How to hire remote workers…remotely

By Robert Half on 22nd February 2021

What does hiring look like when many companies are looking at how they can get back to business, but needing to hire from a distance? Are there different criteria to look for in remote workers as opposed to those who are on-site? And how can managers welcome new employees when many workers are encouraged to work from home if they can.

Here’s a quick guide to confidently finding and hiring remote staff without meeting them in person.

Where to find remote workers

Job search websites are one of the go-to places for posting open positions and attracting new employees. But this broad approach often results in too many CVs which means additional times spent reviewing applicants who aren’t suitable for the job. You also need to consider suitability for remote work and your corporate culture, which isn’t always easy to determine, even when you can spend time in the same room with candidates.

When you need remote workers quickly, try these other methods as well:

Specialised staffing agencies. Contact a specialised recruitment agency such as Robert Half. Finding the right fit, fast, for your open role — including remote positions — is our area of expertise, after all. Our talent pool includes millions of highly skilled professionals who are capable of working remotely from anywhere. And we have solutions, including the use of secure virtual workspaces, that enable them to securely access necessary data and applications regardless of a company’s particular setup.

Boomerang hires. Reach out to top talent who’ve left your company on good terms — people you know are disciplined and organised enough to work off-site and have the skill set you seek. It never hurts to call those past employees or send them a personalised email telling them about an enticing job opening. For those who have retired from your firm, it could be a good chance to busy themselves while at home for a long period. For those employed elsewhere, consider making your offer a step up from their current position.

Staff recommendations. Employee referrals are excellent ways of recruiting people who’d be a good fit for your company and for remote work. What’s more, a team member’s endorsement is extra enticement for their friend or former colleague to accept your job offer.

Ideal skill set for virtual workers

Not everyone is cut out to work from home. You want employees who won’t need a lot of handholding or direct supervision. Here are six attributes of successful remote employee:

Technical savvy — It goes without saying, your new hire should be very comfortable with common cloud-based software, as well as audio/video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

Digital security — They should also understand the importance of VPNs (virtual private networks), two-step/multifactor authentication and other best practices for data privacy. Don’t let online security be a casualty of moving your team off-site.

Initiative — When reviewing applications and during interviews, look for self-starters. These are individuals who can see a need and then take the appropriate actions without having to be told what to do.

Problem solving — While working from home isn’t an every-person-for-themselves scenario, remote employees do need to take care of many things on their own. The ideal off-site worker knows how to troubleshoot an issue before escalating it.

Communication — In-person conversations have the advantages of body language and visual cues. Since so much communication while teleworking occurs via email, phone and instant message, look to hire those who can speak clearly, write unambiguously and listen carefully.

Collaboration — Even though employees are working remotely, your department and company still need to work together well and coalesce as a unit. In fact, a sense of collegiality is more important now than ever.

Practical interview questions for off-site staff

After reviewing CVs, you’re ready to meet with your short-listed candidates — virtually, of course. It’s best to conduct interviews by video, not only so you can see how they present themselves, but also to gauge their equipment and bandwidth’s suitability for remote work. The following are possible additions to your list of interview questions:

  • What is your history of working remotely?
  • How do you stay focused and on-task when working from home?
  • How do you stay engaged and motivated over long periods without in-person interaction?
  • Tell me about the platforms you use (or have used) to collaborate with off-site colleagues.
  • What do you do to minimise miscommunication in emails and instant messages?
  • What are the three attributes that make you an effective remote worker?
  • What are the greatest challenges of working off-site?
  • What is your approach to work-life balance when your job is remote?

Related: Contact our recruitment team today to discuss our virtual hosted interview process.

Even though managing a remote workforce may not be what you had in mind for your company, this is the new normal for at least the short term. Help your business overcome this latest challenge by hiring workers most likely to succeed in this environment and then fully integrating those new off-site employees into your team.

Learn from Robert Half’s expert recruiters so you can build a talented team of employees or advance your career. Operating in over 300 locations worldwide, Robert Half are one of the top recruitment agencies in Bristol. Robert Half can provide you with assistance where and when you need it.

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