How To Recruit For A Remote Workforce

Posted on: in [ Business, Employee Retention, Hiring, Interviewing, Recruiting ]

How To Recruit For A Remote Workforce

Increasingly more companies are realizing the benefit of supporting, or even encouraging, a remote or flexible workforce. Flexible working times and locations are what employees want, even over unlimited PTO, HSAs, or dog-friendly offices. Having a remote workforce can lower overhead costs, commuting emissions, and increase employee engagement. 

This shift to off-site working presents a new and unique challenge to managers: how do you recruit for a workforce you will rarely see in person? We anticipated this shift nearly a decade ago and have been keeping along with the trend: Skywalk Group allows flex time/remote work for all our employees, as long as they remain productive and communicative. 

How do you hire for a workforce that may not be in your office, or even your state? We have several tips to keep in mind, wherever you may be in the hiring process.  

 

Keep A Consistent Policy 

Is every employee in your company able to work remotely? Are they able to do so part of the time, or every single day? Are there limitations on when and where employees can work? Do you require that they notify their manager in advance?  

Transitioning to a remote or partially remote workforce can be a disaster if done ad-hoc without proper preparation. Prior to making the change, clear and accessible policies need to be in place and available to everyone in the company. If your company has already started practicing remote work, it’s not too late to put rules or guidelines in place. Just keep in mind that they must be consistent – if one sales rep can work from home 2 days per week, then every member of the sales team must be given the same opportunity.  

It’s easier to hire for a remote position if you already have policies in place that outline how the role will be able to take advantage of that flexibility. The question of place/time flexibility is sure to come up during the interview process, and it’s best to be prepared.  

 

Know What You’re Looking For 

Hiring the right person for the job is always top priority, but is especially important when you won’t be in the same location as the potential employee. It may be more difficult to tell whether a new hire is successfully integrating when you don’t have that in-person face time. Knowing exactly what skills you are looking for can help prevent a potential underperformer.  

Is the candidate accustomed to the technology your team uses to communicate (such as Skype, Slack, or Zoom)? If not, do they have a history of quickly adopting unfamiliar technology to fall back on?  

Do they have a demonstrated history of the soft skills needed to communicate across a remote team? Empathy, patience, flexibility, and rock-solid communication skills are necessary for success across distributed teams – even if a team member is working from home only occasionally.  

Is the candidate able to work with multiple distractions and deadlines, without immediate supervision? Some people prefer to be managed closely, which is perfectly fine on the right team, but may not lend itself to productive and efficient remote work. Pay attention to how the interviewee discusses what management type they prefer and get real-world examples of how they’ve used their autonomy and multitasking skills in the past. 

 

Be Geographically Flexible 

It may not be necessary to keep your candidate search local if you’re transitioning to a more flexible workplace. You can radically increase your talent pool if you look outside your geographic area and entertain the idea of this team member visiting the home office location only sporadically.  

 

Have Clear Expectations 

You won’t be able to stop by your employee’s desk randomly to see how they are doing, what they are working on, or to check if they are browsing Amazon instead of being productive – and that’s a good thing. Micro-managing is stressful to both employees and their managers, and benefits no one. To keep a close, collaborative, and productive remote team you must trust that you have hired the right people for the job and that they are doing what they need to do. 

That’s not to say there should not be guidelines in place to hold employees accountable.  Similarly  to  keeping a good remote work policy, having clear expectations of what an employee’s role entails, what results and metrics they are expected to provide, and how they are to communicate with you (and the rest of the team) will set you both up for success. It’s much easier to measure productivity when there are concrete expectations in place.  

 

If done correctly a flexible workplace can benefit both employers and their employees. More engaged employees, lower operating costs, and higher productivity are just a few of the many benefits for companies that allow their staff to work remotely.  

With the available talent pool continually shrinking, it’s more important than ever that companies offer attractive benefits – and remote or flexible work is something nearly every employee wants. A huge percentage of currently employed professionals would consider leaving their current employment if a new position offered more flexibility in when and where they worked. If your company can make this change, and recruits using the considerations above, you have the opportunity to attract multitudes of extremely valuable talent into your organization.  

If you want to transition your company to a more flexible workplace, or if you need help recruiting the best candidates for the job, Skywalk Group offers both recruiting and human resource management (HRM) services. Contact us today to learn more!