Remote Hiring: Tips, Resources, and Common Pitfalls

August 30, 2022 • By The Zirtual Team

Working from home (WFH), aka remote work or telecommuting, has many benefits for both employers and workers. It cuts business operation expenses such as office space, equipment, utilities, and travel costs.

Additionally, organizations can adjust to disasters quicker by switching to remote jobs. It also contributes to employee retention since remote workers enjoy a better work-life balance than in-house workers.

However, finding remote candidates for new employees that have the right tools to fill the job offer can be an obstacle (especially without proper planning).

Remote employees can help wth time management if you hire people that are the right fit.

Statistics on remote workers

According to Global Workplace Analytics, regular work-at-home grew 173 percent between 2005 and 2018. Another study showed that 27 percent of organizations exclusively used a remote hiring process and onboarding methods in 2018, while 34 percent combined online and offline means.

Source: 2018 TalentLMS Onboarding Survey

Mobile work became a new normal when governments imposed lockdowns in 2020 due to COVID-19. More businesses are joining the teleworking bandwagon after testing it and finding it productive.

However, it has raised new HR challenges.

With a new talent pool of remote candidates to choose from, the hiring team must take time zone differences and soft skills into account before hiring remotely. While managing your current team of existing employees is a challenge by itself, online talent acquisition is even more tasking. We'll discuss the challenges and pitfalls associated with remote hiring and give solutions.

Remote work is great for professional development — both with remote workers and remote hiring managers.

What Makes Remote Hiring Uniquely Challenging?

Remote work is here to stay, but it can be confusing for HR professionals to identify and recruit the right candidates without a physical office. Many organizations hire remote workers to work independently — but finding the right person to fill a remote role comes with obstacles of its own.

Here are some challenges in remote hiring.

Processing a Zillion Resumes

According to a 2020 study, 43 percent of full-time American workers wanted to work remotely. About 20 percent of the 1200 respondents in the survey said they were discussing a remote working formula with their employers.

Now that nearly everyone wants to work from home, every remote job posting receives uncountable applications from the world population. Therefore, hiring remote workers by sifting through the resumes and finding the best match takes longer.

You can include a clause in your job posting indicating the geographical area you're targeting, but that restricts your hiring pool. An alternative would be enlisting the services of a recruitment agency or involving more employees in resume reading.

Stiltedness During Interviews

Remote interviews can be weird, especially when someone isn't used to sitting in front of cameras. Self-conscious people can even panic and fail to express themselves effectively. It would be devastating if it happened to an interviewer with multiple candidates to talk to in a day.

Preparedness can build more confidence in virtual meetings. Having a list of concise questions can help you stay on track. To speak naturally without becoming overly self-conscious, consider hiding your video from your view.

Proving Emotional Intelligence

Strong communication skills and emotional intelligence make more effective remote employees. You don't want to hire an expert who cannot manage their time or consult when stuck.

Finding out whether a potential employee has these attributes is not straightforward, but you can discover them through your interactions. For instance, a candidate who tests the interview link shows proactive communication, which is a good characteristic.

Onboarding New Hires

Many employees require weeks to months to fully adjust to a new workplace. What about remote workers who have just joined a company but haven't physically met anyone on their team? The remote work environment can be ambiguous and complicated.

First, the employee might not have all the tools needed to work smoothly. They might not even know who to consult when they run into problems. Building personal connections and adopting the company culture can be difficult.

Managers and teammates should assist new members in becoming acquainted with the company's ins and outs. Occasional team-building events, like game nights, can help. You can even conduct them in video conferences to ease the tension in the team.

Remote Work Logistics

Besides competence, there are several more aspects that remote employees need to succeed in their jobs. These include:

  • A quiet working space

  • A computer with the right specifications

  • Fast internet connection

  • Satisfactory data security controls

  • A stable medical condition

If you ask, not everyone will give honest answers. However, a lack of one or two of these things should not be a reason to disqualify a great candidate. Consider providing equipment or an allowance to help new remote employees get started.

Geographical Differences

The best advantage of telecommuting is that organizations can tap talent from anywhere in the world. However, managing a team of employees from different time zones can be challenging. It's crucial to hire a qualified virtual assistant (VA) who works over the desired hours.

If your customers are in the United States, for example, American candidates would be the best. Typically, an American VA has college training and communicates with your clients in a language they understand. Building a team from the same region may also boost bonding among co-workers. Recruiting remote employees isn't impossible, it's just a bit of a challenge (especially if your hiring manager hasn't hired remote employees before).

