Remote work is here to stay. According to an Indeed survey, 82% of employers are conducting interviews virtually, and 93% plan to continue using them in the future.
Employers of all sizes must learn how to hire remote workers and adapt their recruitment practices to this new normal. A remote hiring process will help streamline your hiring decisions and evaluate all candidates fairly, but there are many practices and challenges for leaders to consider.
By the end of this article, you’ll know the ins and outs of the hiring process—from timelines, interviews, skill tests, and making an offer. Discover how to hire workers virtually and accelerate your path to forming and scaling an online team.
What Is a Remote Hiring Process?
A remote hiring process is a technology-enabled process of identifying, attracting, screening, shortlisting, interviewing, and onboarding candidates for a job remotely rather than in an office setting. The process may involve phone and video interviews, pre-employment assessment tests, projects, work samples, panel interviews, filtering candidates, and onboarding.
A remote hiring process differs from a traditional, in-person hiring process in that it relies on digital communication and tools rather than face-to-face interaction. All aspects of the hiring process, including the initial application, resume submission, interviews, and onboarding, are conducted online.
On the other hand, a remote hiring process may be less personal and may provide a different level of interaction than a traditional in-person hiring process. It can also be more challenging for companies to get a sense of a candidate's fit with the company culture when they’re not meeting in person, as this minimizes connection and non-verbal cues such as body language.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of remote work and opened the world to remote hiring. Many companies that had not previously considered hiring remotely have had to adapt to remote work and have discovered the benefits of remote hiring. The use of remote hiring processes continues to increase even as the pandemic subsides.
Why Is Having a Hiring Process Important?
There are several reasons why companies may benefit from implementing a remote hiring process. Here are a few:
- Increased talent pool: By allowing candidates to apply from anywhere, companies can access a much larger pool of remote foreign employees. This can be particularly beneficial for companies in areas with limited talent or for those looking for specific skills that are scarce in their local job market.
- Cost savings: Hiring remotely can reduce or eliminate the need for expensive relocation packages, as well as the costs associated with hosting on-site interviews.
- Improved retention: Remote work has proved to improve employee retention and satisfaction, as it allows individuals to have greater flexibility and control over their work environment.
- Increased productivity: Research has shown that remote workers are often more productive and happy than their in-office counterparts, as they can eliminate distractions and focus on their work.
- Better employee experience: By offering the option to work remotely, companies can attract top talent who value a good work-life balance and may be unable to relocate for a job. As candidates are increasingly mindful of their autonomy and employee experience, this means a boost in employer brand to support ongoing and future hiring efforts.
Overall, a remote hiring process can help companies access a wider pool of qualified candidates, reduce costs, improve retention and productivity, and attract top talent who value work-life balance.
4 Strategies for Success With a Remote Hiring Process
1. Avoid a messy hiring process and save a lot of time by creating a system upfront:
Common mistakes managers make in a remote hiring process can severely damage the candidate experience and affect your employer's brand. Here are some examples that hiring managers should avoid to save time and frustrations:
- Long interview processes: A lengthy interview process with multiple rounds of interviews can be frustrating for candidates and can lead to a high drop-off rate as they lose interest in the opportunity. It is important to balance the need for thorough evaluation with the need to move the process along efficiently, especially when dealing with candidates who have multiple offers in a competitive landscape.
- Irrelevant tests or projects: Requiring candidates to complete tests or projects that are not directly relevant to the role or take up an excessive amount of time may turn off top talent.
- Lack of communication: Failing to keep candidates informed about the status of their application or the next steps in the process can lead to confusion and frustration. If the shared timeline is not honored, employers should provide regular updates and be responsive to candidates' inquiries.
- Poor use of technology: If the remote hiring process relies on new technology, ensure that the necessary tools are working properly and that candidates are comfortable using them.
2. Keep candidates happier and more motivated throughout the hiring process
A digital hiring process may be intimidating to some candidates, especially those who are less tech-savvy. Consider the following to design a great interview process that will engage candidates and keep them moving through the entire hiring process with anticipation:
- Make sure hiring managers accurately champion and represent the company: Hiring managers are often the primary point of contact for candidates and play a critical role in the hiring process. Ensure that hiring managers accurately represent the business and that they can clearly articulate the expectations and responsibilities of the role.
- Be honest with the candidate’s salary expectations: Honesty is crucial in the hiring process, and this includes being upfront about salary expectations. By being transparent about the salary range for the role, candidates can make an informed decision about whether the opportunity is a good fit for them.
- Try to be flexible with interview hours: Candidates working full-time jobs may have limited availability for interviews. By being flexible with interview hours, companies can accommodate the schedules of busy candidates and make the process more convenient for them.
