Hiring Remote Employees

April 13th, 2022
Candidate Experience,
Employer Branding,
Recruiting Teams

Keys to hiring remote employees

Prior to the 2020s pandemic, working from home was a rarity, and might even require employees to take a “personal day.” But that all changed when mandatory lockdowns, mask-wearing, and social distancing necessary to curb the spread of the virus made conducting routine day-to-day business exceptionally challenging. There has been a dramatic shift in the workplace that demands businesses review their working and hiring processes to accommodate a work-from-home culture. 

Technology has changed the work lives of countless people by eliminating the need to drive long distances merely to clock in and start one's workday. It also made it unnecessary to herd employees into conference rooms for monthly or quarterly meetings. And for better or worse, it eliminated water cooler talk and general office gossip. Before COVID-19, remote working was a luxury afforded to only a few select employees. Now it’s the norm for salaried jobs. 

Although COVID-19 is, by all accounts, behind us now, many companies are still very much interested in hiring remote workers. Is your business prepared to successfully hire and retain new employees, measure their productivity and evolve into a new working world? Remote work is not going away any time soon, and your organization needs to be prepared.

Why small businesses and major corporations are still hiring remote employees

Although many companies have returned to hiring onsite employees only, not all are jumping on the proverbial bandwagon. Many small businesses and major corporations are still hiring remote employees, and there are several reasons why they are choosing to do so. According to Robert Half, a global human resource consulting firm in California, hiring remote employees offers employers the following benefits:

  • A reduced carbon footprint
  • A reduction in operating costs
  • Access to a broader talent pool
  • Better time management
  • Increased employee retention
  • Increased productivity

Remote hiring statistics and what they reveal about modern-day recruiting

In a post-pandemic world, employers are keen to hold on to things that proved beneficial when employees had no choice but to work remotely, such as video conferencing. The same applies to work management software and VPNs that allow remote employees to make secure network connections to in-house or cloud-based servers. Now that many employers have seen what is possible, many don't want to return to the old way of doing things. Current and would-be employees are echoing that same sentiment. And this is evidenced by the following:

  • An estimated 30% of remote workers say they are more productive and engaged working from home.
  • An estimated 55% of remote employees say they work more hours from home than in an office.
  • An estimated 32% of remote employees say they would quit their job if they were no longer allowed to work remotely.
  • An estimated 59% of remote employees say they will only seek employment opportunities with companies that allow employees to work from home.
  • 92% of employees expect to work from home 1 day per week and 80% expect to work 3 days or more per week.

Upwork estimates that 1 in 4 employees in the American workforce worked remotely in 2021 and that the trend will continue at least until 2025. That’s over 35 million Americans.

Employees are demanding flexibility. If you’re a company that refuses to allow remote working (and 44% of companies do not), it’s time to reconsider the work-from-home policy, even if it’s just one day a week. Otherwise, you may not be able to attract the best candidates. The good news is that employees are much more adept at using remote working software tools, including video conferencing, project management tools and cloud computing.

Money invested in digital transformation to accommodate a remote workforce will be money well spent.

(Stats/fact from Apollo Technical)

Attracting and hiring the best remote employees possible

Attracting and ultimately hiring remote employees is not quite the same as attracting and hiring in-office employees. Employers who want to add the highest caliber of employees to their workforce should speak in a language that prospective employees understand, and that vernacular should include:

Advertise location-independent job opportunities - Make it abundantly clear that your organization is open to interviewing and hiring workers irrespective of where they live.

Flexibility - Offer would-be employees hybrid work opportunities. After all, not all employees want to work remotely 100% of the time. Available data show some employees prefer splitting up their work week by working from home some days and in-office some days.

Hardware and software - Express to prospective employees that you're prepared to provide them with the tools necessary to make working from home both comfortable and productive. These tools should include laptops, desktop computers, headsets, and other must-have hardware and productivity software, such as Microsoft Office and Google Workspace.

Furnishing – While it might sound over the top, some companies are willing to outfit a room in a prospective employee's home with office furniture. Companies that go this extra mile tend to attract more applicants, and those who they do hire tend to stick with them long term.

Showcase your remote capabilities during the hiring process

If you can’t hire remotely, how can you work remotely? Make sure your hiring process is seamless, all digital and optimized for a mobile experience. Of course you want to showcase your remote workspace options to candidates, but you can also demonstrate you know what you’re doing if your remote hiring process is sharp and polished. 

Hiring software tools, like HireVue, can help manage your remote hiring process and integrate with your current ATS. From the first engagement through hiring and onboarding a newly hired candidate, these software tools automate and assist with every step in your digital hiring process, including communication and engagement, scheduling, structuring interviews, video interviewing, assessments and more.

Mistakes companies make hiring remotely

Nearly 1 in 4 employees would take a 10% pay cut to work from home on a permanent basis. That doesn’t mean you should try and pay them less, but it shows how much people want to work from home and why you should hone your remote hiring strategies. Some common mistakes for remote hiring include:

Skills training: From a management perspective, it’s more difficult to train and monitor remote employees. So, it’s imperative that your candidates have the right skills for the job, including being a self-starter. If a candidate wants to work from home, but needs a lot of supervision, they may not be the best fit for your company. Utilize skills assessment tests to ensure they have what you’re looking for, as well as being able to work independently.  

Bridge the gap: There is often a gap between the expectations of employers and employees in working remotely. It’s paramount that your candidates understand your policies from the start. It’s up to your remote hiring team to establish policies and stick with them. Do you expect remote workers to work regular hours or do they have a more flexible schedule? Do you have a dress code? Do you require daily check-ins? If possible, find out how candidates have performed in a remote working environment in their other jobs.

What’s your competition doing?

Companies are hiring remotely like never before. Major employers across the country are hiring thousands of remote jobs, as they now have the data to prove remote workers are happy, productive and want to stay that way.

It’s up to you to keep up to speed with the benchmarks in the remote hiring marketplace. Review what other companies are doing on their career websites, social media and other hiring channels. What are they promoting (or not)? What are their key messaging / differentiators? Are they hiring for similar job skills as you?  What is their mobile hiring experience like? And paying attention to the competition can also help you understand what’s missing from your remote hiring strategy.

It’s imperative that you’re keeping up and ideally leading the charge.

Putting it all together

Studies continue to show that both employers and employees benefit with some kind of work-from-home policy.

Employees save up to $500/year by not commuting.

Employers save up to $11,000 per remote employee.

We all breathe easier. The decline in commuting during the pandemic had a demonstrative impact on the environment.  If you live in a large city, you literally saw clearer days Monday through Friday during the pandemic.

Time is money. Eliminating the commute saved 9 billion hours between March and September 2020. People are more productive in a home office rather than sitting in a car or public transportation.

In summary, remote work is here to stay, and, much like in-office roles, attracting the best workers can be challenging. But it is certainly doable; it just takes patience and a good understanding of what today's remote and hybrid job seekers are looking for when they take to job boards, job fairs, and career websites looking for work. Whether it’s one day a week, full-time or a hybrid remote working environment, now is the time to make sure your hiring process is ready to handle this “new normal” in the workplace.