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Need Some Outside Help? 8 Tips for Hiring Remote Workers

Author

Diane Faulkner, ACC, SPHR

More by Diane
Author

Diane Faulkner, ACC, SPHR

More by Diane

Finding top talent has always been tough, especially when your business is small. Incentivizing someone to move to your locale can be time-consuming and expensive — and you have neither extra time nor money. So what can you do?

Hire remote workers.

Hiring remote workers is a new game, and you need to get good at it to compete. They let you grow your business and add needed skills without adding office space. With remote workers, you can usually find the talent you need regardless of where you — and that talent — may be.

The process of hiring these workers is a little different from the usual, though, so consider the following tips for getting the help you need.

  • Change Up Where You Advertise: Go ahead and tap Indeed, but also try sites dedicated to remote workers, like FlexJobs, Working Nomads and SkipTheDrive. And don't forget your blog. Your readers are already familiar with you and your culture. That makes it a perfect place to advertise.
  • Layer Your Interviews: Because communication with remote workers will occur mainly through emails, texts, instant messages, video and telephone, you should incorporate all these forms of communication in the interview process. Are their emails, texts and IMs clear and professional? Does the candidate have an app like Skype for video conferencing? Do they demonstrate strong verbal communication skills on the phone?
  • Ask Targeted Behavioral Questions: Don't just question to determine experience and skill level. Concentrate on questions regarding organizational skills, career passion and self-direction. Have candidates talk about how they work independently and manage their time. You want specific examples of strong organizational habits and internal motivation.
  • Give Skills Assessments: You can't assign a mentor to get remote employees up to speed. They have to hit the ground running. Consider testing this by having them start on a short assignment or by hiring them as a freelancer for a small project.
  • Reject Quickly and Kindly: Don't leave people who live online hanging. Your reputation as an employer could be tarnished with negative social media posts or Glassdoor reviews. When you know you're not moving forward with someone, send a short, personalized email to let the candidate know they're no longer in the running. If the candidate was an especially good one, extend an invitation to apply for a different role. Part ways as friends.
  • Introduce the Team: Whether in person or by video, it's critical to have your finalists meet your team. This is where you can introduce your culture and examine how the new person could affect your existing team's chemistry. Everyone should have a chance to interview finalists.
  • Provide Perks: With more companies hiring remote workers, it's a workers' market, so you may need to sweeten your deal with something like new equipment, a signing bonus or a generous paid time off package. Whatever you give, it could still be less expensive than bringing on a full-time, on-site employee.
  • Keep Them Engaged: Remote workers can't pop into someone's office for a chat. It's all too easy for them to miss the small, everyday interactions that bring a team closer together. Before hiring your first remote worker, have a plan in place to bridge this gap. For example, you could implement a weekly online meeting between your in-office staff and your remote workforce.

While it can be time-consuming to hire remote workers, these extra steps will help ensure that you've hired someone you can trust to stay on task and fit into your culture, which can help your business succeed and grow.