How to Hire Employees Remotely
Posted on October 5, 2021 by P.K. Maric
Remote work has been called “the future of work.”
It’s not the future. It’s the present.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies have temporarily switched to remote work and allowed their employees to work from home. But this is not a temporary phenomenon. The number of fully remote companies is growing and includes some you may have heard of, such as GitLab, Buffer, Zapier, Toptal, Automattic, Toggl, and DuckDuckGo.
According to a 2017 article from Harvard Business Review, the option to work from home was one of the most desirable benefits by job seekers:
Working and hiring remotely is nothing new, the Covid-19 pandemic has simply accelerated the move towards it. Companies that resist the switch to working remotely are falling behind. Perhaps because they don’t know how to hire and manage remote employees. Hiring is the easy part, in fact, it’s so easy and convenient that you’re probably partially doing it already.
It’s Just Like Normal Hiring, but Remote
You can do every step of the hiring process remotely. Most companies already have online job ads, and accept resumes via email or application form. You can also assess a candidate’s skills and job knowledge online, and conduct interviews via phone or video conferencing apps. You might already be using some of these remote steps, which means you’re already part of the way there. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of remote hiring.
Remote Hiring Pros
Remote hiring has some pretty good benefits, such as:
The most obvious pro is that it’s much more convenient for everyone involved. Candidates don’t need to travel anywhere, they just need a quiet enough space to participate in a phone or video interview, or to take an online skill test. Same for you, you just need to be in a quiet environment to conduct interviews, and you can administer a knowledge or skill test from anywhere.
Switching to hiring remotely necessitates using online tools, which save time as you can quickly and easily administer a test to a large number of candidates, for example. Pre-employment tests are already widely used in many industries, and online tests can be automated so that candidate answers are automatically evaluated and scored, which saves even more time.
Online skill assessments not only save time, but they’re also more effective at finding great candidates, and filtering out bad ones. Research has shown that testing job skills using work-sample tasks is the most accurate way to predict job performance. The basic idea is: To test if a candidate will be good at work, give them a sample of actual work. It’s a simple approach, but an incredibly effective one. Other highly effective hiring methods such as cognitive ability tests or structured interviews are also easier to conduct online than in-person.
Interviews Are Easier to Schedule and Conduct
Digital interviews are much quicker and easier to schedule (and re-schedule, if needed) than in-person interviews. It’s also easier to record a digital interview if you need to have another colleague review it and share their thoughts on a candidate.
Remote Hiring Cons
Some of the potential drawbacks of hiring remotely include:
Since remote hiring relies on tech and software, there is a chance of technical issues making things difficult, or even impossible in some cases. However, this is relatively rare, otherwise online hiring tools wouldn’t be as widespread as they are.
Many employers and hiring managers are concerned about candidates cheating during an online skill assessment. However, you can prevent cheating by using email verification, webcam proctoring, copy/paste protection and similar methods. But the best way to prevent cheating is by using original work-sample tasks on your assessment, not simple questions that can be easily Googled.
Less Personal Contact
Many people prefer direct in-person contact during interviews. Most of these people are interviewers, because they’re used to doing things this way. Candidates, on the other hand, may be a lot more comfortable with interviews over the phone or video. Interviewing is already a stressful experience for many candidates, so going to a digital interview from a location of their choosing can improve their performance.
Things to Consider
Make sure you’re posting your job ad in the right places. Some websites specifically advertise remote jobs, such as WeWorkRemotely or RemoteOK. If you’re posting a job ad on a website that’s not explicitly for remote workers, then make it clear if the job is remote-friendly or not.
You should also specify the region or time zone to make scheduling interviews easier, or if you’re hiring fully remote workers to narrow down the area you’re looking for candidates in, as some companies prefer all their employees to be in roughly the same time zone for easier coordination.
If you’re hiring fully remote employees, be sure to mention how flexible the work hours are. Some companies need all employees to work at roughly the same time, which is why they may have a time zone restriction. But if this is not a concern for you, then mention that as well, as other remote companies have completely flexible working hours as long as employees fulfil a certain number of work hours per day or week.
Specify if you prefer workers who already have experience working remotely. Though this doesn’t need to be a dealbreaker, it’s still important as some people have a harder time working from home than others, especially if they don’t have a separate workspace or some other way to avoid distractions at home. But also remember that working remotely doesn’t necessarily mean working from home. It means that employees can work from wherever they choose, as long as they’re able to focus and get the job done.
Remote Hiring Tools
The most obvious ones are video conferencing software, such as Skype, Zoom, Teams, Discord, or any similar app of your choice.
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) can automatically filter candidates based on their skills, years of experience, education level, or any other criteria you set. Some of the most popular ones are Greenhouse, Workable, Recruitee, and SmartRecruiters.
Automated skill tests let you assess the skills of candidates, and automatically evaluate their answers. Therefore you can quickly send an assessment to all candidates and directly compare their skills. Common skill assessment platforms include HackerRank, Codility, iMocha, eSkill, and of course, TestDome. You can try out our free work-sample tests, or sign-up for a free trial.
The resistance to remote work is nothing more than fear of something new and unknown, but it’s gradually becoming more common and there is plenty of research and examples that show the benefits of remote work. Even if you’re not hiring fully remote workers, hiring employees remotely takes far less time, while also giving you an opportunity to make your hiring process more accurate and effective.