Want to open your hiring up to the largest network of job candidates? Hire remote workers. While this was once a trendy perk, it’s now become a recruitment prerequisite.
97% of modern-day workers want some level of remote capacity, and 58% of respondents to a FlexJobs survey said they’d quit their current job if remote work were no longer an option. Another 24% of workers revealed they’d take a 10-20% pay cut for a remote gig.
To say there’s an appetite for remote work would be a gross understatement.
However, learning how to hire remote workers isn’t necessarily intuitive. To assemble a top-notch team, you’ll need to switch up your processes and even change your ideal candidate criteria. It’ll take a bit of upfront investment, but you’ll get the hang of it in no time—with our help, of course.
This short-and-sweet guide will walk you through everything you need to know to learn how to hire remote workers in 2022. We’ll start with the top qualities your candidates should possess, and then we’ll cover how to narrow down your options. Finally, we’ll get into how to create a well-written remote job post and best practices to follow during the hiring process.
Ready to hire the industry’s best remote workers? Let’s jump right in.
3 Must-Have Qualities of Grade-A Remote Employees
Not every candidate is suited for a remote position. While the pandemic forced most businesses into a work-from-home world, many offices across the country are reopening—and a share of employees just aren’t cut out for remote work.
It’s nothing personal. That’s just the way it is.
Some employees feed off the energy of in-person collaboration, and others don’t have the gumption to function at top performance from the cozy comfort of their PJs and couch.
However, others thrive in the work-from-home atmosphere. They love the newfound work-life balance, see a massive boost in productivity, and often tend to stay at their jobs longer. Those are the kinds of employees you want on your remote team.
Here are the qualities to look for in a first-class remote worker:
Remote workers need to know how to work on their own. They won’t always have someone to hold their hand and tell them exactly what to do. Once they complete a task, they need to know how to find what to do next rather than waiting on you to micro-manage them.
Autonomous employees discover problems and (more importantly) provide solutions without you asking. They don’t need to wait for their weekly 1:1 to report on their progress, and they’ll be quick to come to you if an insurmountable obstacle is keeping them from finishing a project.
Don’t hire a remote worker you can’t trust. You won’t be able to monitor them (nor should you), and the mystery of what they’re up to will keep you up at night.
However, this is a double-sided trait—you also need to possess the ability to trust. And you also need to figure out which battles to fight.
Does it matter if your employee sleeps in on Fridays when they’re out-performing the rest of the team? Should you care if they take a 2-hour lunch break when they’ve never missed a deadline?
They don’t need to be a bonafide extrovert (or anything close to that), but your remote workers do need to know how to communicate effectively. This includes the ability to write concise emails and Slack messages, and it also involves articulating ideas in meetings.
Always double-guessing an employee’s tone, intent, or meaning will drive you crazy. And if you don’t know what they’re trying to get across without a dozen follow-up emails, you’ll waste valuable time.
Use the recruitment period to gauge their communication skills. Don’t just ask for examples in your interview—analyze the email conversations and LinkedIn messages. You’ll be able to pick up on this quality relatively quickly.
What Do You Want Your Remote Team to Look Like?
Hiring remote workers doesn’t mean you throw caution to the wind and hire anyone from anywhere—there are still a handful of factors to consider.
For example, are you hiring a single London-based employee when the rest of your remote team is located in New York City? While the team is all technically remote, that will cause some unneeded logistical difficulties.
Here are factors to consider when building out your remote team:
- Time Zones: If your team needs to collaborate frequently, it’s going to be hard to do that if the time zones get in the way. However, if real-time collaboration isn’t a priority, time zones won’t be too much of an issue.
- Diversity: Don’t forget diversity when hiring a remote team. You still need varying ages, genders, beliefs, behaviors, backgrounds, and ideologies to create a well-balanced team—not just a handful of in-office employees mixed with a few remote workers. That’s not diversity.
- Remote Duration: Is this position fully remote, or do you expect employees to come into the office every once in a while? Some companies adopt hybrid work-from-home policies that expect employees to come into the office at least once a week—is that what you’re thinking?
Filter Your Candidates with a Well-Written Job Post
Right off the bat, make your life easier by taking the time to craft a well-written remote job post. You don’t want the wrong type of candidates eating up your recruiters’ (or your) valuable time.
What makes a good remote job post?
Start with the right expectations. Will this be a fully remote position, or will it be partially in the office? If it’s fully remote, how often do you expect the team to get together in person? Do you anticipate this position always being remote-friendly, or will it eventually return to being in office?
