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8 tips for hiring the right person remotely

2020 has brought many new challenges and many new opportunities. It might be said that this year pushed everyone to make a leap into digitalization.

With every shift in the market, the way we do business has to change. Hiring is no exception. While hiring good people is always a difficult task, nowadays, the challenge is even bigger. 

In this post, we’ll go over some hiring tips and suggestions that should help you hire remotely. 

1. Think ahead

Hiring someone new can take time. On average, it takes about a month, but for more senior positions, it cant take up to half a year. That’s why it pays to think ahead.

The inner workings of companies are constantly changing. Managers need to be on their toes and able to adapt. They must be ready to see the need for a new team member or position ahead. This will give them enough time to plan things out and give themselves a better opportunity to find the right candidate. 

To give yourself the best chance of hiring the right person, analyze your company’s staffing needs continuously. Try to identify early on what new positions are opening or new talent that you will be needing. 

Perhaps you notice that one of your teams could use extra help. Maybe your teams would perform better if they were organized differently and managed by one person. Maybe your company is growing rapidly. These are all situations in which you can start outlining your hiring needs in advance. Waiting might end up costing you both time and money. 

Ideally, as you recruit for other positions, you can create a list of great talents you discover that you don’t necessarily need now but you may in the future. This will give you a much-needed shortlist of candidates when you get an opening and speed up the hiring process. 

2. Prepare a detailed job description

Once you’ve identified your needs, create a very specific job description.

This is one of the top tips to hire the right person you can use for both remote and office-based jobs. By clearly defining what you need, you narrow down your ideal candidate. The number and quality of applications you get will depend on how well you summarize the job requirements. And how well you outline the characteristics of the ideal candidate.

If the job description is too general, this will leave room for everyone to apply. And a large number of generic applications will not only not help you, but it will also make your job of finding the right candidate harder.

If you are unsure how to define the position and the perfect candidate best, organize a meeting with the team that the chosen candidate will be part of. Ask them for more details about what they need and what they consider to be a perfect profile for the role. 

Ask them to be specific about the roles and tasks that the person will be asked to handle and how. Try to understand what abilities are required and what personality traits the candidate should have to fit in.

On the other hand, don’t only be specific about what you need. Go into more detail about what you offer and what your company’s culture is all about. Offer as much as you want to receive from your right candidates. Next, summarize that information and serve it up as a well-thought-out job post. 

Don’t be afraid about getting fewer applications if you’re too specific. Think about this as the first step in optimizing your recruitment process. This will increase your chances of hiring the right person.

3. Define your ideal candidate

 While you are defining the job itself, take some time also to outline an ideal candidate persona. This is one of the best recruitment strategies you can use to hire the right person.

You must be able to distinguish the most important qualities the ideal candidate should have. Because being qualified doesn’t necessarily make a person the right fit for a job. It takes a good balance between skills, abilities, personal attributes, and company culture to create the perfect Mix. 

Some jobs only require a person who is highly trained. Others, a mix of knowledge and ability to learn and adapt. Others necessarily require a team player. Or an independent worker. It all depends on how your company functions, what your structures and needs are.

If the job is remote, your ideal applicant should be able to work independently and be self-motivated. They shouldn’t need too much supervision and be able to organize their workload well. Not everyone is built for this. You could find a very qualified candidate with little ability to operate alone. 

On the other hand, you could find someone who thrives in flexible working environments and does even better remotely.

Another important aspect is whether the job will require them to work remotely but in close contact with their team. It’s one thing to be productive working alone. 

This can mean that if coordination with a team is not required, they could choose their schedule as long as they get the job done. On the other hand, if they depend on working with others, they also need to be productive on a schedule. 

Again, it will all depend on your company’s structure and needs. That’s why it’s paramount that you define both the job requirements and the ideal candidate’s requirements.

4. Use hiring tools to streamline your recruitment processes

Advances in technology have finally made their way into HR to cut down time-consuming tasks. From recruitment automation to hiring management tools, you now have a wide range of choices to streamline your hiring processes. 

You can use technology to automate candidate communication, schedule interviews, and to screen applications. Anything from posting jobs to interviewing and sourcing candidates is made easy. If you’re recruiting for more specific roles, you can also look into hiring recruitment agencies to help you niche recruitment such as IT recruiting or Hospitality recruiting for example.

It’s a good chance to restructure how you handle your hiring processes and to simplify your procedures. 

Hiring management tools can sort through applications, organize, and rank them, so you don’t have to. They can handle your company’s recruitment on social media or your website and automate workflows. You can use them to create dashboards for each job opening and stay on top of any changes and get real-time metrics on how the process is going.

They work particularly well when the team is remote. Having a centralized platform where everyone can check in on the hiring process’s status and stages is very efficient. 

To help you narrow down options, you can use recruitment apps to set up hiring strategies with clear stages, screening methods, and evaluation ratings. Then, you can use AI and metrics to select the best applicants and hire the right person.

These tools are beneficial when your hiring process involves several departments or when you have multiple job openings. Using them, you will have a clear status of posted jobs, the number of applicants, and what stage each of them is at. You can see how they compare and which ones stand out to help you decide between several applicants.

5. Bridge any gaps by asking the right questions

To hire the right person, keep your eyes open and ask yourself and the candidate the right questions.

