Even with the success of the vaccination programmes, remote recruiting is still a reality for many and will be for some time to come. Even post-pandemic, with at least some elements of remote work predicted to stay for many, having a remote recruitment strategy will be more important than ever.
So how do you make sure you’re getting the best candidate for the role when recruiting remotely? Here are some of our top remote recruiting tips.
1. Create a remote hiring process
The first thing you’ll need to do is get organised and create a structured hiring process with clear steps and schedules. Identify each of the processes that need to be carried out to make a successful hire and identify who is responsible for each step.
Your process may follow the same structure as your usual hiring process but certain steps are likely to become more important, such as writing clear job ads. Some steps may change slightly, for example, an initial interview might become a virtual interview with pre-recorded questions. You may also want to add in some steps, such as an assessment to help you decide who you want to invite to interview.
2. Take more time writing job ads
If you spend more time creating your job adverts, you will save time later sifting through irrelevant applications and potentially hiring the wrong candidates. While writing ads that accurately detail the role is always important, it becomes even more so when hiring remotely and communication is carried out virtually.
Make sure you work closely with the hiring manager to decide what should be included in terms of required skills and qualifications and think carefully before choosing which are ‘required’ and which would be a bonus. If it gets to the interview stage and you find the candidate is under-qualified due to an omission on the job ad, a lot of time may have been wasted.
As well as thoroughly outlining the responsibilities of the role and the level of experience and expertise that you’re looking for, make sure you detail your remote working policy. It’s best for potential candidates to know straight away whether remote work is likely to be a long term thing for them and they will know whether that suits their style of working.
3. Develop an efficient process for shortlisting candidates
Many recruiters are currently seeing high numbers of applications for the roles that they are advertising. Wading through a large number of applications to find the top candidates can be quite the challenge, so it’s important that you have a process in place to efficiently sort through these applications.
If you’ve spent time with the hiring manager when setting out the job description, you should have a very clear idea of what your ‘must-have’ criteria are for the role. This should help you remove a number of applications from the process straight away.
4. Consider video for initial interviews
Video interviews are being used more and more, both in response to Covid-19 and due to the rise in remote work before the pandemic. These are especially useful for initial interviews even if you would like to meet the candidate in person before making a final decision.
There is even the option of pre-recording questions for initial screening interviews and sending this out to multiple candidates, saving you the time involved with scheduling in calls and interviewing each of them. When you’re down to your final candidates, video interviews are a good alternative to an in-person meeting as you’ll still be able to see the candidates and gauge their responses to your questions via body language as well as their actual answers.
Of course, a good internet connection is essential at both ends for a successful video interview. Test your internet connection and ask the candidate to do the same before well in advance so that you can find a solution if there is going to be an issue. You’ll also want to make sure that cameras and microphones are functioning properly too.
Be aware that not everyone is comfortable in front of a camera, so take a few steps to make sure they are at ease. For example, make sure your interview invitation has all the information they will need. Let them know when the interview will start and how long you expect it to last. Let them know who will be on the call, what their job roles are and the format that the interview will follow. Make sure you’re early to the call so that they’re not waiting nervously when they join the virtual room and ease into the conversation.
In addition to the usual questions that you or the hiring manager might want to ask, make sure you have some questions prepared on remote work if this is relevant to the role. Even if they will be required to work remotely only initially, you’ll need to know how they cope with this sort of working environment. You might also want to ask them more about soft skills, such as communication and teamwork, which have become more and more important with so many people working remotely.
When the call is coming to an end, make sure the candidate leaves with a clear idea of when you will get in touch with them and how they can get in touch with you if necessary.
Ensure that both you and the candidate are calling using a secure network, so as not to cause any cybersecurity problems. Finally, always make sure you have a Plan B in place, just in case there are any unexpected problems with the call.
5. Try using an assignment as part of the recruitment process
As part of your shortlisting process, you may want to set a task for your candidates to see how well they cope with an assignment they might face as part of the job. This should be done towards the end of your shortlisting process so you don’t have to spend lots of time going through them all. You also don’t want to be setting too many people tasks when there isn’t a high chance that they will be hired so as not to waste their time.
Such tasks will provide you with a good idea of potential job performance for each candidate. Consider setting a tight deadline or making the task timed to make it more realistic and to get an idea of how the candidates cope under pressure. Make sure that such tasks are scheduled at a time convenient to the candidate to get a true idea of performance. You don’t want them rushing through it because they have another commitment.
6. Communicate with your candidates
One of the most common complaints from job candidates is not hearing back from recruiters. To ensure that they have a good candidate experience, stay in touch with your candidates and let them know when the status of their application changes. This reflects well on your business and may encourage them to apply for more roles in the future even if they aren’t successful with the current opportunity.
If circumstances change, which is happening frequently for recruiters given the current climate, keep candidates updated. For example, if your business decides not to hire for the role due to uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, let the candidates know rather than simply ceasing all communication.
It would also be wise to communicate to your candidates how your business is approaching the coronavirus pandemic, what measures you have in place and how/if this may affect the recruitment process. This will both reassure the candidates and will let them know what to expect.
Recruiting remotely can be highly effective if done well. If the role you are recruiting for is a remote job itself, you’ll also have a much wider candidate pool to choose from. In order to keep up with the competition and secure the top talent, you’ll have to adapt your recruitment process to work virtually.
Get organised and think about each of the steps involved in making a successful hire and how they will work when you can’t just get the candidate into the office for an assessment or interview. Think about any additional tools you’ll need, like video interviewing software or programmes for carrying out assessments virtually. Streamline your shortlisting process to deal with the high number of applications many recruiters are currently facing and make sure you communicate regularly with your candidates.