There has been a surge in the amount of remote work taking place worldwide since the Covid pandemic began. When given the opportunity to work from home, many employees embraced advantages such as flexible schedules and the elimination of stressful commutes, and jobseekers now often prioritize positions that allow them to work remotely.
From the employer’s perspective, the benefits of a remote workforce include greater diversity in teams and higher levels of employee engagement and happiness. Levels of productivity have also increased — for some companies by as much as 47 percent. Hiring talent regardless of geographic location creates a wider network of options for finding the right people for your company.
So what are the steps and strategies to ensure you hire only the best talent for your remote teams? Initial interviews conducted by human resources are an excellent place to establish whether the candidate has the skill set to become a productive and engaged member of your remote workforce.
Let’s take a look at key questions to ask to identify if candidates are the best fit for your remote team.
1. Have you ever worked on remote teams?
This obvious but vital question allows you to determine how comfortable your candidate may be in a remote work environment. If they already have experience working remotely, chances are they have gained skills like the ability to work independently and communicate effectively.
Other skills that frequently come with previous remote work experience include:
- Ability to solve problems on their own
- Prioritization of activities
- Time management
- Ability to disconnect after work hours
2. How do you feel about getting feedback from your manager in a remote setting?
Providing feedback to your employees is vital so that they have a clear growth path and can become mentors in the future. If communicated properly, feedback to your employees can be beneficial to your entire company because it:
- Reduces employee turnover.
- Improves productivity levels.
- Increases employee engagement levels.
- Improves organizational culture.
In fact, a study by Zippia indicates that companies that give ongoing feedback see 14.9 percent lower employee turnover.
Remember that when working with teams spread around the world, face-to-face interaction is lost and this can be a complication for smooth communication. To give feedback effectively and appropriately, you will need to use digital channels that allow you to connect with your employees no matter where they are. Fortunately, there are several platforms or applications that can help make your communication more fluid, such as:
- Google Suite
Feedback is of no value if it is not properly acted on. Therefore, as well as telling your employees the areas where they excel and where they can improve, set aside time to follow up on the actions they are taking to step up their performance if needed.
It is important that the feedback you give your employees will:
- Highlight their positive contributions and skills.
- Focus on specific situations.
- Provide solutions or recommendations.
- Reaffirm that you are seeing their effort and that it can be improved with the help of the whole team.
- Ask specific questions about what the company can do to help them improve.
3. What are your short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals for career growth in a remote setting?
This is a key question because you want your talent to stay and advance their career within your company. Career growth is important to most workers, however, according to a study conducted by Buffer, 45 percent of respondents believe it is more difficult to progress in their career when working remotely.
The initial HR interview is the ideal moment to speak with your candidate about the ways in which your company aims for career growth and advancement within a remote setting. Some ways you can ensure the growth of new employees in your company are:
- Pair them with senior employees for weekly or monthly mentoring.
- Invest in communication-focused training for remote workspaces.
- Schedule virtual events focused on learning new skills.
- Provide guides that can be consulted for information about your company and its processes.
- Conduct satisfaction surveys on an ongoing basis.
It is important that your company’s objectives for your remote workforce are aligned with the future of your potential employees as this helps create and retain committed and engaged workers. Knowing their short-, medium- and long-term goals will allow you to better explain how your company can help achieve them. Not only does this make the hiring process easier, but it also enhances your company’s reputation, which in turn helps you to attract and retain best-in-class talent.
4. Are you comfortable working to meet objectives rather than simply adhering to a set schedule?
Working with teams in different countries is a great learning experience, and includes navigating your way around multiple time zones for colleagues. To excel at remote teamwork, a candidate needs the ability to work independently and to be proactive.
Also, having employees in different corners of the world, it is necessary to adopt asynchronous communication. This means that when you message any employee they can read and reply at a later stage if that fits in best with their own schedule and work hours.
Schedules are increasingly falling into disuse, as employees prefer to work by objectives. This not only helps workers feel happier in their positions, but also reduces stress and the likelihood of burnout.
Ideal candidates for your company need to know how to adapt to these remote-friendly ways of working.
While estimates indicate that the number of remote workers has increased by 159 percent since 2009, many still don’t know how to work under objectives. Therefore, it is vital that this question is asked in all your interviews so that you know which candidates can prioritize and perform tasks properly, without the need for constant reminders.
Final tips for hiring remote team members
Make sure to include these steps in your HR interview:
- Talk openly about the necessary skills the candidate must have to meet your company’s objectives.
- Explain step by step how the onboarding and work routine are organized throughout the company.
- Customize the questions you will use in your job interviews according to each candidate’s resumé.
- Ask for feedback at the end of the interview process to get information on how you can improve and optimize future interviews.
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