Hiring remote workers
Learn about remote hiring, the 7-step guide to begin hiring remote workers, and the qualities to look for when you hire with this complete guide.
Hiring remote workers means recruiting employees who are not physically present at the office and are put through the entire hiring process from interview to onboarding without meeting face-to-face. Remote workers can work without geographical restrictions—from home, cafes, coworking spaces, or another country altogether.
Though hiring remote workers comes with its own challenges, it significantly expands an organization's talent pool—it is no longer limited to the city where the office is located. It enables companies to hire a more diverse and inclusive workforce from across the globe. It also gives a better edge over competitors in terms of the number of applicants (remote working is one of the most important factors that modern-day candidates consider when looking for a job), as well as the pace of hiring.
Here is the 7-step process for hiring remote workers:
1. Source remote candidates
2. Screen remote candidates
3. Interview remote candidates
4. Notify the selected candidates
5. Roll out the offer letters to the selected candidates
6. Follow up after the offer
7. Initiate thorough background checks before they join the organization
Each step consists of intricate processes to follow before hiring the right remote worker, as mentioned below.
Here are four efficient ways to source the best candidates:
Let’s go into a bit more detail.
Listing your open positions on multiple job boards is a great way to attract a wider pool of candidates. But most organizations end up spending much more on job listings and sponsored ads on job boards than they intended to for hiring remote workers. This expense can be brought down by more than 50% by simply using a good applicant tracking system like Freshteam—apart from being cost-effective, this also enables companies to manage all job postings across job boards on one dashboard, saving hours of cluttered work.
Once you have the reach sorted out, it’s time to focus on the job descriptions for remote positions. The most important aspect of doing this is to provide as much clarity as possible.
Provide a good description of the role—not a generic list of tasks. Use these templates to get started
Include remote-specific keywords like ‘work from home’, ‘distributed workforce’, ‘remote working’, etc
Be clear about geographic limitations, if any
Include a few lines about the remote work culture, time-off policy, and other perks
Talk about what the interview process would look like—how many rounds, what is expected, the expected timeline of responses, etc
Include an easter egg in the description to filter out candidates better
Creating a remote employee referral program for hiring remote workers isn’t vastly different from the regular kind, except in this case, it can only be truly successful if the remote working culture at the organization is rewarding and fulfilling for its existing employees. With that said, here are some ways in which you can get more candidates through employee referrals:
Offer incentives: It can be a multi-level incentive program—The higher the position referred to, the higher the bonus. Or it can be a fixed incentive for all referrals. Either way, an incentivized referral program is a proven method to source great candidates
Transparent process: Make the referral process as simple and transparent as possible for hiring remote workers. Keep your employees informed about what stage their referral is in, why they were rejected, or when their referral bonus will be credited
Make it a part of your remote worker hiring process: When hiring remote workers include a referral form in their welcome kit so they can bring in the people they would like to work with. This gets them more invested in the job and leads to a quicker candidate sourcing timeline.
Use the right employee referral software: Using the right tool can expedite your referral process by 40%, and there are loads of free employee referral software available in the market today.
The remote-work perks package goes hand-in-hand with the company culture, so this will be tricky to set down. But when hiring remote workers, it helps to mention whether you provide:
Health insurance for all remote workers
Home office allowance
Unlimited vacation policy
Build an online presence and ensure your careers page, as well as social media pages, reflect your work culture. This requires consistent social media content planning as well as engaging existing employees and making sure they share the content on social media.
Here are 3 steps to remember when screening remote candidates:
Screen their resumes for quicker shortlisting: This isn't applicable just when hiring remote workers—Create a pile that matches the job requirements exactly—number of years of experience, location, salary expectations, language requirements, software knowledge, etc. Keep a ‘maybe’ pile where you save promising candidates to the talent pool so that they can be reconsidered later. Use a resume screening tool like Freshteam to get this stage done faster.
Assessment tests: This helps companies understand the true potential of candidates—which might have been overstated or understated in their resumes. It’s a good check for authenticity and how candidates perform under pressure.
Ask for portfolios along with the job applications: Whether they’re blogs, social media handles, their personal website, or any sample of their previous work—these can help screen the type of candidates that you would like to proceed with.
Pro tip: An applicant tracking tool can potentially cut the manual effort in this stage by half—you can set pre-existing requirements and criteria, and the ATS can automatically reject applications that don’t fit your criteria.
