online presence - try and find information about them on their social media accounts or do some Google searches on their names to check that the candidate does not have any questionable traits or negative reviews.
- Give them a test project - Consider asking them to do a test project. This will help you shortlist the most suitable candidates as well as assess their skills.
- Confirm with references - give previous employers or colleagues a call and ask them about the candidate. It's good to get an outside view of them before taking any further steps.
- Call them up - if you can, call them up to discuss further and get a first-hand feel of the candidate. Also, you can assess their communication skills
At the end of this step, you should have a shortlist of applicants that you are fairly confident with.
Step 6: Set up an interview process for remote recruiting that makes sense for your business
The interview process for remote hires is slightly different in terms of logistics. However, just as with traditional in-person interviews, the objective is to assess the candidate's skills and determine if they are a good fit for your business.
Here is how to set up a remote interview process:
- Schedule an appointment with the candidate - Get in touch with the candidate to fix a time to conduct the interview in a way that is convenient for both parties. Let them know beforehand what the interview will entail and what and who they will be talking to.
- Create an evaluation rubric - this will help you to create structured interviews with the right questions. You can also use it as a reference to follow up on certain topics.
- Decide on a medium for your interview - decide whether the candidate should appear in front of a screen or on the phone. You might want to use Zoom or Skype for this depending on bandwidth and access to these applications.
- Decide how long the interview will be - while some interviews can last upwards of an hour, it is best to set a time limit and keep the process concise.
- Set up a standard interview template - this will help you save time and ensure that every candidate is asked the same questions.
- Constitute an interview panel - It is best to have more than one person conduct the interview. This will help you get a more perspective of the candidate. However note that you'll probably be using technology, so it is wise to limit your team to two or three people.
- Record the interview - it is a good idea to have a recording of your interviews so that you can refer back to them when assessing the candidate.
- Create separate interviews - you can consider breaking up the interview process into different parts and having them over different mediums. For example, you can have a phone interview, followed by an online code test and then perhaps even another video interview if necessary.
- Ensure your equipment and technology are set up before the interview - this is a must for any remote hiring process. Make sure that your internet connection, microphone, and camera are all working.
Remote interview questions
The candidate should be made to answer standard questions like:
- Tell us about yourself.
- Why are you interested in this position?
- Why do you want to work for our company?
- What are your salary expectations?
- Describe a difficult situation you have faced on the job. How did you handle it? What was the outcome?
- Why did you leave your last position? What was good about it and what could be improved upon on the next job? etc.
Additionally, since this would be a remote job, you want to determine their readiness for it. For this, you want to ask certain questions that are specific to this scenario.
- Do you have a computer and internet access (or another relevant tech) necessary to complete the work we would be hiring you for?
- Why do you want to work on a remote basis?
- Describe your experience working on remote projects.
- What are your working hours? Do you have any preferences for workday timing, i.e., morning/afternoon/evening?
- How do you want to be managed?
- What kind of communication tools do you feel comfortable with?
Throughout the interview process...
- Try to remain friendly, but don't allow the candidate to take over the task - make sure that you are conducting a structured interview. You want to give the candidate equal opportunity to talk, but you don't want them dominating too much.
- Be consistent - follow your rubric and interview template as closely as possible. This will ensure that you are standardized in your assessment of the candidate and don't miss out on anything important because it was not covered in the standard template.
Things to look out for in a candidate when conducting a remote interview:
- Internet connection and audio/video quality. If the candidate seems to be struggling with these things, it might not be for a remote position.
- The candidate's knowledge of the industry and ability to engage in a problem-solving conversation. If they do not seem confident or knowledgeable, it might not be a good fit.
- The candidate's knowledge about your company and the position they are applying for. If it is clear that they do not know anything about the company and position, they should be removed from consideration.
- Is there anything that is unclear about this candidate? If you have questions about a certain aspect of their work or the way in which they are communicating, it might be best to find out now before hiring them.
- The candidate's technical skills. Are their responses timely, correct, and thorough? If not, they might not be the right fit for this position.
- Is the candidate's resume accurate? Are they living up to their claims in person? If it is a good fit, hire them. If not, don't.
- Stay positive - you can consider sending out an email to all candidates after the interview process has been completed, thanking them for applying, and informing them of the decision.
- Don't rush to decide - it is important that you take as much time as necessary for this process, and don't rush to a decision.
- Finally, hire the best candidate - it is important that you hire someone whose personality and experience will be able to fit in with the team.
Step 7: Onboard Successful Candidates
Once you have made your decision on who to hire, the next step is ensuring that they are set up for success.
This means providing the candidate with a list of resources they need to complete their work. Also, this is the point you introduce them to your team, give them a rundown of your processes and protocols, and make sure that they know how to get in touch with you if there are any questions as well as start the process of demonstrating relevant tasks for them to complete.
In addition, this also includes hiring them as an employee and making sure that they have a contract and confidentiality agreement to sign.
The last thing you want is for the candidate to come on board, find out that they are not a good fit, and then leave the company. This is an expensive process that you want to avoid if possible.
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