Hiring Remotely — How To Make Sure You Get It Right The First Time
When it comes to hiring the right person for your remote team, you need to make sure that you’re choosing the right person from the outset. You’ll want someone who is a good communicator and ideally someone who has experience with working remotely.
There are numerous ways to become an unbiased judge of character and skills to ensure a good match for your team. For example, asking them what tools they use when they work remotely and their experiences of working remotely successfully will help you know if they’re a match for your company’s needs.
The most important thing about hiring remotely is finding a candidate with strong communications skills in order to avoid any communication barriers that may arise due to geographical distance. Make sure during your initial screening process that these characteristics are evident so as not to waste time interviewing completely unsuitable or unskilled candidates.
How you can get it right the first time
Identify the skills you need. What are the core skills required for someone to do the job and do it well? Are there qualifications you’re specifically looking for? Include these in the job description along with any other indicators of experience. This could be related to transferable skills, education, and more.
The nature of remote work means that your talent pool is now global. And while this is exceptional in some ways, it’s also essential to ensure any red tape and rules are followed. So, a key question to ask is if remote work is allowed in your country? Or in your target candidate’s country? Are there any implications for your business for hiring someone in another country?
Once you’ve established if there are any hoops to jump through with paperwork and discounted any countries where legally you can’t employ people from, consider what type of employee will suit this role best. For example, are you looking for someone who works independently or is better suited to work as part of a team? Do you know what kind of working style fits best with yours? Do you want someone who will happily jump on a Zoom call or someone who is better suited to less frequent management?
Now you have an idea about culture fit, who would work well in your current team, and what style of working will be most productive, create an interview process that suits the needs of remote employees and offers both parties value and an open forum to check out whether you’re a good match.
Make sure to communicate with the interviewee the format of the interview adequately. For example, will they be required to take an aptitude test, or do they need to provide their portfolio? Another good way to encourage a good rapport is to ask the candidate to prepare an answer to an ice-breaker question, perhaps something light-hearted or funny, and make sure they know this is what you’re looking for. This can help people relax and ensure you’ll see the best side of them for the rest of the interview.
Ensure your tech is working (and ask them to do the same!). This goes without saying. Check you have a working camera, microphone, and a quiet space to conduct the interview. Don’t try and squeeze it in; leave enough time to get set up and ready.
When you’re on the call, find out about their working environment and how they like to communicate with others. Working style is an often-overlooked skill that is imperative to successful remote working teams. For example, if you want to speak twice a day and your potential employee is used to a catch-up call once a week, this needs to be discussed and ironed out before starting, or it will likely lead to unhappiness and poor productivity.
If there is a disconnect in working styles, could you come to an agreement that offers structured communication that suits both parties?
Finally, if you’re keen to move forward, find out if they have any special requirements (e.g., a quiet workspace) and how much notice they need before starting a new project so that all details can be arranged before they start work to make sure it’s a smooth start for all.
Hiring remote employees can be a win-win situation for both the employee and employer, but it’s essential to make sure you have all your bases covered. Find out what skills they need to do the job effectively, whether or not their country has laws that allow them to work remotely, how much time they might spend on video calls with others versus working independently.
The best way to find these answers is by interviewing them as if they would come into your office every day — just ask about their environment and how often they like communicating with people face-to-face. You may also want them to provide some evidence such as a portfolio or professional references before hiring them so that you have a better understanding of their suitability.