It helps to conduct at least 4 rounds of interviews before finalizing the candidate. Here are some things to remember when you prepare the interview process:
Do a basic screening interview to check their notice period, expectations from the job, etc, before the candidate is scheduled for a detailed interview
Schedule the interview according to their time zone and provide clarity to the candidate about what they should come prepared for and how long it will take. Schedule the interview well in advance and use the Freshteam interview scheduling tool to streamline the process
Apart from technical questions, ask questions that will help measure the candidate’s behavioral traits and see if they fit your organization’s culture, as well as if they are suitable for a remote position—Questions like:
‘How do you handle distractions at home?’,
‘How self-motivated are you and what was a proactive initiative that you have taken at work before?’,
and ‘How do you maintain work-life balance?’
If the candidate has fared well in the previous rounds, schedule one last round of interviews with the team to observe how well they get along with them. This is a good way to shortlist better-suited candidates for each team.
Use video conferencing tools like Zoom, Skype, Hangouts, etc as much as possible for interviews to establish a better understanding and rapport
How and when do you notify selected candidates? While hiring remote workers, it’s important to let the selected ones know as soon as possible to create the best experience—within 24-48 hours is ideal. The easiest way to notify the candidates is through email which can verify the feedback from the rounds of interviews as well as a feedback form for the candidates to fill out about their experience with the company. Thank the candidate for their time, congratulate them for getting the job, ask them to verbally confirm within 48 hours, and mention other details discussed during the interview. Some well-established companies also use telephonic calls to notify that the candidate has successfully cleared all the rounds.
While it’s important to notify selected candidates ASAP, it’s also good to notify candidates that have been rejected—this will encourage them to recommend the company to others as well as apply again at a future date.
How do you manage offer letters for remote workers? Once you get to know the candidate’s preferred start date, compensation, and other benefits, it’s time to send out the official offer letter. Companies that delay this stage often lose good candidates to other companies and competitors. It’s ideal to roll out the offer letter within 3-4 days from the date of the final evaluation.
Get all the offer documents legally verified and ensure that all compliance guidelines are followed. Collect electronic signatures for quicker and easier processing while hiring remote workers. With an offer management software like Freshteam, it’s possible to pre-upload multiple templates of offer letters, set up approval workflows, and track all your offers easily.
Following up while hiring remote workers after the offer letter might seem unsavory—but if a candidate has multiple offers, they would rather pick a company that looks like it really needs/wants the candidate to join. Finding good candidates is hard, and it never hurts to go the extra mile to seal the deal. So, if you don’t hear back, follow up at least thrice before giving up on the candidate and mention how excited you would be to have them on board. Virtual recruiting tools like Freshteam also help analyze common reasons for which candidates might reject your offers—this helps you change certain policies to ensure smooth remote hiring.
While this is a step that is skipped by some companies based on their own impression of the candidate, it's extremely important to perform thorough background checks while hiring remote workers. Hiring the wrong candidates can be very expensive in terms of training and replacements. Evaluate the candidate quickly yet thoroughly, and don’t skip the reference and background screening no matter how much of a hurry you’re in. Verify their education records, previous employment history, and other requirements as per your organization’s legal policy.
Self-motivated and proactive
How motivated and productive are they when they’re not at the office? This is an extremely important quality that your remote hire must possess
Ownership of tasks
Do they give up when there’s no colleague to offer advice? How well does your remote candidate work and find solutions independently?
A cohesive team is more important in the case of remote work—and the team conversation during your interview process will tell you how collaborative your remote candidate is
It’s easy to follow a work schedule of convenience while working remotely, but if that doesn’t fit your team, is the candidate good with their time management?
Custom careers site
A good remote hiring software will help you create a customizable careers page that suits all your business requirements to attract the right candidates
Post to multiple job boards
Remote hiring software lets you post to multiple job boards at the same time from a single platform. It also helps you focus on the job boards that give you the best candidates
Automatic resume screening
Automatically reject resumes that don’t fit your requirements and focus more attention on the suitable candidates right from the start with a remote hiring software
Manage interviews without hassle
A good remote hiring software enables you to schedule interviews across time zones with multiple teams and candidates, collaborate with the hiring managers, and gather feedback seamlessly
Roll out offer letters automatically
Automate hiring workflows for each stage and roll out your offer letters on time. Your remote hiring software helps close the deal with the best candidates effortlessly
Conduct thorough reference checks
Evaluate your candidates thoroughly and quickly with the remote hiring software so you don’t hire candidates that might be unsuitable for your startup
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