When hiring in-person employees or remote employees, the requirements are necessarily the same; however, the bar may be higher with remote employees. Not only will the employee need to demonstrate the correct mix of skills, but this person also needs to show self-motivation, clear communication, technical ability, and resourcefulness.
So how do you tease out whether your candidate has these qualities using only online communications and video interviews? It’s challenging enough in person, right?
It can be done – and done well. We’ve been lucky enough to work with clients Nationwide and have been using online tools combined with our interview process successfully for a while; here are three essential tips:
Be clear on what you need
You’ll never find the right candidate if you don’t know what you want. Make sure you know which skills are must-haves and which are nice to haves. If every skill is equally important, then none of them are important; rank them, create a timeline for when you need the person on the team, and then hire the best candidate you can at that time.
It’s not only about hard skills, particularly now when tech is moving so fast. It’s challenging to find years’ experience in technology or tools that have just come into use. This is where soft skills are vital; people who are self-motivated, resourceful, can communicate well, and are tech-savvy are worth pursuing even if they are missing experience with a specific technology. Smart people can learn technology or tool, but it’s more difficult to train on grit and soft skills.
Create your interview and process and repeat
What’s best to begin with? A phone screen? A video call? A skills assessment? Or jump right into a full interview with the team?
It depends. How soon do you want to hire this person? What is most important to you and organization – culture and team fit, or are technical skills more important? How fast is the talent market moving right now? When you’ve answered these questions, you can discern whether you should start with screenings and assessments or start with a video call.
Once you decide on your assessment process, create a system, and be rigorous in your evaluation while including the right people. Make sure to map out the process for the candidates. Let them know how many steps and who they will meet.
Structure the interview around building trust
To be successful in remote work, you cannot micromanage employees. Employees need the correct tools and support to be successful, and you need to trust they will get the job done. You can build this trust and rapport in the interview process by asking questions such as: have you worked remotely before, and why was it successful? Have you worked with highly distributed teams or interacted with customers virtually?
Additionally, you can find out whether the person will be a personality fit by asking the behavioral questions that tie to the company attributes you value. If you need to have employees geared toward action, ask for examples. What can the candidate share about how they have handled past failure, success, and roadblocks. Since culture fit is a two-way street, enable the candidate to propose scenarios to see how your organization handles things as well; have a few examples of how your company expects employees to manage their workload and working as a team member. Once you move past these questions, you can begin to dig into technical expertise.
Look at the whole picture: The interview is essential, but it’s also important to rate the complete interaction, from sending the resume to following up after an interview or email interaction. Along the way, you will get a sense of the candidates’ communication style – this is important. The person who seems to understand what you are trying to do and what you need is who you want.
So, it looks like hiring a remote employee isn’t all that different. It requires that you know what you want, you have the right people interviewing and assessing the candidates, and that you pay careful attention to all of the communication during each interaction to get a real sense of communication style and culture fit for your team.
The next step is hiring and onboarding – stay tuned for more tips!