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3 Steps for Hiring Your First Remote Employees

Jill Phillips Tips & Tricks

One huge benefit of technology for both employers and employees is that people can work from essentially anywhere, which is making the traditional workplace a thing of the past. Remote working is becoming more common with all the ways to stay connected, such as instant messaging and video chats. Hiring remote employees can be great for your business, as you’ll reduce your overhead costs and have access to talent from around the world instead of just your local area.

It’s a bit nerve-wracking to take the plunge and hire your first remote workers. Since they won’t be in the office, it’s not like you can just stop by and check on them anytime you want to make sure they’re working. But when you hire the right remote workers, the benefits far outweigh any possible drawbacks. There are some unique factors to consider when you hire for a remote position instead of a traditional role. Keep the following three tips in mind so you make the right choices with who you hire.

Look for the Right Qualities

Remote work requires certain qualities for success, and not everyone is cut out for it. To ensure that you only hire people who have what it takes, write down the skills and experience you want in any candidates. When you create your job listing, include these minimum qualifications, and then also use them to vet all the applications you receive.

While necessary qualifications will vary depending on the position you’re filling, there are a few common traits that are found in successful remote workers:

  • Self-motivation: Any remote worker needs to have a desire to be productive and contribute without being prompted because there won’t be anyone around to motivate them if they can’t do it themselves.
  • Problem Solving Skills: While remote workers can still get in touch with colleagues, productivity at your company will slow to a crawl if your remote workers are calling in with every little problem.
  • Tech Savvy: Remote workers need to have the appropriate software and technology skills to stay in touch and perform the duties of their jobs.
  • Well-organized: Being organized ensures that remote workers handle all their tasks and complete projects on time.
  • Proficient Written Communicator: Emails and instant messages are among the most common ways for remote workers to communicate with the rest of the company.
  • Trustworthy: You’re trusting your remote workers to focus on their jobs and avoid distractions.

Adopt the Right Hiring Strategies

One of the great things about hiring remote workers is there’s a huge pool of talent available because you can hire people from anywhere. To take advantage of this, you’ll need to advertise open positions in many different ways so people from around the country or even the world see your job listings. Here are some of the best ways to advertise your job listings:

  • Social Media: Most people go on their social media accounts every day, so you should post your job openings on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and any other social networks your business uses.
  • Your Company’s Website or Blog: Your site or blog likely gets plenty of traffic, so it’s good to advertise your openings on it.
  • Job Boards: There are plenty of online job boards out there, including Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster, Simply Hired and CareerBuilder. To save time, copy and paste as much of the job listing as possible from job board to job board, and then you’ll only need to add in a few listing details each time.

You may feel like you’re taking a big leap of faith to hire someone who can’t attend an in-person interview. You can still get a good idea of his abilities through a telephone or video interview. To assess writing abilities, look over any email exchanges you have with them or have them perform writing exercises. It’s a good idea to set up a probationary period with any remote workers you hire as a trial to verify that they’re right for their jobs.

Ask the Right Questions

Don’t just use your same old job interview questions when hiring for remote positions. Some candidates, such as those with excellent skills but poor self-direction, can be amazing in office roles but fail when on their own. Ask the following types of questions to get a feel for each candidate:

  • Behavioral: Assess candidates’ skill levels, organizational skills, passion and self-direction.
  • Scenarios: Find out if candidates have worked independently and managed their own time for work before.
  • Experience: Candidates who have remote work experience are ideal, but if a candidate doesn’t have any, make sure he understands the benefits and challenges of it.
  • Remote Project Tools: Check if the candidate knows how to use file sharing and communication programs, along with any other programs that the position requires.
  • Organization: See how candidates plan to structure their days and meet deadlines.
  • Schedule: Will candidates be able to work the hours you need so they’re available when you need them?

Hiring remote workers can be great for your business, provided you’re patient during the hiring process. It takes skill and some luck to find the right remote employees. You’ll have much better success when you develop a strategy for acquiring remote talent. Make your list of qualifications, use the right hiring strategies and ask good questions to ensure you get remote workers who are the right fit for your company.

About the author
Jill Phillips is a freelance writer from Buffalo, NY. She is an aspiring entrepreneur who loves to share her insight on various tech and business topics. When she is not writing, Jill enjoys taking photos and hiking with her dog. Connect with Jill via Twitter @jillphlps