Remote Hiring for the First Time

Are you planning to hire a remote worker for the first time? Creating a streamlined remote hiring process might be a good idea for you. If you don't, it's likely you'll face the following problems according to a recent study:

  • Tech adoption

  • Candidate sourcing

  • Candidate evaluation

  • Candidate engagement

  • Onboarding issues

  • Insufficient technology

Source: Workable

The talent pool for remote employees isn't easy to sift through. Fill a remote position with caution.

Top Resources for Hiring Remotely

Thousands of organizations were hiring for remote positions in 2020, with Remotive listing more than 2,500 companies. While taking this route can be inspiring, maintaining a thriving teleworking environment involves more than meets the eye.

Your roles as an employer include:
  • Team recruitment and management

  • Assigning tasks

  • Creating milestones

  • Organizing virtual conferences

  • Leading in brainstorming

  • Facilitating real-time communication

Going through hundreds or thousands of applications can be time-consuming and frustrating. Fortunately, there are several automation solutions to manage the online hiring process and track essential things.

Some innovative recruitment tools include:

Greenhouse

This applicant tracking system (ATS) helps you find the best match for your company's remote job openings. You can plan the hiring process, source applications, and manage interviews. The app also handles post-hiring activities.

Indeed

If you want to keep a database of potential employees, use Indeed. The job aggregator stores more than 100 million resumes to help you find the right candidates. It keeps working remotely an option in multiple industries

Ideal

Ideal is an AI-based talent recruitment tool. It screens and shortlists applicants based on their resumes, conversations, and performance data.

Remote hiring offers a remote candidate the option to work from (most) any time zone.

Top Tips for Hiring Remotely

Not all employees are good at remote work. Great remote employees don't require supervision to manage their time, complete tasks, and stay accountable.

When recruiting remote workers, focus on work ethic, management skills, and communication skills. This skill set is essential for timely deliverables.

Use the following tips to find suitable remote workers:

Decide the Right Qualities

Before listing your job advertisement, define the qualities that ideal employees in your field require. Your team can help determine the skills, personal attributes, and experience required for various positions. Regardless of the job, strive to find a dependable, well-organized, and trustworthy self-starter who understands your workplace technology.

Enhance the Interview Mood

Whether it's a physical interview or a virtual meeting, creating a welcoming mood relaxes the candidates. Such an environment allows interviewees to honestly show their best and respond to questions, enabling you to shortlist the best talent. Consider taking the candidate on a virtual office tour to introduce them to your team and company culture.

Monitor Their Communication Behavior

Note the candidate's response time to messages and how professional their emails look. The individual will most likely communicate the same way during the interview process and after getting hired. Hire an applicant who formulates their ideas effectively and responds promptly.

Ask the Right Questions

Besides asking about job-related competencies, determine the applicant's unsupervised working habits and how they respond to pressure.

Here are sample questions to ask in remote interviews:

  • What is your teleworking experience?

  • What tools have you used in your projects?

  • How many hours are you available per week?

  • What time of the day do you prefer to work?

  • Tell me of a time you were creative with your work.

  • Which was your most challenging experience, and how did you cope?

  • Give an example of when you relied on written communication to express your ideas.

  • How do you plan to handle interruptions and distractions at home?

Give a Trial Assignment

A candidate can have an attractive resume and present themselves professionally in an online interview, but how can you prove they'll meet your needs? The best way is to give them a test project with a fixed deadline. The outcome will provide insights into the individual's delivery speed, job quality, and ability to work with your team.

The infographic below simplifies the entire remote hiring process.

Source: Hubstaff.com

Avoid communication issues with remote employees with video interviews and specific job ads.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Watch out for the following pitfalls in your remote hiring efforts:

Overreliance on Resumes

Resumes are a great starting point in knowing prospective employees, but they only tell you what the candidates have done. However, the write-ups don't elaborate on how well a person has performed in the mentioned areas.

Perform background checks to verify the applicant's assertions. You'll know whether the individual is honest and trustworthy. Evaluate their skills through a practical assessment test.

Using one talent source

Different sources of talent are suitable for various fields. For instance, you might not locate a developer and a call center agent on the same website. Try to look for candidates on platforms specific to your niche.

Giving a Lengthy, Unpaid Test

Your trial assignment doesn't have to be too long and arduous to fill a job position. If you have to do this, compensate the candidates who do a good job but don't get hired. Disgruntled applicants can quickly ruin your reputation on social platforms.

Zero face-to-Face Interactions

Some businesses end up with the wrong remote employees because of maintaining zero face-to-face contact during the hiring process. A professional video interview can help the interviewer pick some behavioral traits of the applicant. It also familiarizes prospective hires with your company culture.

A remote employee team member is an essential part of the team.

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