Remote work is rising more rapidly than ever. In a special analysis performed by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics between 2005 and 2017, there was a 159% increase in remote work. By 2019 there were 4.7 million people in the U.S. working remotely.
Stay at home orders in early 2020 pushed virtual recruitment to spike inevitably higher. Now, the trend has a more permanent outlook. Approximately 75 million U.S. employees (82%) say they want to continue working from home, at least weekly, when stay at home orders are lifted, according to a June 2020 Global Workplace Analytics report.
Similarly, because remote work has opened up previously unavailable talent pools to hiring teams, 64% of hiring managers in Cielo’s 2020 The Future of Work Survey are now more willing to consider remote workers. Another 94% expect remote work to become a key feature of workforces moving forward.
The virtual recruitment revolution is moving full-speed ahead. As always, it’s your goal to find the best-fitting talent. Remote working opportunities split your opportunity to find new and quality talent wide open.
Even better, recruiting and hiring remote workers may not be as complicated as you think. Over half of hiring respondents in the Cielo survey (59%) believe technology and remote working will lead to more streamlined and effective recruitment.
Whether you’re in the start-up space looking to hire a fully-virtual team to reduce overhead costs or are an established company hoping to expand candidate options or even simply increase employee satisfaction, remote recruitment is the way to go. Here are the five top tips to help you effectively recruit remote workers:
1. Know What You’re Looking For
Remote hiring creates a seemingly never-ending talent pool. As a result, you can’t cast a wide net, hoping you realize the right person when you see them.
Instead, you must know exactly what you’re looking for in candidate abilities, traits, and experiences. Do you need a graphic designer with specific skills or expertise in a unique industry? Are you looking for a self-motivated team player or someone who excels independently?
Understanding and effectively communicating these specifics in a job description isn’t just crucial for your team’s evaluation procedures. It also ensures there are no misunderstandings in expectations, limiting the number of unqualified applicants you receive.
Unfortunately, this lack of information is incredibly common, and many ill-fitting candidates move into new hire status. According to Monster’s 2019 State of the Candidate Survey, three-quarters (75%) of Americans have had a job where they didn’t feel they were a good fit.
Sit down with your team to discuss what an ideal virtual employee looks like for each open role. Create an exhaustive list of the perfect candidate, including:
- Required skills
- Skills that aren’t required, but would help them immediately succeed
- Personality traits (you can gauge this by considering the qualities of those already successful in this type of role)
- Previous experiences that helped others in this role excel
While focusing on remote employee must-haves, don’t forget to highlight company culture. Maintaining an authentic company culture can be challenging when your team is scattered.
By making culture one of the core topics in your job description, you’ll improve the chances of attracting and identifying candidates who align with both the role and the company.
2. Utilize Social Media
Social media started with the purpose of helping people keep in touch. It has since evolved into multiple massive platforms where people network, read the news, join movements for change, date, and connect with loved ones and strangers. Over recent years, finding new job opportunities has also joined the list.
In January 2020, Datareportal’s Digital 2020: Global Digital Overview report revealed active social media users passed the 3.8 billion mark. The increase last year alone was by more than 9% (321 million new users).
Recruiters typically use social media in two main ways when searching for remote candidates:
- To market job opportunities to candidates
- To assess candidates based on their social media presence
In a 2017 CareerArc study, job seekers ranked social and professional networks as the most useful job search resource compared to job boards, job ads, employee referrals, recruiting agencies, and recruiting events.
Use social media to promote your company’s brand by sharing employee testimonials, showcasing essential ways the company is making a social difference, and directly share job opportunities to catch both active and passive candidates’ attention.
Use social media as a virtual recruitment evaluation resource. It allows you to evaluate candidates already in your pipeline and those who are a potential fit.
Here are a few smart ways to utilize social media to find great virtual talent:
Judge professionalism: Job seekers using social media give indications of their level of professionalism. You need candidates who will be able to conduct themselves with dignity, especially on public social media channels. Look at how candidates choose to present themselves to consider how well they’d mesh with your company culture and current employees.
