Outsourcing has become a popular business strategy for companies across the globe, and Latin America has emerged as a top outsourcing destination for US companies. The region offers several advantages, including a favorable time zone, a skilled workforce, and cost-effectiveness.
But before you can take advantage of these benefits, you need to recruit your Latin American talent. A sound recruiting strategy is key to finding the best talent. And a critical part of that strategy will be your screening process to identify the best of the best from a pool of many.
In this article, we provide seven tips to help you select and hire efficient and productive remote foreign workers that will align with your company’s values and add to the diversity of your team.
What Are the Steps in the Screening Process?
Screening candidates is only one part of a multi-faceted remote hiring process. The main purpose of the screening process is to filter a bulk of applications down to just the best ones before you get to the interview stage.
The three main steps in the screening process of potential remote employees include resume screening, phone screening, and skills testing.
You’ll likely receive numerous resumes for every vacancy you advertise, perhaps even hundreds if candidates apply through job-search sites. From those, you need to shortlist the top candidates that meet most or all your requirements.
For the candidates that meet the minimum requirements and look promising, check with their references to validate the content of their resumes.
Ask about their performance in their previous roles and other pertinent information, like how proactive they are.
Phone screening is not the same as the official interview. It’s mostly a phone chat about the applicant’s previous experience and background.
Does what they’re saying tally with what’s on their resume and what their references say? If yes, fantastic. But if not, they may have lied and are not worth the trouble.
During the conversation, you can also ascertain their communication and comprehension skills. Are they adequate for the role?
The next step is to assess the applicant’s technical skills. Some companies give candidates paid projects to see how they approach problems.
Other companies use proctored technical skills assessment platforms to conduct the tests. Examples of such tools include HackerRank, Codility, Mercer Mettl, and TestGorilla.
And some companies may use a combination of the two methods.
What Are the Different Strategies for Screening Candidates for a Role?
Different strategies to ensure hiring success include understanding what the company needs, considering the company’s culture and values, assessing the candidate’s long-term goals, having a phone screening interview, conducting skills tests, vetting skills and value alignment, and sharing job realities with the candidates.
1. Understand the company’s needs
The success of the screening process for any role starts way before you share the vacancy with the public. The company’s need may arise from a vacated position or an entirely new role being created to help a department manage its workload.
Irrespective, you must involve all stakeholders in the process. If it’s an entirely new department, you may need to make external consultations.
When talking with department heads and managers, discuss the team’s needs, not only for the short term but also the long-term vision of the position.
Ask them questions about what the role entails, such as:
- What skills are required to perform the responsibilities attached to the job?
- What kind of people succeed in the role?
- Does the role require a university degree?
- What certificates are equivalent to a university degree?
- What’s the level of experience needed for the position?
- What skills are the absolute must-haves?
- And what skills are nice to have but not critical?
Also, inquire about what success looks like and what key performance indicators (KPIs) capture that success. (This answer is essential to use during onboarding.)
This way, you can tailor the job ads specific to the role. In turn, you’ll be more likely to attract suitable applicants.
2. Consider the company’s culture and values
A Harvard Business Review study found that employees with a high level of cultural fit had fewer involuntary departures.
These employees also enjoyed “more promotions, more-favorable performance evaluations [and] higher bonuses.”
These findings summarize that employees who fit into the culture are more likely to be high performers than those who don’t.
For example, if the company is about thinking big, you need brave, courageous, and out-of-the-box thinkers as candidates.
From the onset, decide how to evaluate these values so that every candidate’s screening experience is the same. The company must answer questions such as:
- What are our values?
- What are the prevailing cultural norms in the company?
- What is the predominant organizational framework in the company?
- What traits must candidates have?
- What kind of roles must they have held?
- What working conditions (collaborative, independent) should the candidates prefer?
- How do we eliminate bias from the process?
It’s important to note that hiring for cultural fit must not be at the expense of promoting cognitive diversity. Cognitive diversity helps teams solve problems faster.
Hiring foreign workers promotes cognitive diversity. According to McKinsey, companies with more women and foreign nationals on the executive team are more likely to have better financial performance than those without.
3. Assess the candidate’s long-term goals
If a candidate has no long-term goals or can’t articulate them well, the role may be a detour for them. Such candidates could also see the job as a testing ground for their interest in a particular field. It may also just be that they have not had many opportunities recently.
On the other hand, candidates with clear and well-thought-out long-term goals will show you how the job fits into these goals. If their long-term goals are also at odds with the role, then it’s prudent to have concerns.
