Studies show 99% of employees would like to work remotely at least some of the time.
It’s time for companies to listen. 📣
Despite the growing number of remote workers, many businesses still shy away out of fear their employees will spend their days at home on the couch Netflix-ing—it's a widespread misconception that has been all but debunked.
The truth is, there are many perks for employers willing to open their minds and doors to remote positions.
Here are just a few of the big benefits remote employees can offer:
- A wider talent pool that enables businesses find the best candidate for the role, no matter where they're based.
- Team members get their work done on their terms (a BIG plus for employee retention).
- Remote employees save the company money and increase overall productivity.
In recent years, research has proven that remote employees can do everything an in-house employee can do (and possibly more), but with none of the traditional face-to-face hiring processes we're used to, recruiting and selecting perfect-fit remote employees is a completely different ballgame.
Whether your company is 100% remote, partly remote, or still in the process of mulling this whole remote thing over, there are plenty of ways to get the quality hires you need.
Not sure where to start? This step-by-step guide will walk you through the A to Z's of remote hiring done right.
What is remote work in 2020?
The first thing you need to know is remote work is NOT just a trend.
What started with a baby step toward letting employees have a little more autonomy for half a day per week has evolved into a global best practice utilized by some of the world's best employer brands.
Here are just some of the latest stats on remote work:
- Remote working has increased a whopping 159% in the last 12 years
- 50% of millennials already work remotely
- Globally, 70% of all workers telecommute
From work-from-home (WFH) policies at household names like BT and Dell to fully remote teams at major tech players like Basecamp and GitHub, companies of all shapes and sizes are adapting to the demands of today's talent market.
Let's take a closer look at how to hire remote employees like the best of them.
Step 1: Define your company culture
First thing's first, you can't find a good culture fit if you’re not sure what your culture even is.
Don't worry, we get it. It can be hard to see who you really are when your face is so close to the mirror. But when it comes to leading a successful remote team, you MUST define your company's culture and guiding values before you can find the qualified candidates you need.
Sit down with your team leads and other internal influencers to find out how they really feel about the culture.
Ask the following culture-related questions:
- Is the company more flexible or more structured?
- More cautious or more risk-permitting?
- Does it focus more on the individual or the team?
- What kind of results does the company expect from its employees?
While you might have one idea of the company’s culture, other people may have a completely different perspective. Even if you have to resort to an anonymous survey, it’s better to get candid opinions than to make promises you can't keep.
Step 2: Revamp your job description
If you're offering a work perk that 99% of workers want, why not say that loud and clear?
Write a standout job description that includes your awesomely attractive remote work policy.
But be warned. Writing a job description for a remote position is very different than writing a job description for an inhouse role. You need to be 100% crystal clear about what your expectations are, right from the jump.
Let applicants know what a remote position with your company actually means, as well as how the rest of the team ticks.
Here are the things to think about.
Is the company fully remote or distributed?
If you're already a fully remote team, you're probably comfortable onboarding new remote employees. But that may not be the case for your competitors. And as a major bonus, many job seekers prefer to apply for fully-remote roles.
Don't be afraid to play up the aspects of your position that are above and beyond what other remote roles typically offer.
Will they be expected to attend regular video meetings? Annual meetups in a fun location? Whatever it is, make sure you spell it out for any high-quality candidates that are comparing your open position against the competition's.
On the other hand, if your company is distributed—meaning some employees work in the office and others are remote—be sure to include information on where headquarters is for local applicants, while emphasizing the fact that the entire company (whether remote or non-remote) works together as a team.
What are the position’s core requirements?
Many remote job descriptions include certain parameters for their positions. While some of these may seem obvious, it’s better to be transparent about your expectations ahead of time.
Let applicants know what type of tech you’d prefer them to have, if your company requires a certain wifi speed, how the team communicates and what software or tools your applicant needs to have access to.
Is there a certain time zone you’d like your applicant’s schedule to line up with?
Sometimes having clients in Japan and a marketing team in New York is just fine. Other times it simply won't work.
Think about which teams need to communicate and collaborate, and when.
Wasted time is a bummer in every part of the world so it’s best to be open about this information right up front in the job ad.
Also, be sure to let applicants know if there's a specific time frame they’ll need to keep available for any meetings or communication with clients or other teams.
