How to Hire a Remote Team Member With Confidence

 


Is the prospect of hiring new team members daunting when you can't meet them in person? Follow these steps and tips to feel good about your choice.

Chances are you're now a pro at remote work. Since COVID-19 has moved so many jobs to home offices, businesses are looking at remote teams with new eyes and considering how this change affects their business strategy going forward. You may even be considering expanding your team with new remote workers. This offers some important advantages:

  • You have access to a larger talent pool. With remote workers, you aren't limited to the available hires in your local area; you can hire a team member anywhere in the country.

  • By finding a remote team member in another time zone, you increase coverage hours for your business.

  • It reduces your real estate costs. Virtual team members work from home, which means no need to provide office space. 

  • You save money on benefits and insurance if you hire independent contractors

  • You and your team have the ability to work when, when, and how you want. Many studies have shown higher job satisfaction for those who have flexible schedules. Higher job satisfaction usually translates to higher productivity and team members who will stay with your company longer. 

  • You can hire the best candidate for each particular role instead of hiring one person to do many roles that may not be their specialty. For instance, you could hire a social media manager, virtual assistant, and bookkeeper all on a part-time basis instead of one admin person who tries to do all three jobs but probably is not highly skilled in all three areas. 

With so many reasons to hire a remote team member, you may be wondering how to do this. It's one thing to move established team members to home offices, but hiring new remote team members takes a different set of skills. These tips will help you find and hire the right virtual team member for your needs.

1. Nail the job description.

The first part of this is finding the right job title. Creating the right job title helps you attract relevant candidates to your posting. Think of your job title as your headline. Consider the roles and responsibilities you want your new hire to take on and match the job title and description to those duties. For example, if you are looking for someone to help manage your social media accounts, the job title should reflect that responsibility. 

Then, create a meaningful and accurate job description. It should include these elements:

  • An overview of the responsibilities (perhaps after tracking and writing down the pertinent tasks for a week to make this step easier)
  • Your goals for the role
  • The skills and background necessary to succeed in the role
  • Any specific hardware or software knowledge and skills the candidate should have
  • An explanation of why the job matters to your company
  • Details of how you expect the remote relationship to work
  • The traits and qualities you are looking for in a candidate
  • The number of hours you expect (if it's a part-time role) 
  • The hourly pay or salary

2. Create a plan to find candidates.

Many options are available to help you find the right virtual team member. More traditional options include social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn and job boards such as Indeed or Monster. These sites have a wide reach, and you are likely to receive thousands of resumes if you post your job opening on them. If you do not have a human resources department or person, this can be quite daunting to handle. Not many small businesses have the manpower or time to review hundreds or thousands of resumes. 

To make this process more manageable, consider a niche platform, like Hire Heroes USA for veterans, Codeable for WordPress experts, and HireMyMom.com for moms seeking flexible remote opportunities. Whereas some businesses get upward of 900 resumes for a single job opening on the larger platforms, on the smaller job posting sites, it's more common to get 20-50 quality applicants. Using niche platforms is not only a timesaver but a great way to source qualified candidates who are specifically looking for remote work and have the particular skill set you are looking for. 

If you are looking for someone in or near your time zone, this is also a consideration for the platform you use. Some sites restrict access to certain areas or countries to help businesses find candidates in or near their time zone more easily. 

3. Screen your candidates.

Once resumes starting rolling in, establish a screening process based on the traits you hope to find in your candidate. Here are some tips:

  • Start by looking at cover letters. Ask applicants to include specific details or key phrases in their cover letter so you can easily 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 the resumes that are presented professionally and speak to the traits and skills you are seeking.

  • Ask applicants to include a link to a portfolio of their work, if applicable to the job. This lets you evaluate the quality of the applicant's work before reaching out to them.

  • Consider a skills test for the 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 and check references.  

Once you are ready to meet applicants, decide how you want to conduct interviews. A phone call is an easy way to hold a short initial interview with a candidate. Turn to Zoom and Skype calls for a chance to interact with the applicant more fully through video chat. 

No matter what platform you use, make the most of it by asking the right questions. Here are 10 interview questions to ask for a good starting point. Add questions specific to the role and your company's needs. The better your questions, the better the chances of getting the insight you need to make the best selection. 

Once your interviews are complete and you've selected your top candidates, check their 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 their LinkedIn profile and other social media accounts to get a better sense of the person. 

5. Create a job offer.

Next, it's time to make the official job offer. This usually starts with a verbal offer by phone, followed by a written offer letter. The job offer should include these details of the arrangement:

  • Start date and training information
  • The job classification (part-time, full-time, contract-based, etc.)
  • Any employment conditions, such as a probationary period or contract term
  • Pay information, such as an hourly rate or salary
  • Payment processing information
  • Expected work hours, if certain hours are required
  • Any other perks, such as vacation time, benefits or discounts

Job offers vary based on whether you are adding this person to your payroll or hiring them as an independent contractor. Check out "7 Essentials to an Independent Contractor Agreement" for additional help. 

Remote workers can infuse your business with fresh thinking and new energy. They can also lighten your load and expand your reach. Armed with these tips, you are ready to find your new team members. Good luck!