Remote work is on the rise. Surveys confirm it. It’s easy to see why: hiring remote employees offers plenty of benefits for everyone. The company saves on office space and has access to a larger pool of candidates. Employees don’t have to relocate to apply to their ideal jobs.
From an HR perspective, however, it’s important to understand how this trend may impact recruitment tactics. Employees who work out of the office need to possess unique qualities that aren’t always required of people who work in the office. They include the following:
Obviously, remote workers need to be self-motivators. Employees can become less productive over time if there’s no one around to monitor their progress regularly. Thus, it helps to look for candidates who already have experience working from home successfully.
Don’t immediately write off candidates who lack such experience. However, ask all applicants if they possess the ability to stay focused when a manager isn’t constantly looking over their shoulder.
Employees need to communicate with managers for various reasons. That’s not particularly difficult in an office setting.
However, remote employees can’t just head to a supervisor’s office every time they have a question. They’re going to rely on email as a communication tool much more often than traditional workers. It’s helpful if they’re able to communicate clearly and concisely through writing.
Again, it’s easier for managers and employees to communicate regularly in an office setting. There may be instances when a manager has a question that needs to be addressed quickly. Email may be too slow a form of communication in these instances.
Thus, pay attention to how responsive candidates are to phone calls, texts, Skype, etc. You can’t expect them to be immediately responsive if they don’t yet work for the company. However, you do want to look for applicants who make a point of replying in a timely fashion.
Relying on technology to facilitate communication requires knowing how to use it. Your remote workers won’t have the benefit of an in-office IT team to help them out when they have technical issues. It’s beneficial to everyone if they can demonstrate a certain degree of proficiency with the various tools they may use on a regular basis.
Working in an office gives an employee regular exposure to the organization’s culture and values. Remote team members don’t have that benefit. If workers don’t engage with the company’s culture, they may be less inclined to devote themselves to their work.
Guard against this by making a point of asking applicants about their connection to the organization’s values. If they seem like-minded and enthusiastic, they may be able to maintain their engagement with the work. You always want employees who care about the company’s goals.
Managers report that employees who are successful in remote positions tend to be detail-oriented. They don’t require the structure of a typical office to remain organized and on task.
There are several ways you can evaluate this quality in job applicants. Pay attention to resumes, emails, and any other documents they provide to determine how organized they are. You might also consider scheduling a video interview if you’re unable to meet with a candidate in person.
Body language, tone of voice, and similar details can yield insights into whether an employee is a good fit for a job. Additionally, seeing how they dress for a video interview can also help you determine whether they take work seriously. Again, this shouldn’t be a “make or break” factor, but it’s worth assessing during the recruitment process.
Some people pursue remote jobs because they are more productive working from home and live too far from employers to make a daily commute feasible. Many remote workers are also ambitious people who pursue roles that match their skills.
Those are the type of workers you want on your team. Find out whether applicants meet this criterion by asking questions about their goals. Learn if they want to expand their skill sets. Highlighting growth opportunities is also a smart way to attract employees who will be engaged with their work.
These are all qualities to look for as you hire remote team members. Again, this may be something you’ll have to think about in the near future. Prepare now and you’ll be better-equipped to adjust your recruitment strategy when the time comes.