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Remote hiring: 5 ways employers can adapt the recruitment process


Remote working is on the rise across Europe. Though, the practice of remote hiring is still a fairly new concept for most businesses. Remote hiring requires companies to adjust key elements of the recruitment process, update employee policies and invest in relevant technologies. These modifications ensure firms enjoy successful remote hiring campaigns and appoint people capable of making an impact in a remote working environment. Below are 5 ways employers can adapt the recruitment process for remote hiring.

Why you should consider remote hiring

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis may have forced your company to focus on remote hiring for the next few months. However, the number of people working remotely across Europe was increasing anyway. Businesses of all sizes continue to take advantage of new technologies to offer remote working opportunities to employees. And the advantages of a remote or agile workforce are already well documented. Companies that allow employees to work ‘where, how and when they want’ are reporting the following benefits:

  • Increased productivity
  • Positive impact on employee health and wellbeing
  • Significant cost savings
  • A larger and diversified talent pool
  • Ease of doing business in multiple time zones

Think carefully about promotional activities

Job adverts can be vague sometimes, relying on hyperbole and marketing-speak to attract a broad pool of talent. While this strategy may work in a traditional recruitment setting, when it comes to remote hiring, clear statements about the role and company are essential. Consider advertising the job in remote hiring forums such as We Work RemotelyRemote OK or Remotive Jobs. And make sure adverts include the right keywords (e.g. ‘remote job’, ‘working from home’, etc) too so that the job is easily found on search engines and the job site.

Emphasise your remote working culture

Any promotional activity should include job requirements, expectations and duties, as well as details about your remote policy, the rationale for why the position is remote rather than office-based, and information about communication, collaboration and logistics tools related to the role. Highlighting the company’s remote culture and the value it places on remote working will make you stand out. This is especially the case for ‘remote-friendly’ firms ­– those that have gradually introduced remote working policies over time. Competing for talent against ‘remote-first’ businesses i.e. those that have employed remote workers since day one, means working harder to sell your remote working proposition.

Get the whole team involved

You’re the boss and have been building successful teams now for several years. Your eye for talent and your intuition about a person’s ‘fit’ is unmatched within the business. Only you can decide who to bring on board. Scrap that thinking right now. Yes, it’s always a good idea to involve members of your team involved in the hiring process. When remote hiring, though, you need a much deeper insight into candidates’ skills, personality and experience. Interrogating soft skills like intuition, self-motivation, time management, etc. is difficult at the best of times. Getting the views of colleagues early in the process will give you a detailed and diverse assessment of these qualities – and better results.

Prepare for a prolonged process

It often takes companies longer, on average, to complete a remote hiring process than it does to find office-based staff. You could be looking at several months rather than a matter of weeks before your new employee is in the role. Distance and virtual communication are obstacles in themselves, but it’s the difficulty in getting to know someone from afar that frustrates the project. Don’t compromise, though. Be patient and anticipate a lengthy process. Establish realistic timelines and be creative with stages too. An additional 'home task' as part of the interview process will give you a better understanding of how they work. Or, offer a ‘trial day’ to really test compatibility. Candidates should enjoy multiple communication touchpoints to keep them engaged. And longer interviews will help you get to know people better.

Conceive specific remote hiring questions and assessments

Soft skills are the making of a great remote worker. We’ve already mentioned intuition, self-motivation and time management as important qualities to look for in candidates. Assessing someone’s competence for communication (especially written), consistency, proactivity, decisiveness and self-discipline should also factor into the remote hiring process. Create questions and assessments to tease out these qualities. Role-playing, for example, is a proven soft skill assessment method. And interview questions could include:

  • What’s your remote working experience?’
  • Why are you attracted to a remote working career?
  • How do you organise your working day?
  • Do you use any organisation, collaborative, or project tools e.g. Asana?
  • Tell me how you stay focused?
  • Describe what a healthy work environment looks like to you?
  • What methods do you use to stay in touch with colleagues?

Don’t under-evaluate hard skills either. You must ensure your new hire can hit the ground running from a technical perspective with little or no additional training.

Become a master video interviewer

Remote hiring isn’t possible without adequate investment in video interviewing technology. You need to research the available tools on the market and choose one which meets your needs. Our article on video conferencing software is a great place to start. Once you’re happy with the tech, you need to adapt your interviewing style. A video interview will never truly simulate the experience of meeting someone face-to-face. Because of this, different preparation is required. We’ve provided some tips for candidates here that interviewers will also find useful. Additionally, you should ‘arrive’ in the virtual meeting ahead of your candidate. Allow for a period of ‘small talk’ too, to help them become accustomed to the format and set-up.

Be creative when onboarding remote workers

Ok, so your remote hiring process was a success and you’ve hired a perfect remote worker. Now the real engagement starts. You should always aim to ‘over-communicate’ during a remote onboarding process, and that means lots of virtual meetings and conversations. Your remote worker will need clear early objectives too. And you should aim to review progress regularly during the onboarding period. As well as ensuring all technical support and administration is a hassle-free experience, you can also get creative by sending gifts and friendly messages from the team and/or the CEO to make your remote worker feel welcome. Assigning them a buddy or mentor is also another great way to ensure they stay engaged and adapt quickly to the company’s culture and ways of working. Read our essential guide for remote onboarding here.

Contact us

If you would like to find out more about remote hiring, successful remote onboarding  or the different video conferencing platforms to suit you and your business, please feel free to contact one of our specialised and experienced Recruitment Consultants who will be more than happy to help. Alternatively, you can contact us via norway@nigelwright.com or +(47) 21 60 75 33.

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