3. Identify and hire the best candidates faster
Speed is of the essence when it comes to hiring the best candidates on the market.
Chances are, the best talent for your open roles already has competitive jobs in your industry. If they're in an interview process, they're likely involved with other companies too and may end up having multiple offers. Move fast if you don't want to lose them.
To attract the best candidates, it is also important to consider the factors that top talent prioritize, such as a competitive salary, a great culture, and work-life balance. By offering a compelling package and a positive work environment, companies can stand out to top candidates and increase their chances of having their offers accepted by candidates of the best fit.
4. Avoid bad hires and miscalculations
A bad hire can cost you 30% of your first-year employee's salary, plus additional resources like training and ramp-up time. That’s why organizations should make every interview count with the right people from your organization, asking the right questions every step of the way.
To steer clear from miscalculations and risk hiring the wrong people, make sure to:
- Use reference checks: Asking for and checking references can provide valuable insights into a candidate's past performance and can help to identify potential red flags.
- Use assessments: Assessments can be a useful tool for evaluating candidates' skills and abilities. It is important to choose assessments that are relevant to the role and that provide valuable insights into candidates' capabilities.
- Consider experience and cultural fit: In addition to evaluating candidates' skills and qualifications, it is important to consider their past experience and how well they may fit into the company culture.
- Have a structured onboarding process: A structured onboarding process can help to ensure that new hires are effectively integrated into the company and have the support and resources they need to succeed.
- Use performance reviews from the get-go: Regular performance reviews can help to identify any issues or areas for improvement and can provide an opportunity for feedback and coaching. This can help to prevent poor performance and ensure that employees are meeting the expectations of their role.
What Is a Good Hiring Process For a Remote Job?
Here are the steps of a good and effective hiring process:
Step 1: Attract remote candidates
Step 2: Screen remote candidates — Resume screening, phone interviews, and aptitude tests
Step 3: Skill assessments and test projects
Step 4: Narrow down to 2-3 candidates and make a decision
Step 5: Send out the offer to the winning candidate
Step 6: Onboard the new remote hire
Step 1: Attract candidates for your open remote roles
There are several ways to attract remote workers in the digital world— utilizing a variety of inbound and outbound recruitment channels, such as job boards, social media, and employee referrals can help to reach a larger pool of qualified candidates. Here are some tools where businesses may find success in seeking remote candidates.
Let’s take a look at some of the inbound methods of attracting work-from-anywhere workers:
- Job boards: Using job boards like LinkedIn (yes we know LinkedIn is almost it’s own category and is much more than a job board) and Indeed can be an effective way to attract qualified candidates actively search for opportunities based industry, and job title. There are many job boards specifically for remote work opportunities and flexible work arrangements, including RemoteHub, FlexJobs, NoDesk, and Truly Remote. It is important to carefully review the job boards and determine which ones are the best fit for your company and the specific role.
- Professional groups: Joining and participating in professional groups or communities related to the needed role can be a great way to connect with potential candidates. This can include online groups or forums such as Reddit, Whatsapp, or Telegram groups, as well as in-person networking events.
- Blogging and content marketing: Creating and sharing valuable content related to the company and the needed role can help to attract top talent through employer brand and establish the company as a thought leader in its industry. If you have high traffic on your website through your company blog, take advantage and create a system like a weekly newsletter for people to sign up and notify them of career opportunities.
- Social media: Companies can use social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to promote job openings and engage with potential candidates. This can be particularly effective for targeting specific industries or skill sets that are active on particular social media platforms.
- Remote staffing agencies: Several agencies specialize in helping companies hire remote talent with a database of jobseekers. Some examples include Lightcast and Anequim.
- Nearshore outsourcing platforms: Near can help you hire top talent in Latin America within a short time frame. Nearshore outsourcing platforms typically have a pool of pre-vetted candidates who are ready to work remotely.
On top of the many channels we’ve explored, recruiters can also hire via outbound channels:
- Recruiter outreach: For hiring positions in technical fields such as web developers, recruiting outreach is popular on platforms like LinkedIn, Github, and Stackflow. Through these channels, hiring managers can effectively initiate conversations if they’re keen on reaching out to specific candidates they’ve identified to be a perfect match but who may not be actively looking for a new job.
- Tap into your existing network with employee referrals: Encouraging current employees to refer qualified candidates can be a valuable source of talent. Companies can incentivize employee referrals to encourage participation.
Step 2: Conducting successful screening and interviews for remote candidates
Candidate screening is the first step to a comprehensive remote hiring process. It's important to be thorough and systematic when screening candidates. A strong remote interview process can help ensure that you hire the best fit for the role.
