5 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Remote Hiring Strategy
Now, as the labor shortage drags on and employee retention continues to be an issue, the challenges of remote work are being felt in HR departments as managers navigate how best to hire and onboard new remote employees.
It’s understandable why organizations are reluctant to hire remotely. It’s tough to get a read on a prospective employee without meeting them face-to-face and harder to spot unscrupulous or unsuitable applicants. In an effort to protect themselves, hiring managers often fall prey to the following mistakes. Weed these out of your hiring practices and you’ll greatly increase your chances of finding your next office superstar.
1. Not confirming credentials
Sadly, candidates can’t always be trusted so be skeptical when reviewing resumes. Prospective employees can easily fudge a few details or, in some cases, sneak in outright lies.
Trust your instincts - if it feels like the candidate on paper is not the same person you interviewed or corresponded with, dig deeper. Digging deeper could involve things like asking for a copy of a certification, or contacting an academic institution to confirm that the candidate received the accreditation they have listed on their resume.
2. Not setting clear expectations and boundaries
Your applicant knows they’re interviewing for a position that will be performed remotely, but do they know what’s expected of them in that role? Be clear on the details from the outset, so they know exactly what’s involved and their responsibilities. You may want to cover:
- Working hours - when are they expected to be online and available?
- Communication tools - what platforms will they be using? Will training be provided if they’re not familiar with the tech stack?
- Structure - Who will they report to? Will they be working in a team?
- Flexibility - if they want to transition to a hybrid or in-person desk would that be available?
- KPI’s - What goals will you have for their success and how will their performance be measured?
3. Worrying about time zones
One of the best things about working remotely is the ability to tune into the office from anywhere, but hiring candidates from different time zones can be off-putting for employers.
There’s no reason to rule out a good candidate simply because they’re on a different schedule however. Sure, they may not be available in an emergency, but if managers are constantly throwing urgent and last-minute work at their teams, the problem is management, not the employee. Careful project planning and time management should eliminate this issue.
That being said, sometimes last-minute or rush work cannot be avoided, and some positions require specific hours because of customer expectations. If you have an ironclad schedule that the candidate must conform to, make sure they know this during the interview and don’t have any issues with sticking to that schedule.
4. Rejecting a candidate based on their interview performance
Not all of us are comfortable on screen. When you hire remotely, you also interview remotely and that puts some candidates at a disadvantage. Not because they’re not capable, but because they are less likely to shine in that format.
This puts the onus on hiring managers to go the extra mile to put interviewees at ease. And remember, just because they aren’t as outgoing and bubbly as you’d like doesn’t mean they won’t be an asset to your workplace. Of course, this comes with a caveat - if you’re interviewing for a sales position or another client-facing role, being an enthusiastic extrovert is a job requirement!
5. Refusing to rehire
Some employers refuse to take on ‘boomerang’ employees - those who walk away from the job only to return when they can’t find another position or are unhappy with their new employer. But unless that worker left under a cloud, there’s no reason not to give them a second chance.
In fact, there are lots of reasons why you’d want them back. Previous employees know your organization, they know your processes, your teams, your clients, and your services. That’s a lot of hard-earned knowledge that’s impossible to find in a new hire.
Provided they weren’t fired or forced out, it’s a good idea to welcome back workers, smoothing the way with an honest discussion about why they left. They may have a grievance about work that, once addressed, will improve your organization’s productivity. Once you identify their issue, you can resolve it, and move on.
The one situation in which you may not want to hire a “comeback kid” is if they made it through the interview process before, were offered a position, and then declined it. While there are many reasons they would want to reapply, candidates like these may just be offer shopping to get increases in their current positions. If they did it once, they could do it again and waste your time doing so. If you really want to have a look at them again, make sure you get a candid reason as to why they are reapplying before you set up the interview. If it was something tangible like a family emergency, that’s understandable. If they are offer shoppers, it will be a vague reason and a second interview shouldn’t be scheduled.
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