The remote era is upon us, but not all established companies can shift their working cultures/structures overnight. Although the current crisis is an unprecedented push for employees working from home, some companies are better prepared than others for this sudden shift. Established companies as well as new startups will have to create sustainable remote teams and a functioning remote working environment.
For such an environment to be established effectively, companies will need to make virtually everything remote – including the hiring processes. With effective communication and evaluation platforms being developed and polished every day, it is definitely becoming easier for companies to set up a proper remote hiring system.
Why companies hire remote talent
Apart from building a remote team, companies also need to hire professionals and experts for immediate needs. A company may need to hire a freelancer with a specific skill possessed by none in the company, or maybe a consultant to solve an existing problem within the company. The company may also need to outsource an entire operation to another company. All of these scenarios also involve people working remotely, for the company, on a temporary, one-off basis.
Benefits of remote hiring
Remote hiring is not only good for the employees in the long run, but for the employers too: not only it gives companies access to a bigger pool of talent, even global, it also cuts operating costs and resource input to a huge extent.
Remote hiring considerations
It goes without saying that remote hiring comes with a different paradigm than conventional – with its own ways and challenges. So, while hiring remote employees, whether temporary or permanent, many things need to be kept in mind- right from where to get employees from, to how to accommodate the differences in their timings and working habits. But at the same time, the basics of hiring shouldn’t be ignored- the vision and the according requirements should never be compromised with. But this is not all. The way the hiring process occurs is different too. It’s virtual interviews, and task-based evaluation, instead of conventional face-to-face interviews and skill and whiteboard tests.
What stays the same in remote hiring?
What the company and the tasks at hand need is very much the same: the entire gameplan of the hiring process should be drawn up. Right from the number of candidates required, to the exact roles and responsibilities of each prospective hire, and the corresponding expectations – everything should be specified.
Establishing the game plan:
- Select a hiring team/individuals: It should be specified who is in charge of hiring. In the early days of a startup, the founders themselves have to hire candidates. However, as a company grows, different sections of a company hire accordingly, and HR also has to handle hiring in bigger companies.
- Nothing should be compromised with: The vision of the company and the oversight of the product/service built. And the employees should be hired accordingly: the ones who can actually follow the idea, and work accordingly. The exact skill set required for the employees, the general mindset and ability, everything should be kept in mind while hiring.
- The scale is important: You never want to hire several employees at once, only to have them add to the deadweight later, or work understaffed due to a misconsideration or to save funds- it will only pressurize the existing workforce.
The ideal candidate: Keeping the above things in mind, the image of an ideal candidate should be kept in mind – according to skillset, ability, amount of work required (a least a general idea of that), the appropriate compensation. The ideal candidate need not be the most talented or skilled or efficient one, but just right enough to do the job, at reasonable pay.
Criteria differ, a lot:
Finding remote employees is easy if you keep in mind that they can be found all over the world. It is always beneficial to keep professionals in your pipeline, so they can be instantly notified if a job opens up in your company. Compare this to putting your opening on a job portal, where several random people may apply for your jobs, and recruiters have to spend a big chunk of their time filtering them out.
Even more beneficial are the remote hiring services available – which have their own pipelines, and can efficiently provide remote workers to your company by their own methods of shortlisting according to your companies requirements. Through project-based assessments (PBAs) and all sorts of background and portfolio checks, they can reduce your hiring headache to a huge extent.
Time zone consideration:
It is always easier to manage a team if the work hours of all employees are the same, as in the traditional office setting. However, with a proper management system implemented, having employees from different time zones can always be beneficial, because it would reduce the idle time, without any employee having to work overtime. A remote culture opens up for flexibility in work hours, and hence increasing the chances of having work done continuously, and at the same time, not overworking anyone.
However, for the remote system to work, it should always be kept in mind that the employees are well-suited for the system and efficient enough to work. This may be a concern now because remote isn’t the norm yet, although it will probably soon be the case.
If the work hours of employees are flexible, the payment structures also need to vary: it cannot be based on the clock-in and clock-out times, but a more accurate method of compensation should be implemented.
The workforce is also global in a remote work environment, and this brings in another important consideration. To maintain equity of pay, the compensation should be aligned to that of the employee’s country. Not to do so may be another one-size-fits-all fallacy.
Employees will also need to be provided with required hardware and software resources, according to the work assigned to them, just as the workspace they would’ve been allotted in a traditional office setting.
The remote hiring process
Virtual interviews are quite different from traditional, vis-a-vis interviews. They involve telephone/video calls, and hence cut a lot of pretense from the conversation, and encourage professional, thoughtful, and honest conversation. They should hence be focused on the same: the quality and substance of conversation, rather than the formality and pretense of traditional interviews.
Another integral part of the remote hiring process, especially in tech, are Project-Based Assessments (PBAs). They are a very accurate evaluation method if implemented properly. The aim of PBAs is to emulate a problem that can very well be faced by the candidate within the job, and hence they can be a very holistic analysis of the candidate – right from understanding, to approach, to result. But it must be ensured that PBAs are personalized for different candidates, according to experience, and skill, rather than a single test for each contender.
In contrast with PBAs exist the very popular but very outdated skill tests, which are nothing but closed-book memory tests, all about who remembers the most algorithms and tricks, rather than who solves the problem with the most optimal approach. Obviously, having algorithms on top of one’s head is a plus, but it still can’t ensure effective problem-solving at their part.
While remote work is a big part of how work will be in the future, it should always be kept in mind that as times change, mindsets need to change too, and so should the ways we do things. Any company that wants to survive and thrive in this incoming change should be wary of how to adapt to it. It should know how to be flexible and mold its culture into the future.