With the New Year on the horizon, you may be looking to grow your team or replace former employees. And, chances are, you are considering a virtual or remote team member. Remote workers can infuse your business with fresh thinking and new energy. They can also help lighten the load and expand your reach. When you’re ready to find your virtual team, these five steps will help you get your remote hiring system on point.
1. Nail the job description
A key ingredient to successfully finding the right candidate is understanding precisely what you want this person to do on the job. Once you’ve settled on the needs, it’s time to assign a job title and write a job description.
The right job title helps you attract relevant candidates to your posting. Think of your job title as your headline. Match the title to the duties of the job, avoiding vague or cute titles. For example, suppose you are looking for someone to help manage your social media accounts and pitch in as a virtual assistant. In that case, the job title should be Social Media Manager or Virtual Assistant versus Special Assistant or Social Guru.
A top-notch job description focuses on the goals of the role and how it fits into the organization. Also include an overview of job responsibilities, desired skills and information about how you expect the remote work situation to operate, such as availability expectations and technical skills. Consider the things that matter to you and your team when writing the job description. Are there skills or habits missing from your current team? (Perhaps design skills or someone happy to take early morning customer calls?) Thinking about your team and organization’s dynamics can make it easier to know more about who you are looking for when you start your search.
2. Find the right recruitment vehicle
Many options are available to help you find the right virtual team member. More traditional avenues include social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn or job boards such as Indeed or Monster. These sites have a broad reach, and you are likely to receive thousands of resumes. You can save time and money by turning to a site dedicated to connecting driven professionals looking for remote work with small businesses.
Consider a niche platform, like WeHireHeroes.com for veterans or HireMyMom.com. Using a platform like this is a great way to source qualified candidates specifically and seriously seeking remote work.
3. Screen your candidates
Once resumes start rolling in, establish a screening process to narrow your search.
Start by reviewing cover letters. Ask applicants to include specific details in their cover letter so you can quickly weed out those who are not paying close attention to your job requirements. Move on to resumes for those who pass the cover letter test. Look for those who are presented professionally and speak to the traits and skills you are seeking.
Ask for applicants to include a link to their portfolio, if applicable, to evaluate the quality and efficiency of work before reaching out to them. Consider a skills test for candidates who most interest you. This can help you determine their personality traits and competencies. A good one to consider is 123Test.com.
4. Conduct interviews
Once you are ready to meet applicants, decide how you want to conduct interviews. A phone interview is a quick and easy way to have a short, initial interview with an applicant. Keep the interview questions easy and conversational at this stage. Let the candidate explain why he/she is right for the role rather than quizzing them on specific skills. For example:
- Based on the goals of this role, why do you think you are a good match for the position?
- How does this role fit into your career trajectory?
- What are you really good at professionally?
Once you screen applicants by phone, use Zoom or Skype for a second interview and a chance to interact with the top applicants more fully through video chatting. Make the most of this time by asking the right questions.
Probe for experience working from home and the soft skills that make a successful virtual team member. Look for communication skills, teamwork and a can-do attitude. After each question, follow up with “Tell me more” or “Why?” to gain more insight into the candidate and their performance, work ethic and skill level. Allow ample time for the interview process. Conducting interviews that are too short and don’t give you an accurate representation of the candidate can result in frustration for both parties and a bad hire.
5. Check references
Once your interviews are complete and you’ve selected your top candidate, check references. The traditional route involves asking the applicant for the names and contact information of three people who can speak to their skills and general work habits. You can also check your applicants’ LinkedIn profile and social media accounts to get a better feeling of the person. This is an important step when hiring remote team members as you want to have a broader sense of the person you are hiring.
The last step of the selection process is to check the candidate’s references. This will be an opportunity to see what others think of them.
Taking the time to get a complete picture of someone’s work history, personality, strengths and weaknesses will help you determine who is the best match for your role. Knowing what you want and your goals will help guide you in the interview process.
And, enjoy the process!
Hiring the right candidate with the right skills for the right job can dramatically impact your company’s productivity, outcomes and goals. Your biggest asset is usually those you place on your team. They can help you succeed, or they can hold you back. Embrace the opportunity and the process to find the right fit.