Did you know that nearly half of all workers spent at least some time working from home in 2017 according to a Gallup survey? Partial remote work has continually become an increasingly popular option, but full-time remote work is also growing at breakneck speed.
We all know the benefits of remote work. Companies save money on overhead and benefits, while workers enjoy the increase in freedom. Most companies have tried taking advantage of remote work in some form. However, what to look for and how to go about evaluating candidates still causes problems for many companies.
Evaluating remote workers is not the same as hiring for a traditional in-office position. If you’re planning on hiring employees for remote positions, there is a different skill set that you need to look for. Additionally, there are different considerations during the interview process.
As you begin the process of evaluating candidates for your remote position, take these tips into account to find better candidates that contribute more and stick around for longer periods of time:
Communication is a Remote Workers Greatest Asset
In managing remote teams, there are few assets more critical for your remote employees to possess than communication skills. Remote communication differs quite a bit from in-office communication. It relies heavily on an employee’s taking the initiative and using the available technology to stay in contact with their teams.
Although they work from home (and have to be comfortable with that), being outgoing is still a really great quality in remote teams. You need someone that is willing to reach out to others, even if they have not been formally introduced. Often, remote managers won’t have ways to involve remote workers in the company culture in the same way that you would a traditional in-office employee, so it is important that they are able to take initiative.
A History of Freelancing or Self-Driven Remote Work
Working from home (or co-working spaces) is not for everyone. It takes a lot of fortitude to stay motivated while working long stretches of time alone with mostly text communication with other members of your team. Employees that have a history of freelancing or self-driven remote work are ideal candidates for remote positions because you already know that they can handle the style of working and have experience using the communication tech that will be required for remote workers.
The more experience that they have working remotely, the more seamless the transition will be for them. Although you should not rule it out entirely, hiring someone into a remote position that has never worked in a remote position previously presents a high likelihood of a bad fit that is hard to detect before they begin working in the position. For that reason, you should really consider our next tip.
Institute a Trial Period for Evaluation
Remote positions have a high rate of failure. Evaluating candidates for these positions can be difficult. They have to possess a unique mindset and skill set to make them the ideal candidate for a remote position. Those that have never worked remotely before may apply to the job, only to find that working remotely isn’t all it was cracked up to be in their mind.
Start by instituting a trial period for all new remote positions. Many companies use a 30-day trial period as a simple but effective way to give all new hires a chance without making a full commitment. This is great for the employees too, who get a chance to try the role without making a long-term commitment. A trial period can help to reduce risk and make sure that both parties see the opportunity as a good fit.
Have Your Interview Technology In Place and Tested Early
This should go without saying, but make sure that your remote interview tools is in place and tested thoroughly before you start evaluating candidates. If you’re going to be conducting interviews through video conferencing software, test it out a few times internally to make sure you know how it works and that those that are being interviewed can reliably access the software.
You don’t want to get halfway through the interview process and find out that the solution you’ve been using is a bad fit. Plan the tech you’ll use early, so when the time comes you can focus on other aspects of the interview process.
Find Candidates that Don’t Need Babysitting
In remote positions, it’s important that your teams are self-reliant. They won’t have that constant motivation that they would in a traditional office role. They must be able to identify the tasks that need to be done and complete them on their own without a lot of interaction. Remote managers are there to help, but they can’t babysit a new remote hire in the way that an in-office hire would be. There just aren’t the same resources available. For that reason, self-reliance is one of the most important traits a remote worker can possess to facilitate a successful partnership.
Take Time-Zones into Consideration
A majority of your communication will take place during the business day in your own time-zone. If you don’t want your employees answering emails during off-work hours, you should try to hire remote workers that live in your time-zone or one that is close enough to it to not affect communication too drastically.
Hiring someone with all the skills that works across the globe means that they or your team will routinely be waiting 8+ hours for email responses. This certainly doesn’t help to facilitate an agile workplace environment. Consider how important speedy communication is to your team and hire people in time-zones that make sense for your company.
Hiring Remote Workers is Different
Hiring remote workers is quite a bit different than hiring employees in traditional office positions. There is a different skill set that they need to have to facilitate success. They must be communicative, driven, and self-reliant. If they have a lot of experience working remotely, you reduce the risk of them finding out they are not a good fit week or months down the road. Hiring remote workers can provide a lot of benefits to employers, but only if they are smart about the hiring process and have a solid understanding of what they are looking for.