Whether you’re considering recruiting remote workers or planning to have everyone back under one roof, if you’re going to be hiring over the coming months you’ll need to do so remotely.
Hiring remotely is not simply a matter of speaking to someone over a video call instead of a face to face meeting. If you’re going to get it right, it’s going to take some planning and preparation.
Right now, anyone looking for a job is likely to be facing a period of remote working. Depending on their skill set, your ideal hire could even be considering roles in other countries, so you need to ensure you write engaging adverts that paint a true picture of what it is like working for your company.
As well as being clear on stating what the expectations for the role are, spend time talking about the company’s culture, values and what your mission is. Why would someone choose your job over your competitors? The easiest way to do this is simply to ask your team. Why did they choose your role when they were job hunting? What first attracted them to your business and was it the same things that made them stay? Then when you have that information, make sure it comes across in your adverts and presence on social media.
Not every business has an Instagram account and perhaps it’s not the right fit for yours, but whatever social media platform you use, it should feature some of your team’s stories and how they feel about their jobs.
Most managers who’ve interviewed staff have done phone interviews before, but they’re usually an initial screening before you draw up a shortlist of candidates to bring into the office to meet. With remote hiring, you want to be stepping away from the phone as soon as possible and embracing video interviews. The difference when it comes to rapport building is huge and you can see whether someone is engaged with the process or not just as easily as in person.
However, for a lot of managers, this could be a new skill set that needs to be developed. Besides the early lockdown teething problems of people getting their camera angles wrong, make sure that your interviews still follow a format and be prepared for tech failure. If you have trouble launching Zoom can you jump onto Hangouts instead? Or if your camera freezes can you switch to a phone call quickly?
If the role itself is based remotely, you also need to be testing a candidate’s ability to perform the job well. Do they possess the discipline to work autonomously at times and if not, what type of support are they used to having? Are your team set up to support each other remotely with remote working tools such as Zoom, Teams and Slack?
Think about your style of questioning too and whether they highlight how well a candidate will cope with remote working. Are you using situational based interview questions? Can you give them a task to complete that they then share with the team they’ll be joining?
If people can’t visit your office and meet the team, they need to get a feel for your culture from your online presence and the interview process. Likewise, you need to understand whether they’ll fit with your team. If it’s not something you’ve thought about before, it’s important you to start cultivating a healthy remote culture.
Imagine that your competitors all have successful and happy remote teams, what does that look like and how do you achieve it? Can candidates find out what your company values are easily by visiting your website? What about work practices, is there an area of the website where employees can get a feel of what working for your business would be like on a day-to-day basis?
A simple step would be to involve your team in the interview process. Just as you might have “meet the team” as part of your ordinary office-based interviews, get them involved on video calls with the candidates you shortlist. As well as meeting the senior management of the business, set up group video calls with the people who will be their co-workers or assign someone the role of Onboarding Ambassador who can answer cultural questions and talk to candidates about what working life is at your business. Another easy way to do this is to use your social media presence and feature testimonials from your employees.
As well as attracting talent you want to ensure you’re retaining it, so your benefits and perks need to be competitive and in line with what candidates are looking for. We recently surveyed our database to find out what Benefits and Perks candidates will be looking for post-COVID19.
What we found that was in addition to the majority of respondents wanting flexible working arrangements and more freedom to manage their time, was the need for practical support from employers when it comes to remote working.
Have you thought about the equipment your team will be using remotely? Not just the laptops and internet security tools but how about the furniture that they spend their days at. If someone new joins you remotely, are they expected to buy their own desk and office chair or do you help with that?
Have you got good IT support in place for remote workers so they don’t have a frustrating first day on the job if they’re unable to get online or access your IT systems? Make sure all new email accounts and system log-ins are tested before a new joiner starts to guarantee a smooth onboarding.
Remote hiring is not something you need to be afraid of getting wrong or avoided until you’re back in the office, but it does require some planning and preparation. Once you’ve nailed it though, you’ll be in a position to secure talent quickly and efficiently without any unforeseen circumstances slowing you down.