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10 Tips to Attract, Hire and Retain Remote Employees

Karina Guerra


Rethinking Remote Hiring

The way we do things when everyone is not in the office looks different. When it comes to hiring, it is required to rethink the existing process and optimise the various stages involved. From candidate attraction to employee onboarding, there are a few things to review.

The offline and online hiring processes are not significantly different. Still, it is necessary to understand the important details of remote recruitment as well as having a plan on how to handle situations that require specific attention.

“Remote work requires a rethink, not a tweak”  Facebook

Below you will find ten useful tips that will help you create a smarter remote hiring process.

1. Get to Know Your Stakeholders

Understanding what is essential for your stakeholders and building a good relationship with your hiring managers is key to a successful recruitment process.

Pro Tip: Get to know your hiring managers, understand what is crucial for them and their teams. 

Speed in recruiting matters and remote hiring dynamics present some interesting challenges that can be overcome with the right strategies in place. One example is the difficulty to get to know hiring managers in casual conversations that take place when working from an office. 

Having a good personal relationship with business managers accelerates the process. When working away from the office, we need to make additional efforts to network. 

Consider organising regular Zoom meetings with business managers to replace the casual office conversations that are packed with insights. Building a relationship takes place before a new hire is required. 

stats on candidate interviews
Source: LinkedIn

2. Understand Who you Need to Hire

Make sure your job descriptions are clear. Reduce the number of unqualified applications by listing essential and preferred skills or experience.

Pro Tip: Help your hiring managers to write their job descriptions.

Writing job descriptions (JD) is a skill that requires some practice to get  right.It is easier to get the right candidate if the JD has the necessary detail required to assess candidates correctly, so be sure to help hiring managers with this.  

Before you get started on the recruiting adventure, make sure you really understand the job that that this new hire will be doing. What will be the primary responsibility of this position? What are the essential skills and experience that this applicant should have?

Stats on job descriptions
Source: Allegis Group Research

3. Define the Hiring Process For the Role 

Assessing different skills may require different approaches for varied positions. Make sure you have a method to clearly define and evaluate the suitability of skill sets required for various functions.  

Pro Tip: Give ideas and examples to your hiring managers that help them assess the skills required for the role.

For the remote recruitment candidate experience, applicants need to understand the different parts of the recruitment process at an early stage. 

It is best if to define the components of the hiring journey before the position is advertised. For a content writing position, you may ask your candidates to write a blog post as part of their skillset screening criteria; for a software developer role, you may define that a step in the process is to create a piece of code. 

When you mention these steps during the introductory conversations, candidates are ready to do their best.

stats on job seekers
Source: LinkedIn

4. Find and Attract the Right Candidates 

Advertising a position is the most traditional method. Great recruiters reach out to candidates they know could be great for the role. Direct messaging on LinkedIn offers the ability to reach out directly to candidates. 

Pro Tip: Consider informing candidates via email about working opportunities.

Making the role attractive is not only dependent on the candidate experience, salary package or special perks. It is important to remember that applicants check social media profiles, company websites and employee testimonials to get some insights into their possible future company culture.

stats on candidate communication
Source: Wonderful Workplaces, Employer Branding Insights 2019

5. Take Advantage of Your ATS 

Use tools that integrate with your Application Tracking System (ATS); if you don’t have one, maybe it is time to start considering it seriously. When working remotely, systems and technologies make the recruitment process more efficient.

Pro Tip: Use your ATS to send automated responses to applicants.

It is time to review if your ATS is set up for remote recruitment and hiring managers working offsite.

HR software facilitates the remote recruitment process, mostly when it works as a centralised platform. One important thing to remember is that training is required and stakeholders need to know how to use it. So make sure your hiring managers understand the basics of your ATS.

stats on candidates who don't hear back from companies
Source: Talent Management & HR

6. Prepare Selected Candidates for the Process 

Taking the time to prepare shortlisted candidates for the recruitment process improves the experience for candidates and hiring managers.  Explain what is involved in the process and the estimated times for interviews and decisions. 

Pro Tip: Run a virtual preparation interview to ensure technology is not a challenge during the interview.

Candidates who understand and accept the steps involved in the hiring process are more likely to have a better candidate experience

Stats on candidate communication
Source: Wonderful Workplaces, Employer Branding Insights Report 2019

7. Set up Distance Interviews 

Remote interviewing is a space that requires a lot of attention in the virtual recruitment process. The experience of the interview can be very stressful when technology fails. To ensure the benchmark of applicants is as fair as possible, it is crucial to allow all candidates to have the best possible conditions during virtual interviews.

Pro Tip: Join the meeting for the first few meetings to run introductions and ensure technology works.

Decide at an early stage who will be attending the interview and inform the candidate when you provide a brief about the process. Ensure candidates and managers are familiar with the interviewing platform. Consider the option of offering a practice run for those who are unfamiliar with Zoom, BlueJeans, Google Hangouts, etc. 

Stats on candidate experience
Source: Wonderful Workplaces, Employer Branding Insights Report 2019

8. Review Hiring Managers’ Feedback Early 

Ideally, feedback from hiring managers is discussed soon after the interview. First impressions count, it is relevant to discuss them at an early stage to ensure candidates shortlisted are on the right track of expectations.

Pro Tip: Address concerns from hiring managers soon after the interview and prepare for candidate’s interview feedback.

When interviews take place through video conferencing or phone calls, it is essential to take time to ensure that all requirements are covered as well as an understanding of cultural fit being present. When skillsets or experience is in doubt, it is best to check again or schedule an additional meeting to address points that require clarification.

Stat on professionals wanting feedback

9. Conduct Reference Checks or Candidate Verification 

Reference checking assists managers with candidate selection, commentary from previous managers provides reassurance of the strengths of the future hire as well as a better understanding of possible areas for improvement or support that the applicant may have.

Pro Tip: When conducted properly reference checks are always useful to understand future hires’ strengths and areas of opportunity.

When conducting reference checks, ensure your company follows best practices. You can try our template builder to create questionnaires that are suitable for different roles or try our platform for free.

Make sure you review your reference checking process to reduce any unnecessary delays on your hiring journey. 

Stats on job applicants
Source: Xref Article

10. Start the Onboarding Journey 

Once the hiring manager makes a candidate selection, the onboarding process commences for the selected candidate who will be soon joining a new organisation. Working conditions have changed; new hires are likely to join their teams remotely. Be reassured that research indicates that working from home enables higher productivity levels.

Pro Tip: Make sure there is an onboarding plan in place for those remote hires or when managers work remotely.

We are responsible for creating an enjoyable onboarding experience. Ownership of onboarding tasks is in many cases shared between recruiters and hiring managers. Onboarding remotely presents some additional challenges that require proper planning to deliver successful results for both candidates and team members.  In this link, you can find some useful tips for onboarding remotely.

Stats on work flexibility
Source: Wrike.com

Final comments:

Hiring remotely requires re-thinking. It is vital to optimise the process and improve the practices that require attention.  The basics of recruitment persist: we still need to attract great talent and make the candidate experience enjoyable. Remote hiring offers new opportunities and also presents challenges that require strategic actions. Plan, Rethink and Optimise your hiring process will make you a PRO-Recruiter!

Other useful resources:

10 Useful resources for recruiters and hiring managers when WFH

Recruiting remotely: Current challenges and future opportunities

Image on reference checking guide
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