Employers have more access than ever to global talent because of remote work and modern technology. But with this access comes increased competition. To get the best workforce possible, employers need to know how to recruit remote workers.
Almost 30% of all job postings in January 2023 were for remote jobs, and 87% of people looking to switch jobs are looking for hybrid or remote work, according to Robert Half research. Candidates want options, and they're willing to prioritize employers who'll let them work remotely.
Learn more about hiring remote workers in this competitive labor market.
Identify What You Want in Remote Candidates
Any recruitment process begins with defining the traits and skills you’re looking for in the job role. Remote hiring takes that a step further, because you also need to identify what a good candidate looks like if they live a few time zones away.
The good news is that there are a few different ways that you can go about creating a list of desired traits and skills to attract and recruit the candidates that'll be a valuable addition to your organization.
Look at Existing Remote Employees
If your organization already has remote workers, learn from them. What qualities help them be successful in their roles? Do those qualities differ from the skills and traits your successful on-site employees have? For instance, you might find that your top remote employees are self-starters with previous experience in remote or hybrid roles. Or you might discover that certain job roles are better suited for remote work — for example, customer support or sales.
Understanding your existing workforce informs your search for new talent. With these qualities and job-specific skills collected, apply them to your applicant tracking system (ATS) so you can look for these traits in remote job candidates.
Define the Qualities You Want
Every organization has certain qualities they want in their workforce, and these qualities are often tied to the mission and values. When you hire remote employees, account for the qualities and skills these hires need. How do they solve problems when they can’t walk over to a co-worker or interact with a client or customer face to face, for example?
Build a Strong Employer Brand
Your employer brand is the image of your company that job candidates see when they visit your website or social media profiles. A strong employer brand shows job candidates what you’re about and why people should want to work there. Building an employer brand doesn't happen overnight. It requires planning, intention and input from everyone in the organization.
Here are some ways to build and maintain a strong employer brand:
- Define your brand according to your mission and values.
- Identify and research your ideal employees to understand what they want in an employer
- Create content to communicate your brand, whether on your website, social media platforms or other places.
- Make sure your job listings specify an openness to remote work.
- Focus on building a strong company culture, as existing employees can be your most powerful referral source.
Optimize Your Sourcing, Assessments and Interviews
Remote hiring presents new opportunities for sourcing talent, assessing candidates and rethinking interviews as you look for the ideal candidate.
Here are three best practices that'll improve your hiring process, specifically during candidate sourcing, assessment and interviews
Locate Top Talent
Make sure job listings are posted not only on your website but also on leading job boards such as LinkedIn and Indeed. Millions of people use these sites as their primary search engine for their next role. Remote-first job boards, such as Remote.co, can also be a good place to find aligned candidates. Make sure your job descriptions include relevant terms, such as “work from home.”
As you look for talent outside your immediate geographic area, look to national conferences, trade shows and other social events to engage with potential job candidates across geographies. Remote work opens the possibility to connect with talent that you may have otherwise missed locally.
Even though you aren’t landlocked in who you can hire, setting up your business in multiple states can be time-consuming and subject you to new regulations. Consider looking for talent in places where your business is already registered to operate.
Assess Candidate Behaviors for Remote-First Traits
During the interview process, use behavior-based interview questions. Ask every candidate the same questions so you have apples-to-apples comparisons against your ideal candidate profile. This approach might include:
- Asking candidates to give an example of a time that a goal wasn’t reached and how they handled it.
- Asking candidates how they manage working on multiple projects.
- Asking candidates about how they'd handle disagreements with fellow team members.
Another way to assess candidates is by using validated assessments to identify strengths and weaknesses. Compare the results with your ideal candidate profile to find the best matches.
Simulate the Remote Work Environment
Give candidates a firsthand look into the technology and tools that are used in your company, especially if those technologies differ for remote workers.
This is especially helpful for the interview process. Use the same tools that the candidate would use to communicate and collaborate if hired. For example, if you regularly use Zoom internally, do so for video interviews.
For your finalist candidates, provide a test assignment that simulates their day-to-day work in the role. Whatever the assignment, tailor it so candidates know what to expect and you can see how they might respond in that situation.
Take Advantage of the Remote Talent Pool
For many organizations, there’s no going back to fully in-person work, so it’s critical to adapt to virtual recruiting today if you want to land the best remote talent.
As you learn how to recruit remote workers, start by understanding how your existing remote workforce succeeds. Solidify your employee brand. Then, focus on optimizing how you source, assess and interview candidates so you can effectively grow your remote team and business.