SmartRecruiters Hiring Success Journal

The 4 Things Recruiters Should Do Before Hiring Remote Workers

A growing number of businesses see flexible work options as a solution to the tight talent economy, this is how recruiters need to adapt.  

From a recruiting perspective, remote hiring is both a challenge and an opportunity. The ability to source globally means a larger talent pool, yet the prospect of finding a team member who can work effectively away from the office is daunting. However, ready or not, the reality of remote work as a common option approaches steadily, with Upwork’s “Future of Work Report” predicting at least 38% of full-time employees will work remotely within the next decade.

Accessible internet and the rise of workflow applications have made remote working an increasingly feasible option for companies looking to save money and/or build a global team. In spite of these positives, the challenge is clear: find a new worker who will be engaged, despite the distance… as employee engagement is a top concern, even with on-site staff.  

However, the success or failure of a remote work program has more to do with the company than the candidate. Assess an applicant all day, but if an organization doesn’t have effective communication or onboarding, the likelihood of growing a motivated remote team is slim to none.

Managing remote teams comes with a unique set of dynamics that can be quite different from managing in-house teams. Therefore, the processes for recruiting, onboarding and managing these teams must be designed to account for the distinct characteristics of the practice. As remote hiring becomes an important part of a company’s talent acquisition policy, businesses need to learn how to balance the potential downside of this approach with its obvious benefits.

Start Slow…

Working from home (WFH) gets a bad rap as another term for slacking off. Though studies have found that this isn’t the case at all, workers tend to be just as productive if not more so during home office days.

If your team is feeling nervous about the potential for lost productivity due to a remote team member, then start slow and build trust. Hire a candidate (or a few) on a freelance basis, and then offer a full-time position once the company knows they’ve found a new employee on which they can rely.

Process makes perfect…

Hiring remote workers often make companies examine the efficacy of their own processes. It’s easy to work around an ineffectual system when you can go down that hall and ask a coworker to help, but clunky technology or a bunk order-of-operations quickly becomes an impasse when a person works independently off-campus.

A quick list of questions to ask yourself…

  • Is there a way to access team/company/HR resources online?
  • Does the organization have an effective chat mechanism and a shared calendar?
  • How will the candidate receive a virtual tour of the business?

Great expectations are great!…

Make expectations clear. Work assignments and project deadlines are a given, but also ask… are there certain hours staff should be online?… Or do you want video, not just sound, turned on during conferences? Take some time to think of the online-decorum the team expects, and codify it in an online resource.

Points you may include:

  • Where/how to praise other team members
  • Where/how to communicate negative feedback
  • What is considered a “timely” response

Benefits benefit everyone…

Most offices offer benefits or perks for in-house workers that just make the day a little better. Things like free coffee or fresh fruit go a long way to show employees they are appreciated. Just because workers are remote, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get any fun stuff. Great benefits also help recruiters build a strong employee value proposition to attract top talent! 

Consider monthly stipends for music or video streaming services. Health insurance can be hard to navigate if you have a global team, so a monthly wellness stipend could be another option.

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 At the end of the day, it’s important to remember communication and training will always be a challenge for businesses, and neither must be perfect in order to begin remote working recruiting efforts. Rather, use this list to identify problem areas so both hiring managers and candidates can navigate them together, and begin laying down solutions that make sense for all employees.

Anand Srinivasan

Anand Srinivasan