hiring strategy

by Chuck Chapman, Content Strategy Coordinator

Is your hiring strategy keeping up with the changes in the work force? Just because you’re using LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster or some other form of digital networking doesn’t mean it is. Nobody, even traditional businesses with co-located employees, is centering their strategy around a want ad in the local paper or hanging out the old “Help Wanted” sign in the front window.

If you’re a business that employs remote workers, whether that’s full-time, part-time or temporary contract employees, you’re going to have to go beyond merely using the internet to cull your candidates. You’re going to have to change and adapt your hiring strategy to meet the new challenges of a remote work force.

Geography is no longer a limiting factor.

This is perhaps the most impactful change that remote work brings. Even with the ability to reach and recruit more candidates with the help of digital partners like Indeed or Monster, co-located businesses still must deal with the simple restriction that candidates must live or be willing to relocate to your area. That narrows the choices considerably. For many positions, that means companies might sacrifice qualifications for the simple ease and lesser expense of hiring a local candidate.

That’s not an issue for remote employers. Assuming the candidate has the ability to hook in to your technology, you now can hire people without the hassle (for you and them) of worrying about where they live. That means you have the freedom to be particular about the candidate you’re looking for. Have a firm list of qualities and skills you’re searching for and you can be much more confident you’ll find someone who fits your profile, even if your office is in Boston and they’re in Boise.

Value behaviors over skills.

As the Baylor study I wrote about previously alluded to, finding the right behavioral match for your opening is more important than finding the right set of skills. Skills can be learned, and chances are they’re going to have to adapt their skillset for your organization anyway. Behavior is far more ingrained and can cause much bigger problems for your team.

Make sure you’re assessing to find the right mindset that fits your organizational culture and that is conducive to productive remote work. And be wary of those candidates out there (yes, they exist) who might be looking to use remote work as a cover for not being held accountable or deficiencies in their ability to work with teams. Unless you’re truly hiring a contract or free-lance “gun for hire” for a specific role on one specific project, how they fit into the rest of the team’s framework should be at the top of your list of qualifiers.

Make your team part of the hiring strategy.

Don’t silo off the remote hiring process to just yourself or HR. Involve your team, particularly those with whom the candidate will be working closely. A later round of interviews should include chats with these current team members to see if there’s a good fit.

Be clear about what perks you’ll offer.

Will you be giving the new hire a laptop or desktop computer to use? What about any other hardware, software or office needs? And don’t forget about “traditional” perks like 401Ks, health insurance, vacation time or paid time off. Wise hiring managers won’t wait until negotiating time to talk about these perks. If you don’t offer these, it could be a deal-breaker. Best for you and them to get that out of the way early. If you are offering them, it could be the difference between you getting the candidate you want or them choosing another offer. Remember, even though your pool has increased, it’s still a very competitive market out there, particularly for skilled technical people.

Use your technology during the interview.

As we write about all the time here, remote work presents unique challenges. The biggest of these is communication. Incorporate the modes and methods you’ll be using to communicate with new hires into the interview process. E-mail, text messages, phone and video conferences are all going to be part of the everyday routine for whomever you choose. You can quickly gage their familiarity and expertise using these tools by employing them during the interview.

Building a successful remote team requires a lot of moving parts. If your hiring strategy doesn’t account for those, you risk wasting a lot of valuable time and resources only to make a choice that doesn’t work out.

One of the components we would recommend be a part of your hiring strategy is utilizing a DISC assessment to look at a candidate’s communication style. If you want to learn more about DISC and how to apply it with your remote team, our courseĀ Using DISC for Remote Team Communication is the perfect solution.

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