Flexible work policies enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond have freed many employees from the necessity to live near the workplace. In fact, nearly three in 10 workers (28%) think that within five years, it will be the norm in their industry to be able to work anywhere in the world.1 This trend poses both opportunities and challenges for recruiters who must adapt to hiring remote employees if they want to remain competitive.

Why hire remote workers: The benefits of hiring remotely

When asked about the most important factors in a job, more than one in six workers (17%) said the flexibility of where they worked mattered.1 Employers who tap into this demand for remote work can expand their talent pool from a localized group to a worldwide base, increasing their ability to build diverse workforces, find rare skill sets and fill positions quickly. Hiring remote employees also reduces overhead costs, such as rent and utilities, which are incurred when workers stay on-site.

Common remote jobs to hire

Remote work may not be appropriate for every business, depending on its industry. Jobs in the manufacturing, construction and retail sectors usually require on-site employees. Other roles lend themselves to remote work. Examples include writers and editors, graphic designers, and software support specialists.

Where to find remote workers

Individuals interested in working remotely may search for jobs differently than those who work on-site. To reach them, employers might have to post their open positions on specialized job boards that cater to remote work and freelance opportunities. They can also use traditional recruitment tactics, like employee referrals and staffing agencies.

How to hire remote workers

Background screenings pose compliance risks if not done correctly. Here’s how smart employers typically vet potential new hires:

  1. Determine the traits of the ideal candidate
    Remote employees work under minimal supervision and have few, if any, in-person interactions with fellow team members. People who maintain productivity under these conditions are usually skilled in time management, written communication, technology and problem-solving.
  2. Craft an appropriate job advertisement
    Job descriptions for remote opportunities should emphasize flexibility since that’s what telecommuters desire. Employers also typically include a wide compensation range so they can pay according to the market where the candidate resides. Certain states and localities may even require pay ranges to be disclosed to candidates. Employers must ensure that their job advertisement complies with pay transparency requirements, where applicable.
  3. Search for candidates
    As mentioned previously, there are online job platforms that specialize in promoting remote opportunities. Posting to one of these websites may increase the chances of finding great candidates.
  4. Evaluate resumes
    In addition to the skill sets required for remote work, employers may want to prioritize candidates with prior experience working remotely. Individuals who started their own businesses or freelanced in the past also tend to excel in remote environments.
  5. Interview candidates
    An excellent way to interview remote candidates is via video conferencing. This method allows employers to assess communication skills and determine whether candidates have the tools and technological acumen required for telecommuting. Some employers may even ask candidates to complete a basic assignment as part of the interview process.
  6. Hire the ideal candidate
    Hiring a remote worker is much the same as an on-site employee, except the onboarding process is done virtually. Employers must ensure that all learning materials, new hire documents, orientation videos and company policies are easily accessible online.

Considerations when hiring remote workers

Depending on where they’re from, remote workers may not be familiar with an employer’s brand. Consequently, employers must create a value proposition that speaks to telecommuters. They might want to emphasize how many remote workers they employ or the solutions they use to keep remote teams engaged. Adding these details to job descriptions may entice qualified candidates to apply.

Remote work hiring tips

Employers who are new to hiring remote employees or are on the fence about a particular candidate may want to consider these remote hiring tips:

  • Offer remote workers a trial period
    A trial period allows employers to assess how productive remote employees are, if they have the required skills and if they fit the organization’s culture before employing them long-term.
  • Request a pre-recorded video
    Since interviews usually can’t be conducted in person, some employers require candidates to submit an introductory video with their resume as part of the pre-screening process.
  • Build relationships
    Employers must do their best to ensure remote employees feel like they’re still part of a larger team, even if they’re not working together in person.
  • Set clear expectations for remote work
    Employers should create policies that address expectations – working hours, response times, etc. – so they and their remote employees are on the same page.

Frequently asked questions about hiring remote employees

Do remote workers get paid more or less?

Remote workers may get paid more or less than market value depending on their location and their employer’s pay policies. Some companies pay remote workers based on skills and experience alone, while others adjust compensation according to the cost of living where the employee resides.

What is the best way to pay remote employees?

The method of payment preferred by most employees, whether they are remote or on-site, is direct deposit. However, some jurisdictions have specific rules for electronic pay, which employers must follow.

What is the minimum wage for remote workers?

The minimum wage is the same for remote workers as for on-site employees. Use ADP’s Fast Wage and Tax Facts tool to see the latest federal and state minimum wages.

1ADP Research Institute (ADPRI) People at Work 2023: A Global Workforce View

This guide is intended to be used as a starting point in analyzing how to hire remote workers and is not a comprehensive resource of requirements. It offers practical information concerning the subject matter and is provided with the understanding that ADP is not rendering legal or tax advice or other professional services.