8 ways to improve your remote recruiting and onboarding

By Robert Half on 20th April 2020

With social distancing measures in place, traditional ‘face-to-face’ recruitment processes are simply not an option. Although some industries may have paused their hiring plans, as we find ourselves in this new business-as-usual, many businesses are hiring to fill critical vacancies or increasing headcount to adjust to changing demands.

With that in mind, we look at how recruiting processes need to adapt to maintain a smooth hiring, training, and onboarding process amid current challenges.

How is remote recruiting different?

The main difference between traditional recruiting and virtual recruiting is that you won’t just be assessing your candidate’s aptitude for the job at hand — you’ll also need to pay close attention to how well they can function in a remote working environment.

You may also find that remote hiring requires more preparation than traditional methods, with extra care and attention given to liaising with the candidate and preparing for the interview.

8 steps for hiring remote workers

1) Re-assess the required skill set
Truly effective remote working employees will typically have a certain set of skills which make them better suited to working from home or working off-site.

Aside from the usual skills needed for the role you’re hiring into, you may also want to consider assessing candidates for resilience, adaptability, communication, collaboration, and digital skills.

2) Hire in the right places
Successfully hiring remote workers isn’t as simple as a post on LinkedIn or a job board advertisement. To avoid delays and wasted time, hiring managers should endeavour to go straight to a reliable source. These can include referrals from current staff members or using specialist recruitment agencies for niche requirements, like accounting or IT recruitment.

3) Be equipped for success
When attempting to use technology to conduct a candidate interview, you may need to ensure you have a contingency plan in place for technical hitches.

Familiarise yourself with the software you’re going to be using and make sure the candidate is familiar with it, too. Our research shows that 17% of candidates decide whether they’ll take a job within the first five minutes of the interview, so a good first impression is key.

4) Amend your interview technique
To ensure you’re hiring a candidate with excellent remote working abilities, try asking questions which explore the measures they take to work productively at home, how they collaborate with others, and how they typically use software to achieve this.

Ask your candidate a series of situational or competency-based interview questions, such as: ‘tell me about a time when you had to tackle a challenge while remote working’.

5) Pay attention to body language
It’s easy to gauge a candidate’s temperament based on their body language in a face-to-face interview. Hiring remote workers via video conferencing doesn’t prevent you from assessing body language, but you’ll need to make a conscious effort to look out for it.

Pay close attention to how much eye contact your candidate is giving you, how they’re seated, and what they choose to do with their arms. Are they crossed? Leaning on the desk? Shoulders hunched or pushed back?

6) Ensure they are well-equipped
Ahead of your new hire’s first day, make sure they know which software the team will be using for calls, file sharing, and tasks. Get your new employee set up with access to systems well in advance of their first day.

If your new hire needs equipment, you’ll need to factor in time to send it to them, so they have everything they need to hit the ground running and start adding value immediately.

Related: Robert Half’s remote staffing solution can help you find the best technology solution so your new hire can work securely from home, including offering a secure virtual workspace, VPN or a laptop provided by Robert Half.

7) Integrate them with company culture
Onboarding remote employees successfully will depend on whether they feel well integrated with their new team. Try to give your new hire multiple opportunities to make regular, non-work-related contact with their new colleagues so everyone has a chance to bond. Try to set up a group lunch, afternoon teatime, or ‘after work’ socials via video conference call, so everyone can get to know one another.

8) Keep the lines of communication open
Maintain good communication with your new hire by checking in with them regularly throughout the day. If they need someone to shadow for a few days, make sure that the technology is in place to facilitate this.

Get more hiring and management advice on the Robert Half blog or get in touch with our experts for help hiring remote workers.

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