Hiring a person to join your team is always tricky. You have limited time to assess their skills and their fit for you and your team. The setting is, by its very nature, uncomfortable and awkward.
What happens in remote hiring and when hiring for a remote team is that we make it even trickier as we lose some of the comfort of meeting them face to face.
Our experience owning or being part of remote hiring processes for many years has given us some tips to help those who are shifting to a new, remote-team, reality. It’s never a perfect process but keeping it human, honest and yet consistent will help.
- Be yourself! The candidates need to see the human in you. They won’t be walking into your office or past your desk with photos of your family or the things that make you unique. You don’t have to do a full virtual house tour or rope your kids into being on video during your interviews and you shouldn’t be asking them anything that would be grounds for discrimination but be comfortable speaking with them human to human and not as some “bot” behind a screen. Remember, this is a two-way process and they also have to feel comfortable with you.
- Ensure you interact with the candidates the same way that you would if they were part of your team. Interview over video (camera on, fully present with limited distractions), communicate using chats, share documents via cloud, be responsive on emails in a way that you would expect and more. Use language that is natural to you and ensure they understand you.
- Make sure you have different opinions and perspectives. You may miss some key things If you have to do this solo. You can always ask trusted advisors, partners, volunteers, clients or even investors to join in an interview. If someone is invested, financially, or as a fan of your work, they may be more than willing to support you. One watch out – ensure that everyone involved in the interview process understands the company, the role being hired and is comfortable in interviewing in an ethical and appropriate way. They also should not be involved in any of the confidential bits of the process.
- Check on remote-readiness. Working on a fully remote team isn’t for everyone. Despite many having been forced to work this way recently, it should never be assumed that it suits all. Check carefully as to attitudes, comfort and experience on working fully remote. This can include asking how they stay connected with others, what style of manager/leader suits them and how they ensure that they balance their work day and other priorities. We seek out those who see the benefits in this flexibility and have good “practices” set up. This isn’t just about the tech setup (which is also very important) but the mindset. We also don’t just assume the team is good once they are on board. We check in with them, a lot, and share openly our own struggles and wins in this way of working.
- Embrace the diversity that a remote team offers. Often, we hire those we relate to or who is “similar’ to ourselves and that bias is there in the interview and selection process. Hiring a fully remote team has so many benefits but, for us, the biggest is that we get a very diverse team. We can hire introverts, extroverts, those who need/want flexibility due to family or life, those who live in more rural areas, those living and working all over the world, those who are housebound for whatever reason, those who thrive in non-traditional work setups, those who want to be nomadic and even just those who like working in their PJ’s. Embrace the “normalization” of this diversification and how open we should all be to every type of person. Your company will thrive in new and exciting ways and you will see richness even in meeting people in the interview process.
Stay connected for more ideas and learnings on how to really work effectively, and happily, in a remote way.