On the other hand, if you don’t have any hard and fast scheduling requirements, be sure to let them know they'll be 100% free to set their own schedule. 👍
Step 3: Promote your job listing in all the right places
Next, the goal is to get as many eyeballs on your shiny new job ad as possible.
Go ahead and share your open position on all the most popular (and free!) job boards, but remember, you also want to make sure you're actively sourcing remote employees who have the potential to bring important new ideas and perspectives to your team.
For that, you may want to go niche.
Here are a few of the top job boards for remote employees:
- FlexJobs: Great for posting fully remote and contract positions
- Remote.co: Popular remote job listing site that includes both job listings and a directory of remote companies
- We Work Remotely: Community for remote workers to find remote jobs
- Working Nomads: Appeals to the digital nomad culture and helps them to find new job opportunities
- RemoteOK: Another great job board for remote roles
There are also a ton of great job boards targeting awesomely diverse and underrepresented workforce talent. If you're after high-quality candidates and true culture add, these are definitely worth checking out.
Step 4: Screen your applicants
With LinkedIn in the mix, resumes and cover letters are becoming less of the norm, especially when talking about remote hiring.
Still, it's good practice to ask applicants to send some sort of introductory paragraph (a.k.a. employer love note) to get a feel for who they are as a person and how engaged and enthusiastic they are.
Personality and skills assessments like DISC and others are another popular way to get a better idea of a candidate’s soft skills and industry knowledge. Some employers opt to include an assessment as a part of an application to help determine which applicants deserve to be shortlisted for a phone screen or interview.
If you're using an ATS with an open API (like Breezy 😉), you can integrate any assessment tool and easily add notes to keep track of your thoughts on each candidate as you drag and drop them from stage to stage.
Not willing to compromise on quality? Find out how Brie Davis at Transformation Church uses a 3-Step Process to Hire Perfect-fit Candidates for Her Volunteer-based Organization.
Step 5: Conduct video interviews
When you can't shake a candidate's hand in person, a virtual coffee date via video is the next best thing.
Some companies like to have a quick phone or audio chat first, but either way, chances are high you'll be using video to communicate in the future, so make sure you're giving your candidates a glimpse into how you work by making video a standard part of the hiring process for every remote role.
With video, you can also pick up on those little cultural insights you might not otherwise get access to on a phone call. You'll see the way the candidate speaks and get a better feel for their true personality and mannerisms.
Just remember to try to keep it casual, yet professional—focus on conducting the interview similar to how you would in person.
And if you're committed to culture add, it's best to avoid a one-and-done interview.
For example, a team lead might start with the first interview before moving onto the hiring manager, then ending with a group interview with a member of the executive team.
Of course, that's just one example. Different companies require different interview processes.Think about a process that provides an awesome experience for the candidate, while reflecting your brand's true culture and values.
Remember, hiring is a collaborative effort and the best way to find a good culture fit is to share and challenge each other's perspectives.
Need help with interview questions? Check out our guide to The Problem-Solving Interview: 15 Cliché-Busting Questions to Help You Find Your Next Rockstar.
Step 6: Offer a paid test project
Once you’ve narrowed your candidate pool down to a limited number of qualified applicants, it’s a good idea to test their skills with real work specific to your company.
This is especially important for remote roles where you'll be up against all the challenges of asynchronous communication and not having the luxury to lean over and ask your new team member a question.
Put together a sample test of real work they’d be doing on the job or offer them a trial period to see how well they assimilate into the role. This helps you get a further idea of which candidate meshes with the company and can handle the work and do the job well. Be sure to also provide clear instructions and a firm deadline for when the pilot project is due.
And of course, remember that the candidate is still doing work for your company and you need to pay them for it. Even in the remote realm, the market for quality talent is tight—expecting free work is never a good look.
Want an insider glimpse of startup hiring done right? See how Sarah Corboliou, Head of Employee Success at Unito.io finds quality hires, step-by-step.
Hire your next remote worker, with no regrets.
This remote work thing isn't going away.
If you're ready to score some of the massive cost savings and ace productivity benefits remote employees can deliver, it's time to make remote work a reality for your business. And with tools like automatic job posting, video interviewing and drag-and-drop candidate pipelines, getting the right fit doesn't have to be as tough as it seems.