Hiring Remote Employees – The New Normal?
Prior to the pandemic, did your organization give serious consideration to hiring remote employees as a staffing strategy? If you didn’t, you probably have discovered, courtesy of “shelter in place policies, that any “knowledge-based” position like finance and accounting can be accomplished remotely providing you have the right tools and of course, the right talent.
When properly executed, a remote hiring strategy can be a win-win for both employee and employer. An exhaustive report by Owl Labs lays out critical statistics on the state of remote work and its impact on businesses. Key takeaways include faster recruitment times, significantly lower employee turnover, and a higher employee investment in their work than non-remote colleagues.
Prior to COVID 19, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report on remote employees that shows 16% of the total workforce working fully or partially remote. It is a trend that has only been acerbated by the pandemic. Remote workers will play a major role in the new normal, but recruiting them will require non-traditional processes. That is where Innovo Staffing and other professional recruiters can assist.
The Value Employment Agencies Bring to the Challenge
Just as your organization focuses on core competencies that make it a serious player in your industry, progressive, professional employment agencies strive to remain on top of employment trends, workforce composition, new recruiting methods and tools, and maintaining and expanding networks and areas of influence. In short, most agencies have more robust resources than their clients particularly if they are challenged by the digital transition.
Here is a quick rundown on what a staffing agency that is invested in the technology, culture, and recruiting processes required to hire remote employees can bring to a client:
- Because geography is not an issue, an established employment agency can give you access to the best match of talent anywhere in the country (or globe) utilizing their robust digital communication/messaging resources.
- Almost everything involved in the recruitment of remote workers falls outside of traditional recruitment processes. Because staffing companies like Innovo routinely recruit these workers, they have the techniques down cold eliminating the need for a client to build a new recruiting network.
- The ultimate objective is the same as traditional placement. Finding, evaluating, and presenting the talent best suited for the opportunity. How that is accomplished and how the client “sells” the organization varies significantly when hiring remotely. A qualified staffing agency will locate qualified candidates and assist the client in preparing a structured remote interview.</h3>
In short, using an employment agency to recruit your remote workers brings to bear significant resources, technology, and experience that may be missing in a traditional HR department.
Quantifying the Remote Employment Opportunity
Generic job descriptions will not be received well by remote talent. Remember, you are recruiting nationally. If you are a local or regional firm, odds are you will not have a “local” reputation for many qualified candidates. Selling the company is important as are the responsibilities of the position and the company culture. However, with a remote worker position, it Is important to include the communication and project management tools (Trello, Zoom, BaseCamp, Asana, Ring, etc.) that will be utilized and what routine communications will look like.
Your staffing agency Representative will work closely with you to craft a description of the opportunity that will capture the remote worker’s interest and speak to him or her in a language they both understand and can visualize.
Promoting the Remote Employee Opportunity
Even in today’s tricky economic environment, the best talent is typically not actively looking for a new opportunity. Traditional job boards like Monster are a resource of last resort. Reaching the best qualified remote workers means conveying the opportunity on channels that reach remote workers. Because developing talent databases is a key competency, recruiting companies have an exceptionally active social media presence. Messaging a client’s opportunity via social media platforms and other media is a fast, efficient method of reaching the best of remote talent.
Using Hootsuite messaging can be shared on any number of agency accounts including Facebook groups, WeWorkRemotely, Twitter, Messenger, AngelsList, Instagram, blogs, newsletters, and literally 100s of other apps. Some are brand builders; others are more work specific, but the idea is sending a message to an audience that is predisposed to read what the agency has to say. Building and maintaining these networks is time-consuming but the results make the effort worthwhile.
And then there are the agency’s databases and personal networks. Passive candidates who currently work remotely or expressed a desire to work remotely make an excellent talent pool to explore.
Identifying Remote Employee Characteristics
As you may have discovered during this pandemic, working from home is not for everybody. Some exceptionally effective talent simply need the face to face interaction of colleagues to bring out their best performance. Those that tend to thrive working at home have:
- Great Communication skills particularly in written communications
- Excellent collaboration skills
- Strong organizational skills
- Strong time management skills
Your employment agency can use pre-employment assessment solutions to evaluate the appropriateness for a remote position. In addition, your agency will conduct a video interview to assess how comfortable the candidate is with communicating via video media.
Working with your Hiring Manager, the staffing agency can create a series of questions that will allow assessment of a candidate’s strengths in key role requirements as well as how compatible the candidate’s values and culture matches the company’s. These are written questions requiring a written response. Using this technique can provide an insight into the candidate’s motivation, skill set, problem-solving skills and other key characteristics.
- Zapier, a 100% remote worker company, asks business development candidates “How would you get in touch with the following people (don’t actually contact them): Editor at Lifehacker, Andrew Warner, CEO of Slack?”
- WeWorkRemotely (WWR) has a host of relevant questions to ask a remote worker candidate including “What does work/life balance look like to you?”
- And of course, one question that can be used for any role “Why are you applying for this role? What makes you excited about our company?”
Candidates that make the first cut will typically be invited to a screening video interview conducted by the agency Representative. The interview is carefully scripted to cover key role requirements and equally important, selling the company as an employer.
Finalists are then presented to the client for interviews.
Staffing Agencies as Remote Hiring Partners
Simply put, hiring remote employees is a different experience for companies who only occasionally make remote hires. Typically, HR departments are not adequately equipped to accomplish the task in a timely fashion. A professional staffing agency can fill that gap providing expanded recruiting capabilities.
Remote employment is a trend that we believe will continue until it becomes a norm. Partnering with an effective, professional remote recruiting service is a smart, forward-thinking business decision.