Management gurus have been touting organisational resilience as one of the infinity stones for success and growth in the past few years. So, how does one acquire this infinity stone of resilience? Well, if you don’t have an Avenger on your payroll, then you’ll need to strategise and work towards building a resilient workforce. The art of hiring and retaining the right people is the cornerstone of this strategy. That is why hiring employees with the right skill sets, with minimal operational impact, is an essential function of every growing organisation in these times. Now that remote hiring has become the norm, geographical barriers are no longer a concern. Organisations have realised that the world is their oyster in terms of resource accessibility when they are willing to hire remotely.
Remote working in essence means employing resources who will not be physically present in your office. You will need to adjust key elements in your recruitment process and invest in technology to fully reap the benefits of remote hiring. You will also need to modify your HR policies to reflect the change in your hiring and working environments. Your recruitment infrastructure also needs to be modified to successfully hire remotely. There are virtual hiring platforms that can help you streamline your entire recruitment and onboarding process. While these platforms are fully equipped to deal with the nitty-gritty of hiring, you and your recruitment team should have a clear strategy on how to improve the remote hiring experience. Here’s a list of dos and don’ts to help you draft your remote hiring roadmap.
Your Secret Weapons – the Dos
Select an ATS that complements your needs
With remote hiring you get access to a larger pool of candidates, so it is important to have the resources to review a large number of candidates and shortlist suitable ones. That is where an Application Tracking Software (ATS) comes in handy. This will help you collect information and organise candidates according to their experience and skill sets. It also helps you maintain a centralised repository of your candidates’ information. A suitable ATS is crucial to the success and efficiency of your remote hiring endeavours. Make sure that the platform you choose allows for easy online communication and quick and clear feedback to candidates. It would be worthwhile to invest in a system that allows you to upload candidate profiles digitally and host online registrations. Automated eligibility check, admit card generation and verification, and assessment shortlisting are also good features to look for. An ATS tuned to remote hiring needs leaves a positive impression on candidates and increases your employer brand value.
Use screening tests
Screening tests help you sift through thousands of resumes quickly to get to a usable shortlist of suitable candidates. It also helps you identify candidates who are appropriate for remote work. The skill sets required to be an efficient remote worker are slightly different. In addition to primary skill sets, communication skills, time management skills, and organisational skills are just some of the skills required. Remote workers also need to excel at remote collaboration and should be able to complete tasks without being micromanaged. You can set up screening tests that measure these characteristics of the candidate. Finding candidates who are a good cultural fit is essential to the ongoing productivity and success of your organisation. Make sure that your hiring partner is able to conduct tests to ensure that the candidate is a good cultural fit for your organisation.
Take steps to measure the candidates’ initiatives
The days of the factory mode of working, where an employee’s time and productivity was micromanaged, are long gone. This is the age of the conceptual worker, where independent thought and creativity are paramount. A key portion of your interview should focus on how the candidate has taken initiative and dealt with roadblocks that they might have encountered at work or in life. Ask them to describe a real-life scenario where they have done it. An interesting way to test such skills is to invite them to participate in a role play where they are on your team, and someone disagrees with a proposed plan of action.
Conduct skill-based proctored tests
It’s not just enough to evaluate the skill sets and certifications that candidates list through their resume. It’s crucial that you put their knowledge to the test. Virtual hiring platforms are now equipped to conduct proctored tests to evaluate your candidate’s technical and domain skills. You can choose to monitor tests live with human proctors or rely on AI-powered auto proctoring. Live proctors can verify the ID of candidates, monitor video and audio feeds, chat with candidates, pause tests, and disqualify candidates in case of violations. You can get a final score of high/medium/low/no suspicion for each candidate with AI-powered proctoring.
Live whiteboard and coding tests are special features that only dedicated AI assessment tools provide. You could also give your top candidates a small paid project that they could complete within 15 hrs. This way you can get a real feel of the candidate’s expertise.
Communicate expectations clearly
Defining and publishing a clear job description is essential to avoid any nasty surprises post-hire. Imagine if you hired a candidate with the expectation that they would need to be available for collaborative meetings from 10 AM – 2 PM in a particular time zone, while the candidate expected that they needed to work during normal office hours in their time zone. That’s food for conflict and confusion right at the beginning. It’s best if your job description details working hours, compensation and any other minute detail you might think is insignificant.
Here are some of the questions you could think of answering in the job description.
- Are you a remote-first or a remote-friendly company?
- Which time zones would be ideal for you?
- What are your workplace requirements? For example, does the candidate need to have a home office with high-speed internet?
Invest in time and resources
A shift from the traditional mode of hiring to remote hiring is not without its own set of challenges, both logistically and financially. Your hiring team will need to relook at their processes and procedures and pivot to accommodate the needs of remote hiring. You might even have to look at your current team and augment them with new members to meet the demands of this mode of hiring. It is also likely that you need to invest in new tools, software and other equipment to better integrate with a remote workforce. Your IT and HR departments may need to work in tandem to efficiently move to remote hiring. There are remote hiring platforms that you could plug into with minimal disruption to your existing processes.
The Landmines – The Don’ts
Don’t publish job openings without a strategy
Posting a job on online portals might seem like the obvious choice. In fact, it is a sure shot way to attract candidates. However, just posting everywhere and hoping to attract the right talent is not the way to go. It’s an employee job market out there and you need a clear strategy to maximise the outcome. It’s important to build a strategy on when and where you post your job openings. How you describe the job posting will impact how candidates interact with your posts. Ensure that the job posting aligns with and enhances your employer brand. In fact, treat the job postings as another way to increase your brand awareness.
Don’t assume that a good resume means a good culture fit
Always work with the mindset that a good resume does not necessarily translate into a good team player or candidate. Apart from the initial screening tests make sure that you have ample opportunity to interact with the candidate. It would be prudent to arrange for multiple levels of interactions with the candidate. Team members could be invited to have calls with the candidate and also interact with the candidate over emails.
Don’t hire without e-meeting the candidate
It’s never a good idea to hire without meeting the candidate in person. There’s a lot to be said about making that human connection. You can get to know the character of candidates based on their mannerisms, facial expressions and vocal intonations. Meeting the candidate in person might not be viable in a remote hiring environment. Yet, it’s essential to at least e-meet the candidate virtually through video interviews.
A hiring partner who can facilitate impersonation-proof interviews would be a real bonus. Your ability to conduct live video interviews, with screen sharing and whiteboarding will significantly enhance the chances of making the right hire.
You need employees who can think on their feet and adapt to new environments. Predictable interview patterns that the candidate can prepare for is not the best way to identify such candidates. Spend some time and effort to present job simulations that would bring out their problem-solving skills.
The advantages of virtual hiring have made it a phenomenon that is here to stay. Companies that invest in and adapt to this new employment reality will be ahead of the curve in their recruitment initiatives. A remote hiring strategy with clear vision and goals is the first step to guaranteeing success.
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