The paradigm shift to hybrid work and remote work has left nearly every organization rebuilding a key piece of its structure – its culture. Offering a mix of on-site and remote work options has become the expectation of legacy employees and new hires alike, but trying to build a cohesive culture in a digital environment in trying times can lead to change fatigue, frustration, and apathy.
How to hire remote workers: 4 must-have tips
Cultivating an inclusive and thoughtful remote culture begins with hiring. Regardless of the role, the right candidate needs the necessary technical background and to fit into the culture you are creating. Of course, getting a sense of cultural fit can be challenging with virtual candidates. Here are four tips to help you hire the right people for your team when you can’t meet them face-to-face.
1. Invest in remote hiring pre-work and an interview guide
To maximize your chances of attracting the right candidates while hiring as efficiently as possible, it is important to invest time in the upfront work well ahead of your first interview.
A recent study by Harvard Business School and Accenture cautions hiring managers that their online job descriptions may be alienating a large number of qualified applicants. Be intentional when outlining the qualifications and expectations required of potential candidates. Don’t repurpose the same general ads for every role. Instead, make sure that you are only including the skills necessary to be successful in the job. An “everything and the kitchen sink” strategy to writing your ads means you risk overlooking a solid resume and missing out on a great hire.
As you move into the interview scheduling process, build in extra time to account for technical difficulties and delays – trust me, there will be many. Even for the most tech-savvy roles, variables outside of your control can slow down the process. Building in extra time to accommodate the challenges that come when you hold remote interviews ensures that neither you nor your candidate is flustered, and you can give your full attention to discussing the opportunity at hand.
It can also be helpful to prepare a digital interview guide for each of your candidates that details how the interview will be held, what programs need to be set up in advance, and what to do when things go wrong. Being over-prepared to handle whatever technology challenges occur will help you put your best foot forward.
[ Want a primer on hybrid work? Read What is a hybrid work model? Read also: Hybrid work: 4 best practices for fairness. ]
2. Foster transparency with remote workers from the start
Transparency is central to a successful virtual work environment. It comes into play in the ways that leaders disseminate information, your employees talk about your company’s mission and vision, and your teams communicate and collaborate with each other.
Fostering transparency leads to greater employee buy-in and less friction and it, too, begins at the interview stage. As you interview, give as much information as you can about your hiring timeline and salary range, and offer feedback when you can.
This strategy improves your relationship with candidates in two areas. First, you lead by example and show candidates that your organization values transparency. By laying one of your values on the table, you invite candidates to do the same. Second, you establish trust right out of the gate, which allows your new hires to be confident that you were diligent in your recruiting process, and they can be confident in their new position matching your job description.
As you interview, give as much information as you can about your hiring timeline and salary range, and offer feedback when you can.
3. Provide as much information as possible before the interview
It’s a waste of everyone’s time when candidates show up to interviews unprepared or confused about logistics. To avoid these common pitfalls, arm your candidates with the resources they need to succeed in your interview process. Prior to the switch to virtual, candidates often had the opportunity to connect with recruiters at information sessions and career fairs to learn more about what to expect during your company’s hiring process. By providing this information online, you level the playing field and can evaluate candidates based on skills and fit alone – without worrying whether or not everyone has come prepared.
Consider posting a frequently asked questions landing page to your website that addresses the length of your hiring process, how many rounds of interviews you will host, and what is expected of your application, etc. Especially if you are hiring for multiple positions at once, an FAQ page reduces the time recruiters spend answering individual emails, allowing teams to focus their attention elsewhere.
4. Integrate tech assessment into the remote interview process
The ability to evaluate candidates’ hard skills is especially important when filling highly competitive technology roles such as developers and data scientists. With in-person interviews, these assessments may be more spur of the moment and an offshoot of the conversation and done on a whiteboard or even a piece of paper.
When you can’t sit down with a potential candidate, it is important to be able to assess their experience, whether it’s writing code, tackling a challenging math problem, or completing a case study. Having this baked into the interview agenda and having the right platforms for remote pair programming and other assessments will help you find the best fit based on skills and ensure the best interview experience. In fact, according to the 2021 HackerEarth developer survey, 40 percent of working developers prefer to be interviewed on a platform with video and remote editing tools.
A thoughtful approach to virtual hiring at every step in the process, from ad writing through offer letters, can help you build a culture you’re proud of, made up of talented people who inspire confidence.
[ Get exercises and approaches that make disparate teams stronger. Read the digital transformation ebook: Transformation Takes Practice. ]
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