A large portion of a business’s success is attributed to onboarding the right candidates at the right time. With that said, hiring remote employees can benefit your organization because they bring in skills that are scarce in your city. Pretty soon, remote working will become the norm.
However, hiring high-quality talent and virtual onboarding can be challenging, stressful, and confusing. If you plan to expand your team by acquiring remote workers, follow this guide.
Acquiring vs Recruiting Talent - What’s the Difference?
Although both terms are used interchangeably (we even do it in this article), they don’t mean the same thing. Recruitment happens when an employer needs to fill in a position right away, but talent acquisition requires long-term planning, relationship building, and skill growth.
The Great Resignation has made recruitment that gold standard, but it hasn’t solved the problem. Employees are still job-hopping, leading to a high turnover rate and high costs.
For your talent acquisition strategy to work, you’ll need a great employer brand, a way to fill your talent pipeline, and a policy that seeks to maintain candidate relationships, not cut them off. In the next sections, we’ll show you how to do all of that and more with the right tools.
Hiring and Onboarding Tools You’ll Need in the Next Steps
Having the right tools in place when acquiring new talent can help reduce the risk of mishiring, turnover, and bad employer branding. Here are the tools you absolutely need for recruitment.
For Sourcing Remote Candidates
Software like Nixa.io, Remotive.io, and RemoteOK.io are remote job platforms that allow you to search for qualified remote employees. With millions of workers on these platforms, you’re sure to find someone.
For Assessing Remote Candidates
Imocha, HackerRank, and BerkeAssessment are platforms with several remote skill tests available. GoodHire is a pre-employment background screening company that can integrate with your ATS and other tools.
For Talent Operations
iSmartRecruit is an applicant tracking software that scans resumes to decrease time spent in the recruitment process. Beamery is a talent operating system meant to attract, engage, and retain talent, which improves your hiring process.
ScreenhingHive allows you to view recorded interviews and compare them. Jobma screens candidates by letting you share interview questions candidates can answer in their own time. HireVue helps candidates self-schedule their interviews.
Managing Remote Teams
With remote work being part of the new normal, company managers need an efficient way to communicate workflow processes with remote employees. In that regard, Visme offers a comprehensive platform to create an employee handbook, which can be easily customized and updated.
For Assessing Culture Fit
Human employs AI to help remove bias from the hiring process that may occur from cultural differences. Saberr predicts how well candidates can fit into a role. ThriveMap identifies how candidates like to work.
Workday and Personio are HR and finance management software that helps you build better onboarding policies. Deel is a company designed for distributed teams that takes care of local compliance for remote employees.
For Recruitment From Start to Finish
Without software, you’re going to have a hard time connecting with remote talent. But there’s just one problem: how can you tell the difference between a good or great remote worker?
What Makes a Great Remote Employee?
At first glance, remote employees may seem identical to their in-office counterparts, but there are subtle differences you need to account for. Here’s what makes a great remote employee.
High Level of Productivity
Remote workers are more productive on average, but that doesn’t mean all of your candidates will meet their deadlines. Look for workers with a good track record of productivity or are highly motivated and trustworthy.
Great communication is the backbone of remote work. Remote candidates must be comfortable using communication tools like Zoom, Slack, Teams, and project management software. They also must show up to meetings on time.
Without organization skills, your remote workers won’t be able to manage their projects effectively. At the same time, their employers should set their employees up with a reliable, well-organized filing system, preferably cloud-based.
Remote workers can’t just “look busy,” they have to show up each and every day to make progress on their projects. Employers can truly focus on the skill and talent of an individual to ensure that they provide unique value to the company.
Goal setting improves worker performance by 12-15%. If your candidates can set solid objectives, you’ve just found an incredibly motivated worker. Employers can also set clear goals for their remote workers to help them thrive.
Adaptable and Flexible
Your remote employees need to be able to roll with the punches, take criticism with a grain of salt, and learn on the fly. In other words, your candidates must adapt to new tech, methods, and processes quickly.
Now that you know what you’re looking for, you can start the talent acquisition process.
How to Attract, Hire, and Onboard the Right Remote Employees
Finding the best remote employees isn’t a numbers game; it’s about creating a deliberate acquisition strategy. Here’s how you can find the right remote employees for your business.