- Review resumes: Start by reviewing resumes to identify talented candidates who have the skills and experience necessary to succeed in the role. Pay particular attention to any relevant education, work experience, and essential skills that are listed on the resume.
- Administer aptitude tests: Aptitude tests can be useful to assess whether a candidate is fit for the role by measuring their cognitive abilities and personality traits. Some platforms offer aptitude tests, such as Criteria Corp and Culture Index. These tests can help you gauge cultural fit as well.
- Have a screening call: Once you have identified a potential match, schedule a screening call with the candidate to gather more information about their profile and answer their questions about the job. This is the first job interview, and it can be an opportunity to learn more about the candidate's background, experience, goals, and English level to assess their fit for the role.
Set up your screening calls with a clear structure as follows:
- Warm up the conversation with initial icebreakers and introductions. At the start of every interview, allow candidates to present themselves, their relevant experiences, and what they’re all about.
- Provide a summary about the company and explain basic contract modalities, such as salary and expected working hours. Follow through with a summary of the job responsibilities.
- Save time for an open Q&A, where candidates can ask questions about team structure, collaborators, perks, and other considerations that are top of mind.
Subsequent interview rounds allow candidates to meet with the relevant parties and understand the role and responsibilities on a deeper level. You also identify if the candidate has the relevant skills to succeed on the job, and dive into administrative details such as working terms, benefits, and contractual agreements.
Video interviews are an efficient way to engage with candidates and can provide an opportunity to get a sense of a candidate's communication skills and personality. We’ve created a round-up of popular questions to learn about your candidate, as well as other criteria for you to think about during in-depth interview sessions.
- Identify the candidate’s current situation
- Are they currently employed? If so, why are they looking for a new job?
- If they plan to work multiple jobs or gigs, what is their current schedule, and how will they manage their time?
- Is there other information that the company should know about the candidate or things to clarify from their resume?
- Gauge the candidate's quality and timeline
- Why are they interested in this particular role?
- What’s their earliest start date?
- Do they have pending job offers from other companies?
- Are they relocating any time soon?
- What career plans do they have in the long term?
- Clarify working terms
- Are they willing to work as an independent contractor/ full-time?
- What’s their salary expectation. Does it match the range you have in mind?
- Are they comfortable working remotely in your organization's timezone?
- Determine how candidates will fit in with your current team
- What are their communication styles and how do they approach teamwork?
- What is their ideal work culture and does it reflect that of your business?
- Verify their ability for the position
- Ask technical, skill-based, and behavioral questions related to the role
- Verify their experience and proficiency in relevant software and tooling
Step 3: Skill assessments and test projects
Test projects and assignments can help you assess a candidate's abilities to perform the job. Explore some examples of skill tests that apply to different types of roles:
- IT roles: Consider having candidates complete a tech assignment or participate in a technical interview to assess their thought processes and knowledge.
- Marketing roles: Ask candidates to provide a portfolio of their work or to complete a take-home challenge that involves writing a case study.
- Finance and accounting roles: Administer candidates with a test that examines their skill in harnessing Excel, Quickbooks, ERP solutions, or other relevant tools.
- Customer service, virtual assistant, and sales roles: For these customer-facing roles, assess the candidate's communication and problem-solving skills and make sure they have access to a smooth internet connection. You may also want to give candidates real-time test cases such as writing tests or role-playing exercises.
Step 4: Narrow down to 2-3 candidates and make a decision
After all the interview rounds, are you struggling to make a hiring decision? Evaluate the following after you’ve narrowed down to your best 2-3 candidates.
- Gather feedback from team members: If you have a team that will be working with the new hire, ask them what they think about the top candidates. This gives you a sense of how well the candidate would fit in with the team and whether they would be successful for the role.
- Holistic evaluation: Your selected candidate probably has one of the highest-scoring profile for the position. But also factor in your team member’s feedback, cultural fit, reference checks, and soft skills.
- Don't immediately disqualify the rest: In a competitive hiring environment, wait until the first candidate has accepted the offer and has been onboarded before disqualifying the other candidates. This can help ensure that you have a backup plan in place if the first candidate decides not to accept the offer or if something goes wrong during the onboarding process.
Step 5: Sending out an offer
After you’ve gone through the previous steps, move forward with the candidates that meet your criteria and are a great match for the role. The ideal candidates will align with all the identified must-haves of the job description and demonstrate an advanced English level.
When you are ready to send an offer make sure that it considers all the agreed-upon terms as it relates to salary, additional perks, and remote working arrangements.
Step 6: Onboarding a remote employee
Congratulations! You’ve received a signed contract and are preparing to welcome your new teammate to your team.