Evaluate industry knowledge: Many people use social media to network with people in similar industries and roles. Look for candidates sharing articles related to industry trends, thought leadership in their position, and other posts signifying their passion for an industry.
Be active in online discussions: Don’t be a passive social media observer. Remember, social media isn’t just to evaluate candidates — it’s there for you to connect on a more personal level. Add to discussion groups, share relevant and helpful content, and even participate in industry-specific chats to engage with candidates and build connections.
3. Connect in a Video Interview
Video interviewing allows you to connect with candidates in a face-to-face setting during virtual recruitment. Without the added hassle of scheduling in-person interviews or costly travel expenses, you can understand their communication skills, personality, job fit, and motivations.
According to Cielo’s Future of Work Survey, 59% of respondents are embracing video interviews. Thanks to video interviews, the majority (65%) have extended offers without meeting a candidate in person, and 67% say they even start managing remotely with a virtual onboarding program.
Recruiters embrace video interviews because they decrease interview costs while increasing convenience for both candidates and interviewers.
For instance, one-way video interviews allow candidates to answer your questions with short, recorded videos, which can be reviewed at any time. If you immediately know someone isn’t the right fit, you can move on to the next candidate without being stuck on the phone in a preliminary telephone screen.
Since virtual employees won’t be in the office every day, it can feel challenging to get an authentic feel for their qualifications and personality. Video interviews offer you the face-to-face interactions you need to accurately assess candidates without the travel for an in-person interview. Plus, video interviewing shows candidates your company embraces technology and forward-thinking — which is necessary when hiring virtual superstars.
4. Ask the right questions
It’s important to ask the right questions in the virtual recruitment process to ensure you find the best talent. This means diving deep into any virtual worker’s three most important qualities: skills, personality, and cultural fit.
Skill-based questions and tests: Remote employees can’t train side-by-side with current employees. While it’s still crucial you implement effective virtual onboarding, you also want to ensure employees enter employment with the skills needed to succeed.
Ask questions about a candidate’s specific and concrete abilities. For example:
- How did your education and previous work experiences prepare you for this role?
- How do you handle breaks in routine, interruptions, and last-minute changes?
- Give me an example of a time you went above and beyond in your job.
Also, use skills assessments to evaluate specific hard and soft skills to ensure the candidate’s list of skills matches your needs.
Behavioral questions: You need self-directed and self-motivated candidates who keep themselves on track while working remotely. Ask candidates about times they have worked solo and times they have worked as part of a team. Ask what their proudest career accomplishment was, and listen carefully to the answers. Open-ended and behavioral questions can tell you what you need to know about a candidate’s personality and career passion.
- Tell me about a time you worked with someone whose work style and personality were different from yours.
- How did you get through a time when you were under a lot of pressure?
- Tell me about a time you had to be very strategic with your time. How did you stay on track?
Cultural questions: Don’t make the mistake of thinking cultural fit isn’t necessary because your candidate won’t walk into the office every morning. Company culture fit might be even more critical in a virtual setting, where motivation and engagement are needed to get the job done. Ask candidates about their ideal work environment, how they work as part of a team, and why they want to work at the company. If their work styles and values align with the company culture, it will increase employee retention.
5. Always check references
Candidates aren’t always honest — and they’re admitting it. In a March 2020 survey performed by The Ladders, 30% of job seekers admitted to lying or “bending the truth” on their resumes.
Of course, with the right research, recruiters eventually discover which candidates aren’t truthful. In fact, a March 2019 global survey performed by Accountemps, a Robert Half company, one in three recruitment professionals said they removed candidates from consideration following a reference check.
Ask former employers as much as you can about the candidate in question to find out more about their personality and working style. Not every organization will be able to give you a full run-down of the person’s time at the company. Still, most will share performance review information, if the employee performed well independently, and the type of leadership style they excel in.
Listen carefully to everything said about the candidate and make sure to read between the lines. Former employers might be telling you valuable information, even if they can’t explicitly state they advise you to work with the candidate.
New technology makes virtual recruitment easy and accessible. Using tech tools like mobile recruiting, social media, and video interviews, you can attract highly-trained remote talent, while never compromising a personal connection.