As opposed to meeting a candidate in person, hiring someone remotely can be more challenging. It’s easier to get a sense of someone’s personality and evaluate their suitability for the job in real life. 

When you’re hiring remotely, you are limited to speaking over the phone or over video calls. You’ll need to find ways to bridge any communication gaps and pay extra attention to how the candidates present themselves. 

The first thing to do is to assess the candidate at each step of their journey. Your assessment should start with how fast they respond to calls, emails, or other queries. Since a job interview will have us performing at our best, it’s not a good sign if they take too long to respond or do not pay attention to how well they communicate with you in these initial stages.

Then, evaluate how easy they find it to use technology to join the video interview, schedule online, and work on collaborative documents. This is particularly important for remote jobs since they will need to be familiar with certain apps and technologies. Take this as a first opportunity to see how well they do.

Since you are usually talking to several candidates at once, make use of webinar software and create a pre-recorded webinar. Before the actual interview, ask your candidate to watch the webinar. This will help you to save time, as you can present the company and the role to several candidates at once. 

Most importantly, it will create an opportunity for you to understand how the candidate retains the information and if they are paying attention – when you ask them questions about what they saw on the webinar. 

During the interview, you can use questions to overcome the fact that you do not see the person live. You should also use questions to assess how well they can handle working remotely. Base your questions on the information you collected when you created the job description, webinar, and ideal candidate persona.

Questions you should ask:

  • How do they feel about the new “normal” of working remotely? What challenges (if any) have they been facing?
  • How difficult do they find the need to adapt to new ways of doing business?
  • Do they normally learn the ropes and adapt to a new job quickly?
  • What challenges do they expect from working remotely?
  • How well do they respond to challenges?
  • Are they familiar with remote-working apps and technologies?
  • How well do they manage their time? Do they use certain strategies?
  • How motivated are they when working independently? 
  • How do they feel about working in a team? Do they have experience working in a remote team?
  • Do they have any strategies for managing distractions?

6. Make the most of the interview

What a candidate does is just as important as what they say. Even if you are hiring remotely, the video will tell you everything you need to know about an applicant if you pay attention. The things you should be looking out for during the interview process are:

  • If the applicant is responsive and on-time
  • how easily they connect to the video interview platform
  • how well they are prepared to talk about their experience
  • what they speak about past jobs and why they left previous positions
  • interest in your company
  • what questions they ask about the position

You can also involve the team in the interview process. In one of the later stages. Ask a few or all the team members the applicant will be part of to join in the interview. They can ask specific questions, tell the applicant more about what the job entails and what is expected of them. 

They can also ask the candidate how they would handle a specific task or what solution they would give to a certain problem. This will also give you a chance to see how well the applicant communicates with the team.

You should also consider sharing more about your company’s culture and values in the interview stage. Tell the applicant what core values your organization has and how you see the ideal employee. 

This will help them relax and relate to you better while also highlighting whether they would fit in. You can also prepare some videos of the office and the teams to show candidates what a day in the office would look like. To find the right person, make the interview process a two-way street.

7. Add a test to the mix

Especially if the job you are hiring for is technical, you should consider asking candidates to take a practical test, prepare a case study, or otherwise show their skills in practice. Even if it’s not, you can still ask them to take a quiz or undergo an evaluation. This will help you decide who the right person is for the job. 

Make a shortlist of the best applicants once you’ve finished your initial assessment. Then, ask them to prepare a project or take a test. The test or project should be based on the activities they will be required to carry out as part of their job. It can also include using specific technology and interaction with the team. 

If you are hiring a designer, check how well they know their designer tools. Do they use Figma or Sketch? Why are they using that particular tool? Can they showcase their work or share their screen and show how they are working with those tools live? 

When hiring a “full-stack” digital marketer, you might want to check their knowledge of particular niches. Do they know what email marketing is? Can they ring-fence a particular piece of information in Google Analytics, did they work with tools like Marketo, etc. 

In case you are after a programmer, you might want to see their GitHub portfolio or some live projects of their own that they did.

Each position has some particular skill that you need to investigate thoroughly. If the job doesn’t require technical skills, use traditional personality testing methods or recruitment technology to better assess how well each candidate fits your organization’s requirements.

8. Assess how well the candidate matches your company’s culture

If your goal is to hire the right person, you should pay special attention to how well a candidate fits into your organization’s culture. One of the main reasons employees leave is that they don’t feel they match the company’s philosophy. It’s also one of the main reasons employers choose to let an employee go.

As you are evaluating potential candidates, go back to your ideal candidate persona. Assess how well their personal traits match your company’s goals, vision, and ideals. Ask yourself what the top qualities you look for in team members are. Is it loyalty, positivity? Do you need them to be trustworthy? Dedicated?

Especially for remote jobs, make sure you evaluate candidates on their ability to be proactive, reliable, and focused on the task. 

Conclusion

Hiring the right people was always key to a successful business. Nowadays, the difficulty in finding those people has increased significantly. We have to use new channels to reach the right candidates and use new tools to evaluate them properly. 

While such a shift in the market may be scary, it presents a huge opportunity for recruiting. The world realized that you could work from anywhere. The location of the candidate matters less, and the pool of potential employees is suddenly much deeper. 

Take charge of this new market shift and leverage the available tools to put your recruiting on a new level! 

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