You’ll also need to tailor your job description to remote employees. Boasting about your catered lunches, gym, ping pong table, and snack selection won’t impress a remote employee—if anything, it’ll probably give them FOMO (fear of missing out) out the wazoo.
Sell your company to remote employees. What perks will entice them? Think beyond benefits like PTO, sick leave, healthcare, and 401(k) plans—they’d get that anyways. What do they specifically get as a remote worker?
Consider perks like flexible work schedules, work-from-home office stipends, travel budget to visit the team, wellness programs, remote-friendly software tools, and occasional SWAG box deliveries.
Now that’s starting to look like a compelling remote job post.
How to Hire Remote Workers: 7 Best Practices
You know what candidates to look for and how to write a job post—now, it’s time to learn how to hire remote workers. Below, we’ll walk you through a few best practices to help you find, attract, and win the best remote employees.
1. Hire Your Remote Worker Remotely
This might sound like a given, but we’ve heard of plenty of businesses that make remote employees jump through the same hoops as in-office employees. If you’re hiring a worker for a remote position, you don’t need to fly them across the country to interview them in person—nor should they make the journey for a 5-day onboarding session.
Respect why your employees might be remote. They might be a parent, or they might be trying to save money. They’re going to be a remote employee, so give them the remote treatment from the get-go.
2. Roll Out the (Virtual) Red Carpet
Many new remote employees start their new job in silence and confusion. They receive a vague email from an onboarding person in HR, and the manager might make a brief introduction, and…that’s it.
Welcome your new remote employees to the team (and business) just as you would with in-office workers. Introduce them via email, Slack, or video to everyone they need to know. Have a swag bag shipped and sitting on their doorstep to open on the first day of work.
Ensure their hardware and software are installed, up-to-date, and ready to go. Nothing kills enthusiasm quite like not being able to do your job during your first week, especially remote.
3. Use Hiring Tools to Streamline the Process
Create a connected journey for your potential new remote hire. A recruitment message from LinkedIn followed by a quick phone call with a 30-minute Zoom meeting tacked on later can be a disjointing experience.
Provide your candidate with upfront expectations and overcommunication—you don’t want them lying in bed wondering if you forgot about them. Keep them up-to-date on the entire process with regular emails. Use applications like TalentWall or Greenhouse to make tracking, collaboration, and communication seamless.
That or a really sophisticated set of IFTTT recipes.
4. Ask the Right Questions
“What are your biggest weaknesses?” might not be quite as revealing as “How do you stay engaged and inspired when working from your home office?”
Consider what questions you might ask a remote employee to learn if they have the qualities we outlined earlier. Here are a few examples of remote hiring questions you can use for inspiration:
- How long have you been working remotely?
- What made you want to pursue a remote job instead of an in-office job?
- What are your favorite tools to use for remote team collaboration?
- What’s your communication style when working digitally?
- What challenges will you face working from home?
5. Check Remote References
If the job candidate reports having remote-working experience, ask for references that might have worked with them in this capacity. This could be a manager, teammate, or colleague.
A conversation with one of these individuals will be more insightful than a chat with a manager they had in an in-office situation 3 years ago. Ask the reference what working with this person is like. If they can’t tell you very much about the candidate, your potential remote employee might not have the autonomy or communication skills we mentioned earlier.
6. Watch for Red Flags
How long does it take for your candidate to respond to emails or voicemails? Did they struggle to join the introductory meeting or blunder their way through turning on their audio or video? What’s their internet connection like?
None of these indicators are reason alone for dismissing a potential candidate, but they are red flags to keep in mind. While these might not be tell-tale signs, they could indicate weaknesses not ideal for remote workers.
7. Build a Remote-First Culture
If you’re going to hire remote workers on your team, you need to create a culture that enables them to thrive. Imagine if they join a Zoom meeting and notice Jesse James is missing—”Oh, she quit last week. Didn’t you hear?”
A remote-first culture doesn’t punish employees for not being in the office. It recognizes the pros and cons of work-from-home situations and does everything in its capacity to empower remote workers. In this example, a simple email or Slack message from the manager explaining the situation would feel more inclusive rather than letting your remote employee be the last to know.
Get Your Remote Team Up to Speed
Sometimes, you might find the nearly perfect candidate, but they’re lacking a teeny-tiny bit of know-how. Don’t cut them from your hiring pool just yet—they could likely learn everything they need to know to get up to speed with a quick (and free) class.
We have a full catalog of exclusive trainings to teach your workforce the basics of whatever they need to know. Content marketing, check. Copywriting, check. Facebook Ads, check.
Enroll your team members today to get started. Oh, and did we mention it’s free?