Engagement comes with the first interaction of your onboarding program. Delegate onboarding to one of your top contributors to guarantee a successful onboarding process, and enable your new hire to thrive. Here are some things to consider for a smooth start:
- Pre-boarding: Get your new hires prepared for their first day on the job. This can include providing a detailed schedule of day one or week one, and sending it to the new hire before their welcome call, as well as any necessary paperwork or documents that need to be completed during the first few days.
- Share company values: Help employees buy into your company's values and mission and help them understand what your company stands for by explaining the importance of their role and how it impacts the business. This enables new team members to see the value they can bring to the organization.
- Provide time to learn and rest: Onboarding can be an overwhelming learning curve, so give new joiners ample time to learn at their own pace. Consider breaking up the onboarding process into smaller chunks, and giving new hires breaks or time to rest between sessions.
- Explain the role: Make sure to clearly explain the new hire's role and responsibilities, as this can help them understand what you expect of them and how their work fits into the company's goals.
- Introduce relevant collaborators: Start helping new hires gain rapport with team members, managers, and any other stakeholders who will be working with them on tasks, projects, or initiatives. This can help them feel connected and supported as they begin their new role.
What are the Tools and Resources Used for Remote Hiring?
There are many tools out there to support your remote hiring process. Let’s take a look at some of them and how you might use them to handle candidate communications and assessment:
VideoAsk is a survey tool that allows companies to create interactive video questionnaires that can be used for recruiting and onboarding. VideoAsk is great to screen candidates, ask follow-up questions, or gather feedback during the hiring process.
2. ATS (Applicant Tracking System):
An ATS is a tool that allows companies to track and manage job applications and resumes. You can use an ATS to organize and store resumes, schedule interviews, and track the status of candidates throughout the hiring process.
3. Google Workspace:
Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite) is a suite of productivity tools that includes Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and other tools. Google Workspace can be used to communicate with candidates, schedule interviews, and collaborate on documents during the hiring process.
BoldSign is an electronic signature tool that allows companies to collect electronic signatures on documents. Use BoldSign to securely sign and send documents such as job offers or onboarding paperwork to candidates during the hiring process.
Slack is a team communication and collaboration platform. Slack is a popular platform to discuss the many candidates and collaborate with your hiring team during the hiring process.
Figma is a design and prototyping tool. You can use Figma to collaborate with candidates on design projects or to share design mockups and prototypes during the hiring process.
7. LinkedIn Recruiter:
LinkedIn Recruiter is a tool that allows companies to search for and connect with potential candidates on LinkedIn. You can use LinkedIn Recruiter to find and message passive candidates who may not be actively looking for a new job.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Remote Hiring Process
What do you need to look for in a candidate in a fully remote position?
When looking for a candidate for a fully remote position, consider technical skills, communication style, previous experiences, as well as cultural fit with your organization.
Are all candidates fluent in English?
Not all candidates will be fluent in English, especially when hiring remotely and attracting an international pool of candidates. Hiring managers must consider the language requirements for the role and assess the candidate's language skills during the hiring process. If English fluency is a requirement for the role, consider including internationally recognized language skills tests (such as TOEFL and IELTS) to gauge English fluency during the interview process.
What’s the ideal time zone difference with a candidate?
Most businesses would benefit from having employees in similar time zones to facilitate easier meeting communications and collaboration. This makes it easier to manage workflows and get quicker response times from your remote staff to hit those important deadlines. For example, nearshoring in Latin America will benefit US companies as they enjoy negligible time differences.
How long should it take to hire remote talent?
The length of time it takes to hire remote talent will depend on a variety of factors, including the complexity of the role, the availability of candidates, and the number of stages in the hiring process. Some tools help optimize the remote hiring process, for example, platforms like Near can help hire international candidates within 21 days.
How long should onboarding take?
Encompassing preboarding, onboarding, training, and contributing, the entire onboarding process of a new hire varies from company to company. Catering to learning curves and ramp-up time, HR professionals generally agree that typical employee onboarding should take around 3 months.
Businesses are increasingly choosing to hire remote workers for various reasons, such as to access a wider pool of talent, reduce overhead costs, or increase flexibility and productivity.
The best strategies for hiring remote workers include clearly defining the role, diversifying recruitment channels, screening candidates thoroughly, and setting up an effective onboarding process. Hiring managers ought to verify candidates according to criteria, communicate early, and set clear expectations to avoid disappointment!
Hiring foreign remote workers can strongly benefit your business, especially in a competitive talent market. Fill out this form to get a list of excellent pre-vetted candidates from Latam that you can start interviewing for free.