This Time, It’s Different—Here’s How to Recruit Top Talent in a Remote-First World

employees Recruiting recruitment

These are exceptional times. According to a  Gartner online poll of Asian HR leaders in March 2020, “among 805 organizations responding, 88% now encourage or require employees to work from home.” As COVID-19 continues its onslaught around the world, governments have turned to measures such as social distancing to disrupt the contagion. Doing so has caused the way we work to change forever.


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The benefits of remote working have long been studied and its benefits understood. It serves the needs of individual employees; provides businesses with new resilient and adaptive ways to engage with their ecosystem and deliver economic value; and, in this case, helps satisfy public health needs. However, given this sudden shift to remote working, the complexities of recruiting for a remote-first world have come to bear.

Remote Evolution

Remote talent recruitment is unique in its potential to recruit and retain a dependable and productive workforce, regardless of location. As companies adapt to handle this transformation, it is important for them to evolve their recruitment processes to work in more digital ways, even for roles that don’t necessarily involve “remote work.”

The methods organizations choose to assess, select, and onboard remote talent can become a complex maze of software, systems, and constant experimentation. Notwithstanding the current economic pressures, businesses need to find smarter ways to retain their best and brightest staff while keeping their talent pipelines full to accommodate any talent shortages that may arise, and they must do so quickly.

The transition to remote working requires the transformation of information management systems, collaboration models, and workflow models to maintain, sustain, and improve performance. It also brings additional risks of lost productivity, miscommunication, misalignment of work product, and other issues, all of which can undermine customer and stakeholder satisfaction.

In addition, not all employees are suited for remote working. This means companies need to pay attention to issues such as employee motivation, ensuring that remote working supports employees’ well-being, and accommodating any personal preferences, not just efficient working patterns, as well as ensuring employees have access to the tools, resources, and connectivity they need to succeed. Recruiting talent in this context will inevitably require a different approach.

A New Recruitment Approach

However, the fear among some organizations and HR practitioners is that remote recruitment will “redefine” traditional practices of how they approach recruitment and lay bare legacy systems of assessment and interviewing. This is a fair critique, but remote recruiting, when harnessed by the smart use of data, could also sharpen their ability to quickly identify and solve talent and talent-matching problems; find candidates with greater relevance to their business; and, in particular, capitalize on the sudden availability of a large pool of motivated talent caused by the COVID-induced economic downturn.

During this challenging time, it is essential that government and business work together to accelerate solutions. Through innovative technologies, organizations around the world can jump-start and simplify their remote workforce hiring. There is a need for a holistic approach to the remote hiring life cycle, from recruiting and onboarding to training, technology prep, and workforce acceleration.

Efficiency is imperative when companies are hiring, in addition to affording them the flexibility and cost-saving power they need to not only attract and retain workers but also help them easily meet the goals they set for new recruiting talent.

The future of work has arrived in full force. Improving organizations’ ability to attract and retain great employees is one of the biggest challenges they must address, not only to survive the current crisis but also to set themselves up for future success.

Vanessa Tierney is cofounder of, an ecosystem for new ways of working. Business services include remote work enablement, smart matching to remote working talent, and talent heat mapping. Having spent 20 years in talent acquisition and management supporting Fortune 1000 globally, Tierney has led remote teams since 2010 and delivers her expertise through Masters of Remote. Follow her on Twitter at @VanessaTierneyA.

Since 2017, over 350 global firms, including several Fortune 500 companies, have depended on Abodoo‘s smart working platform to jump-start and simplify their remote workforce hiring.

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