Step 1 - Build a Strong Employer Brand
Local candidates are easier to reach. They've probably heard about your brand and company, and they may even know your employees and interviewing process. But your remote candidates won’t know a thing about you, which means they’ll rely on your online/digital presence.
For this reason, your brand should illustrate that you’re trustworthy, transparent, flexible, and accommodating. To do this, put the following information on your career pages:
How and When You Work
Remote employees prefer to make their own schedule, but if they have specific obligations (meetings) where they must appear at a certain time, describe them in detail. Give your employees a glimpse of a typical workday.
Unless your employees are working directly with the CEO, they aren’t going to care how their employer feels about the company. Ask your other remote employees to make a testimonial instead, as it feels more authentic.
Live Your Company Culture
It’s vital to be open about your company culture, but you also have to live it. If you promote diversity, but your content only shows pictures of white men, they aren’t going to believe you. Promote your culture everywhere at all times.
If your company has in-person meetings for local or international staff members, show them off. Be clear that off-site trips aren’t mandatory (if they aren’t), or you could add off-site all-expenses-paid trips as one of the perks of the job.
Creating a great employer brand is the hardest part of talent acquisition, but it’s unlikely that offers will roll in based on your company culture alone. You’ll still need to advertise.
We already gave you a few great sites like RemoteOK.io, but there are several others you can try. FlexJobs, We Work Remotely, and Working Nomads are also great sites. For social media, try Work From and Nomad List on Slack or Digital Nomad Jobs on Facebook.
Step 2 - Offer Fair Compensation and Benefits
By offering fair compensation and benefits, you won’t just attract employees; you’ll also retain them. Remember that fair compensation is dependent on a person’s location, so if your remote worker lives in an area with a high cost of living, it’s only fair to offer them more money.
Benefits like professional development, vacation plans, health and life insurance, and memberships to coworking spaces are universally loved by remote workers. Perks, like a home office stipend, are often sought after by employees who have recently switched to remote work.
Step 3 - Seek Experience, Soft Skills, and Recorded Videos
If you’re using ATS software (and you should, because remote positions receive more applications), you may be tempted to focus only on experience and employment length.
While experience is crucial, soft skills are often a better indicator of performance because your candidates may work on a contract basis. Freelancers are used to hopping around a lot, and it isn’t an indicator of poor work ethic. But, how can you assess soft skills at the applicant stage?
Employers can ask for a recorded video that includes a short introduction and a few other details. Not only will the video show off soft skills like organization (messy vs organized workstation) and communication, but it also highlights the serious applicants.
Step 4 - Ask For Referrals (Especially for Portfolio Applicants)
Remember that your remote employees often work freelance, so you need to judge your applicants based on quality, not quantity. Ask for referrals from your applicant’s previous clients. If they enjoyed working with you candidates, that’s a good sign they’re quality workers.
Step 5 - Host a Virtual Interview With Small Talk
When hiring remote employees, video and phone interviews will be your primary communication channels. It’s also important to use assessment tools, like Imocha and HackerRank, to evaluate the candidates’ skills. These tests will help you make more objective hiring decisions.
You should use interview and culture fit tools during this process, but the actual interview should take place on video conferencing software in real-time. Platforms like Zoom allow you to assess tone, body language, and eye contact without needing to be in the same room, city, or country.
Step 6 - Hire and Train Employees in Groups
One of the most efficient ways to hire and train employees is in groups. A group hire can add healthy competition, cross-training opportunities, and reduced costs. If you’re only hiring one remote employee at the moment, consider waiting for another hire to save time and money.
Step 7 - Set Clear Guidelines and Policies for Remote Work
A common mistake employers make is not setting clear expectations for their remote workers. Your new employees may understand what their deadlines are, but if they aren’t sure how to deliver their work or what “complete work” looks like to you, they won’t give you what you want.
Even if you made an outline of the scope of their employment (work hours, process, response time, culture, etc.) during the acquiring and interviewing process, they’ll need a refresher. Your candidate has likely been through a series of interviews and tests, and they may mix you up.
Step 8 - Build a Long-Lasting Work Relationship
The in-person element is completely removed from a remote work environment, which may make it challenging for you to build a long-lasting work relationship with your employees. With communication tools like Slack, you can still develop solid relationships with your colleagues.
Summary of Remote Talent Acquisition
Remote talent acquisition can be challenging and confusing, but you can make sense of it by using tools, the right platforms, and branding strategy. This guide will help you do all of that and more.