4 tips: How to recruit and hire the right remote workers

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5 mins, 23 secs read time

Technological advances have enabled workers in many fields to complete their daily tasks from any location where they have an Internet connection. There is no longer a need to be tethered to or bound by a traditional office space. With the number of remote workers rising, you may be thinking about taking advantage of the benefits associated with hiring a remote worker yourself. When you hire remote workers, you can expand your search for qualified talent to all corners of the world. Remote workers may also be more productive and require less overhead.

However, hiring and managing remote workers can seem intimidating. After all, you may wonder how you will find the right person who will work independently and complete required tasks in a timely manner. The benefits associated with hiring remote workers are significant, and you can more easily hire the right candidates for a remote position when you focus on a few important strategies.

Decide on and hire for the right qualities

Many people would love the opportunity to work from home, but the reality is that not everyone has the right combination of skills and experience to be successful in this type of position. Before you start interviewing candidates, consider what qualities and skills are ideal for remote workers in your field. Work with your team or hiring manager to come up with a the required skills, qualities, and experience that will make the remote worker successful in the role. Once you have this alignment, touch on these skills when writing your job description and listing. These are the attributes you’ll use to screen candidates during the recruitment process.

But what skills should you focus on? To start, remote workers should be independent self-starters. They will have no one peering over their shoulders. Instead, they will need to have the motivation and drive to hold themselves accountable. Ideally, they will be trustworthy, dependable, and well-organized.

The best remote workers are also creative and tech-savvy. They should have the technological expertise to set up and run a home office, and they should identify when they need external support or upgrades to their software programs. Ideal candidates will also have the creativity and ingenuity to solve their challenges on their own with minimal or no external assistance.

Communication is critical for those who work remotely. They should be able to respond to all forms of communication in a timely manner. They should be able to clearly and concisely communicate in writing, and the best remote workers are also great verbal communicators.

Adopt the right hiring strategies

Your evaluation process with a remote job applicant will begin from your initial communication with them. While this is also true to evaluating onsite candidates, it’s important to pay even more attention to the following behaviors when interviewing a remote candidate.

Consider the following: How quickly do they respond to calls and emails? Do they communicate clearly and effectively in writing and over the phone? You may also need to use a video interview to conduct the actual interview, and you should pay attention to how well they use their technology. Keep in mind, observing these behaviors helps you screen against the initial list of attributes we discussed earlier.

Create an exceptional candidate experience

During your interview sessions, you should strive to create a welcoming atmosphere. This way you are making sure that the candidates are relaxed enough to show you their best self, making it easier to spot real talent.

Physical interactions are important for building a great relationship. If possible, have your remote interviewee come to your company office for an onsite meet with you and your team. If they aren’t able to come in person, use video conferencing for a face-to-face interview. This can make interviews more like a one-on-one encounter in the office which will enable you to evaluate eye contact and body language, just as you would for onsite interviews.

Don’t hesitate to think outside the box, use a camera to offer virtual tours of your office in real time. Show your prospective remote workers the ins and outs of your company culture and introduce them to their coworkers in their natural context.

By ensuring a relaxed atmosphere during the interview, candidates will open up to you and respond to your questions honestly, offering a perfect occasion for assessing their talent.

Ask the right questions

Remember, a highly skilled worker who may thrive working in an office environment may not always have the interest or motivation to work hard and stay on track when working remotely. Clearly, you need to use your interview questions to carefully assess candidates who may not be ideal for the position as well as for the work environment.

It is common to ask behavioral questions that help you to assess skill levels in different areas relevant to the position, but you need to go a step further when interviewing remote workers. Continue coming back to your list of characteristics and develop interview questions that allow you and your team to evaluate these traits. Ask questions that give you insight into their level of self-direction and organizational abilities. Ask for specific scenarios when they have worked independently, strategies they have used to manage their time, or an example of when they were responsible for proactively communicating the status on a project. Inquire about the technology and tools they have used to work remotely in the past, such as for communication or file sharing. Ask about the hours they keep when working remotely and how they plan to handle distractions and interruptions when working from home.

Here are three sample behavioral questions to get you started:

  • Give me an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?

  • Tell me about a time when you had to rely on written communication to get your ideas across to your team.

  • Tell me about a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities.

While you definitely need to find a candidate with the right skills and experiences for your specific job opening, hiring a remote worker to fill an opening requires you to dig deeper. While it may require patience and effort, you may ultimately benefit from hiring the right candidate for the job when you incorporate these tips into your hiring strategy.