COVID-19 has made remote work inevitable for a great portion of the population. But after the pandemic comes to an end, the flexibility associated with working remotely will likely stick around, making remote work desirable to a larger amount of employees.
Hiring remote employees doesn’t only benefit your staff — it also gives you access to the best talent without setting limitations on location. But how do you go about hiring a remote team? It may be more difficult than it sounds, as there are certain benefits that you may offer your in-person team that won’t entice remote employees, like office snacks or a ping pong table. And you have to search for a specific type of person who can manage their deliverables without a manager to consult with face-to-face.
So whether you’re hiring a few new remote employees or you’re setting up a fully remote workforce, here’s what you need to hire your best remote team.
Attracting remote employees
Offer remote-specific benefits
The Hireology office is located in the middle of downtown Chicago with amazing views of the river and lake, with an on-site gym and unlimited snacks and coffee. While these are a few of the great benefits of working in the office, it means very little to our remote employees.
Companies have to shift gears when advertising their open roles to remote employees because the amenities will be very different. Consider offering work from home stipends that allow remote individuals to set up their home office, an allowance for a fitness or gym membership, or even a co-working space stipend in their city. Offering these benefits will make it much easier to attract remote workers to your business.
Showcase all-company events
Remote workers should have some opportunities to travel to be with your team every so often. It’s important for team building and general camaraderie and connection, so make annual or bi-annual all-company events a priority, and advertise your efforts on your career site and social channels.
At the events, you can host award ceremonies, panel discussions or speaker series from industry professionals or leadership team members, and sprinkle in some entertainment with happy hours or catered dinners. Every employee, remote or in-person, will feel valued and included in celebratory moments and otherwise.
Nurture your employer brand
How you are perceived matters a great deal to any hire, but remote employees have even less to go off of than in-office recruits, so you have to make it a point to build a strong employer brand. Pay attention to online reviews from current or former employees, showcase your culture on your social channels and your career site, and share testimonials from your employees about why working at your company is great — bonus points, of course, if you can get remote employee testimonials.
And don’t forget to pay attention to feedback and make necessary changes to continue to nurture your employer brand so you can keep attracting top talent.
In the interview
Know what you’re looking for
Remote work isn’t for everyone.
Working remotely requires high amounts of initiative and personal accountability that not every individual has. Because you won’t be in the same space as your employees, you need to know that they can balance their tasks — and inevitable distractions that come from working at home — and still deliver quality work.
That means you’ll likely need to vet your remote candidates differently than you would for in-person employees. In the interview process, ask questions around organizational skills and time management, and look for individuals who are great at communicating, as you will have to rely on virtual conversations much more heavily with remote employees.
Some example interview questions that are great for remote employees are:
- How do you manage your time and stay organized?
- How do you keep yourself motivated when working remotely?
- What is your preferred method of communication and how do you use different communication tools in different situations?
For more interview question examples, check out this blog.
Think about value fit
A value fit may seem less important in a remote employee, but it’s not. Your current employees will likely have to work with your remote hires in some capacity, so hiring someone that adds to your company’s core values still matters a great deal. Look for candidates that will be easy to collaborate with and who contribute to what makes your company stand out from your competition. This will help enhance your culture and make your new team members’ transition easier.
Ask for references
References can provide you with peace of mind that a candidate can perform their job from anywhere. When conducting reference checks, ask questions about the candidate’s ability to complete tasks within deadlines and work autonomously. Hearing from someone who has worked with the candidate will help establish if they’d be a good fit for a remote position or if they may be better suited for an in-office opportunity.
After they’re hired
Be deliberate with onboarding
Use your onboarding process to make sure that your remote employees are privy to all the information necessary to do their jobs. It’s much more difficult to acquire on the job training virtually, so your onboarding process has to be all-encompassing and include documents and presentations that can be referenced at a later date.
Additionally, your onboarding process should also be a way for employees to get to know their primary and secondary contacts so they know who to go to with ideas, challenges, or general questions. Providing them with scheduled time with these individuals can help with relationship building and ensure they feel connected to others within the organization.
Hiring remote employees is the easy part — it’s much trickier to keep them around, because after all, they aren’t limited by location so their job prospects are likely much larger. Communication is one of the most important facets of keeping your remote employees engaged and excited about working at your company. Make effort to make remote employees feel included with regular team meetings, manager check-ins, and projects that allow for cross-collaboration with other team members.
Without an office setting, some of the best parts about working can be lost, like the sense of connection you feel with your coworkers. Work to build camaraderie in a remote setting with activities that don’t necessarily revolve around work.
Hireology’s product engineering team has always been remote, and the entire company has been working remotely since the beginning of the pandemic. To keep our employees feeling connected, we host DEI events and topical panels, randomized get-to-know-you zoom calls with fellow employees, and virtual events like bingo or trivia. We also have various “fun” Slack channels where employees can share pictures of their pets, families, or workouts to break up the day and get people to engage. It’s important to have these outlets to remind employees that work should be enjoyable, too!
At Hireology, we’ve had years of success hiring our own remote employees, and we want to help you do the same. Reach out to us for a free consultation on how we can help you hire your next remote employee.