How to Hire Remote Employees in 5 Simple Steps
This article is part of a larger series on Hiring.
With the shift to virtual work, there are steps you can take to ensure you hire remote employees who are just as successful and productive as on-site employees. Our guide will take you through the entire process, from creating your job description to conducting virtual interviews and making your offer.
1. Accentuate Your Business
Unlike local candidates, remote job candidates are less likely to have heard of your company and generally won’t have the opportunity for an in-person visit to your facility. Therefore, it is important that you emphasize the positive qualities of your business in other ways.
Have an Employee Value Proposition That Covers Remote Working
Having an employee value proposition is a part of any sound hiring strategy. An employee value proposition (EVP) is your company’s overall value to current and future employees relative to other employment options they may have. It is a combination of the company mission, culture, benefits, and compensation and is usually part of a larger employer branding strategy.
To appeal to remote employees, your EVP should put extra focus on flexibility and helping remote workers feel like part of the team. For remote workers, this is a critical aspect of an EVP and how they will evaluate your company versus other options. Be sure to highlight this in your job description.
Create a Job Description That Speaks to Remote Workers
Speaking of job descriptions, a good one does more than just list the role and candidate requirements you’re looking for. A good job description sells candidates on why your company is a great place to work, speaking in a voice that relays your unique culture and core values.
For remote workers, as mentioned above, that means an emphasis on flexibility, which is usually a key reason they want to work remotely. It’s also about having a culture that values productivity over facetime and focuses on strong communication and self-motivation.
Promote Your Business
In addition to selling your company culture, you need to be able to sell your company’s ability to manage remote workers. Remote workers often feel detached and alone. Some companies are better than others at managing remote workers, so you want to be able to give remote candidates confidence that you can successfully manage working with employees no matter where they work.
This could take the form of promoting how many of your employees work remotely or the processes and tools you use to keep remote workers in the loop. You should make sure you mention this in your job description, EVP, and during the interview.
2. Find Remote Candidates
It is now time to post your job openings and begin the process of finding qualified remote candidates.
Expand Your Network Beyond Local
For any job opening, you’ll want to reach out to your network, including current employee referrals, family and friends, business partners, etc. Employee referrals are the highest-quality source for new hires. For on-site job openings, this is usually focused around your geographic area. However, for remote workers, you need to expand your thinking. Candidates around the world are potential employees.
Update Your Website
If you post job openings on your website, then you’ll need to update your website when you’re ready to hire for a remote position. Be sure the posting highlights the fact that the job is remote and not specific to your business location.
ZipRecruiter has a free job widget that will automatically update your website when you update, add, or delete a job posting.
Post Openings on Remote-Specific Job Boards
Several sites focus specifically on remote job opportunities. If you’re using a talent management system or recruiting software, you can automatically post your job to multiple sites with a single click.
Here are some remote job posting sites you may wish to consider:
Plans start at $16 per job post daily
Offers a four-day free trial
Starts at $399 per month
Offers a trial with five free postings
Starts at $299 per month
Does not offer a free trial
In addition to sites focused just on remote workers, you can also check out freelancing websites as well. These sites also cater to remote work but on a more piecemeal, part-time basis. If you’re looking for administrative help, you can check sites that focus on virtual assistants.
3. Review Resumes
Take the time to review each resume that is submitted. You can perform a quick scan to see if the candidate already has a job history in your industry/business. If they do not show the experience or education in a quick scan, you can remove them from candidacy. If they do have the background you are looking for, take a deeper dive into their resume.
When evaluating candidates for remote work, there are a few criteria to look for in addition to the normal job qualifications.
A quick review of a candidate’s resume will give you an overall impression of their qualifications. Pay close attention to their work history and how it aligns with your job opening. Have they worked in your industry before? Have they worked a position with the same or similar title to your job opening? Additionally, do they have a history of working remotely? Often, folks with a background in startups and freelancers are used to being productive when working remotely.
The next review of a resume is to look at the skills a potential candidate is bringing to the table. Has the candidate included technical skills in previous jobs that you require in your current open position? Just as important as technical skills are soft skills that every remote worker must have, such as self-motivation and being proactive in a virtual environment.
4. Interview Remote Candidates
Once you have evaluated candidates for consideration your next step is to interview the ones that best meet your needs. Interviews can be conducted in several ways for remote employees: by phone, video conferencing, or email communication.
You can test for communication skills by making all of your interactions a combination of video conferencing calls, phone calls, and email messages. Many businesses have successfully hired remote workers by conducting only video interviews. Be sure to let team members who will work closely with the candidate have a chance to interview as well. This will help in the decision-making process as the team can decide if the candidate would make a good fit.
Evaluate Their Communication Skills
In addition to being productive remotely, you’ll need someone good at communicating. You won’t be able to chat around the water cooler to get a sense of how they’re doing so communicating well at a distance is critical for remote workers to be successful. Do they seem well-organized? Can they articulate clearly and concisely? Are they comfortable with modern communication tools like Skype, Slack, or Zoom? The interview is your chance to evaluate their communication skills.
Assign a Test Project
During the interview process, you can get a feel for productivity at a distance by assigning the candidate a complex task with a deadline. The task will test to see if they can remain motivated outside of an office. The timeline will test their ability to be proactive and get things done quickly. The test project should closely resemble the kind of work the person would be doing if hired. It will be up to you to decide if this test project will be a paid assignment.
Some job seekers feel like test projects are a way for companies to get free work, so paying for the project indicates you are serious about evaluating their skills for possible employment. Be sure this is one of the last steps in your hiring process so that you are not spending a lot of money and time on candidates who you are not considering.
5. Hire Remote Workers
Now that you’ve conducted your interviews and reviewed all notes and the test project, it is time to hire your top candidates.
Once you have made your decision on which candidates you will hire, it is a good business practice to notify all other applicants that you have reached a decision and they are no longer considered for the position. Then you should notify those workers that you will hire with a phone call or an email to give them the details of the job opportunity (i.e., formal job offer).
If you’re not ready to bring someone on full-time, consider hiring them on a contractor basis. This will let you get a feel for their productivity and communication skills before committing. Contract work can be based on a timeline (i.e., 90 days) before hiring.
Pros & Cons of Hiring Remote Workers
Hiring remote workers can open up the number of available job candidates and create more satisfied employees, but it’s not for everyone. Here are some pros and cons to help you decide if remote workers are right for your business:
|Attract more candidates from anywhere||Requires you to have the right processes and tools for remote workers|
|Employees like the flexibility of remote work||Requires you to trust workers to be productive without direct oversight|
|Reduce overhead like rent and facilities||Not applicable for a number of positions, e.g., retail sales, manufacturing, etc.|
|Works very well for certain positions, like tech, graphic design, writing, and freelance positions|
Leveraging remote workers can be a great way to attract more qualified candidates while reducing overhead costs at the same time. However, hiring and managing remote workers successfully requires you to have the appropriate processes and tools in place. If you do this, you can build a highly productive, global workforce.
ZipRecruiter can make finding and hiring remote candidates a snap. All candidate resumes will be kept in one place for your review and it offers templates you can use throughout the hiring process.