You can also use a candidate’s long-term goals to your advantage by showing them that there’s a pathway for their goals at your company. Doing this may give you an advantage if the candidate is also interviewing for other companies.
4. Do a phone screen interview
Some candidates may meet all the requirements on paper but just aren’t right for the role. Phone screening ensures such candidates do not waste your time during the official interviews.
Before calling the candidates, ensure you pool together excellent and well-thought-out questions. (We have a list of the best questions to ask during phone screenings here for your to use.) For example, inquire about their compensation expectations, availability, and interest in the job, and any questions you have about details on their resume.
Additionally, create a scoring rubric and scorecards to make your grading objective. Before every interview, ensure you’ve done the following:
- Identified the necessary questions to ask
- Read their resume
- Prepared details about the company and the role
- Avoided having favorites beforehand—give every candidate a fair chance
5. Hold a simple skills test
Give the candidates a skills test to determine whether they have the hard skills to prosper in the role. Hard skills are the activities a candidate will often perform in the role.
So, make sure the test is tailored specifically to the role. Don’t offer the same test for every job you advertise.
For example, data cleaning, extraction, and manipulation are the three primary responsibilities of a data analyst. Hence, test candidates on skills like SQL, Python, and using spreadsheets.
The test results will allow you to determine whether a candidate is underqualified irrespective of what their resume says.
6. Vet skills and value alignment
According to Danielle Monaghan, the Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition at Google Cloud, “Values alignment is one of the most important factors in retaining valuable talent.”
Value alignment can be the difference between two top candidates.
One of the ways to tease out a candidate’s values is to ask pertinent questions. For example, ask questions about their decision-making. Questions about how they handled a big decision or dealt with a conflict at work can reveal a candidate’s values.
You should also ask the candidates what they think about your company values and the type of values they’d rather the company have. This answer can tell if the applicant is job-hunting for any available role without specific direction.
7. Create a video sharing job realities
Letting a candidate know in full detail what the job entails will curtail misaligned expectations in the future.
Share a video with the candidate about what the day-to-day life of the role looks like.
In the video, ensure the following is clear:
- The kind of work they’ll do
- Their role as part of a larger team and mission
- To whom they’ll report
- How they’ll be evaluated; their KPIs and objectives and key results (OKR)
- Requirements like frequent travel
- Which remote work tools they will use to communicate with other remote or in-office employees
How Does Screening Candidates in LatAm Differ from Candidates in Other Regions?
Screening Latin American (LatAm) candidates is not very different from screening US-based candidates due to the cultural similarity and compatibility between the US and LatAm. You will likely only be screening applicants with proficiency in English, so even that won’t be a problem. (Remember to include an English test in your screening tests if a certain level of proficiency is crucial to the role.)
As such, if you do notice cultural differences during screening, consider them without assumptions or judgments. Cultural traits are often very positive; for example, many LatAm workers display a very strong work ethic.
When screening LatAm candidates, be on the lookout for these characteristics to employ effective remote workers:
- Strong communication skills
- Good English proficiency (the median English Proficiency Index of LatAm is 515 out of 800 points)
- Self-motivation and discipline
- Ability to work independently
- Qualifications necessary for the job
- Good attitude and work ethic
What Tools or Software Should You Use When Screening Candidates?
When screening potential remote workers, the right technology is important. Examples of essential tools or software you should use include:
Zoom and Google Meet
Either of these two video conferencing tools is great for conducting video interviews.
Microsoft Teams is similar to Slack but built on Microsoft’s Office 365 platform. You can use this tool for phone screening as well as online meetings.
VideoAsk is a video recording tool. We particularly like it because candidates can send pre-recorded video interviews. We then use these interviews to gauge the candidate’s communication skills before moving on to a live interview.
You may also like: 7 Tools and Software to Make Nearshoring Work for You
Whittling down a stack of job applications to a short list of the best candidates to build your remote teams may feel daunting. However, with the right preparation and approach, you can effectively screen candidates and find the best ones to take forward to the interviewing stage.
By following these tips, you will be one step closer to building a strong and diverse team of remote employees who can contribute to the success of your organization.
The LatAm market presents a fantastic pool of motivated and highly skilled candidates to meet your needs if you want to hire remote foreign workers and save 30–70% over hiring US-based workers.
Near can help you streamline and speed up your hiring process by taking care of all the screening. We will present you with a list of the top pre-vetted LatAm candidates for your job opening, which you can then interview for free.
We can help you hire and onboard top talent from LatAm within 21 days. Find out how we can help you by filling out this form.