What We've Learned About Remote Hiring

Lori Freeman
January 21, 2021

As the business world quickly learned that working from home was going to last more than a little bit, many companies pivoted to interviewing and hiring remotely. As humans, meeting someone in person tends to assure us that we know who they really are. But as time passed in this pandemic, we gained more comfort with meeting people remotely and found that it can, indeed, be done!

One unexpected gift that came from this remote recruiting situation is the realization that companies who hire remotely (even if just for a few key roles) have an opportunity to access the best talent not just within driving distance of their location, but across the entire nation. Think about the possibilities that come with tapping into all the talent this country has to offer, then get excited thinking about what that could mean for your business!

Here’s more on what we’ve learned about remote recruiting and interviewing:

A few of the traditional interviewing rules and practices still apply.

·     Be prepared. While remote interviewing inherently feels more casual, interviewers still need to review the candidate’s resume ahead of time and have questions ready.

·     Designate a host. There’s no longer a receptionist around the corner to help with no-show interviewers or technical issues, so share the number for your point person.

While some things have changed.

·     Don’t judge a person on their space. We may not be in-person but in many ways we’re more up close and personal as we get a view into the home lives of our candidates. Not everyone has a home office or a Pinterest-perfect place to live - and guess what, that doesn’t reflect their ability to do the job.

·     But get creative to show your space. Give virtual office tours, have interviewers use a green screen of your office during their conversation, or even email pictures of the workspace after your interview. Not only does this give the candidate a better window into the office environment, it also gives that glimmer of hope that we will all be back together again soon in some capacity!

·     Zoom fatigue is real. Being on a video call requires more focus than a face-to-face chat. Shorten interviews or allow breaks in between (whether it’s by an hour or even several days). This keeps energy intact and helps the candidate remain excited about your company. The same goes for interviewers whose days are often booked solid. A little bit of a Zoom break allows your interview team to think more clearly and make better hiring decisions (which is, ya know, pretty important).

We aren’t just seeing shifts in practice when it comes to recruiting. We are also changing the way we onboard once we’ve landed that amazing new hire. You put in a lot of effort to get the right candidate all the way to ‘yes!’ so protect your investment with intentional and purposeful communication between acceptance and start.

Here are a few other tips to ensure you are connecting with new hires and making remote work feel, well, not so remote:

·     Be more intentional about onboarding. Consider developing a virtual onboarding event. Make it fun, informative and engaging, but also ensure they have the tools they need to get out of the gate quickly (hello, how many of us have been without a laptop the first week?). There’s nothing worse than starting a new job and feeling lost right away and virtual work will only exacerbate this.

·     Create a Buddy system. Give newbies co-workers they can get to know right off the bat and remain connected to. This could be people from several areas of the company that they may engage with in their job occasionally. Suggest fun ways for the group to connect.

·     Be open to change. Survey each hire to learn about their experience through the process to learn what is working well and how it can be tweaked. Candidate experience still applies and is even more crucial at times like this.

We’re not fooling ourselves into thinking all with go back to the way it was, but because we’ve experienced a year of change, we’re more equipped to handle it. Companies who embrace the new world of remote hiring are going to be able to roll with the inevitable ups and downs of 2021. Better yet, organizations who have a stellar remote hiring and onboarding experience will be able to leverage that as a competitive advantage in the race for talent!