Remote Hiring Needs - How to Hire from a Distance

Feb 11, 2021

How to Hire from a Distance. All about Remote Hiring

As the spread of the corona virus continues to progress it is also becoming increasingly noticeable in the economy. That is having remarkable effects not only for the workforce itself but also for the recruitment process. Some companies have moved to freeze hiring, but many others are continuing to recruit to prevent a business slowdown. Read our blog post on why especially now is the best time to get the best talents

In the last few weeks more and more companies sent their teams into home office in order to contain the outbreak of the Corona Virus. This has an impact on many internal company processes and requires companies to use online tools like @Zoom or @googlehangouts even more. Video Conferencing Apps have risen nearly five fold since the Start of the year The sudden switch to remote work does not only affect the day-to-day-business but also the hiring process. Remote hiring has different requirements and you should consider some special features.If your company is looking to fill positions right now, you will need to adapt your regular recruiting efforts and keep your candidate pipeline full in this new remote work landscape.Many who are used to in-person interviews will have to switch to virtual screening processes for the first time and figure out new ways to best convey themselves and their company online. In the following we want to share some best practice tips and tricks on how to recruit the best candidates for your team:

1. Set up a Remote Hiring Plan and set up Specific Criteria 

First of all like in every other hiring process you need to be clear about the characteristics the candidate should fulfill. The easiest and most efficient way to gain insights about the job is to talk to everyone in the team related to the position to be filled. In this way you ensure to have a clear vision of all the criteria you are looking for. In addition, steps should then be taken to structure and organise the recruitment process. Here are some common steps in filling a position:

  • Determine your recruiting budget (job boards, social media ads/boosted posts, membership in various job communities, etc.)
  • Assemble your hiring team or discuss who needs to be involved in the remote hiring process.
  • Figure out a recruitment-strategy.
  • How will you be managing the recruitment process? Set up a @Trello board to assign tasks to different  team members.

    2. Set up a Job Description

When remote hiring a precise job description is essential to helping you attract the right candidates for your job. A good job description should summarize the essential responsibilities, activities, qualifications and skills for a role. It should also include the type of work that the candidate should conduct. Furthermore important company details should be provided like the company mission and  detailed information about the culture.  The Job description should provide enough details for candidates to determine if they’re qualified for the position and also should give a first impression about the company's values. Indeed provides you with more information about how to write a job description: After you published your job description, everything is set and ideally you should be able to source some candidates. Make sure to carefully check their CV for the required job criteria. After you have done that, contact the chosen candidates and schedule a first video interview with them. 

3. Video Interviewing 

Not being able to meet the candidates physically places new demands on every recruiter. Digital recruitment places new demands on every leader. Read our Blogpost to gain further insights about digital leadership:  Nevertheless, when recruiting someone through video, connecting with the person will remain a priority - whether virtual or personal! But in addition to these tools, the person responsible for remote hiring will need to keep in mind a few guiding principles. 

Video Interviewing as a Core Skill

In the absence of a face-to-face connection, you are only able to get to know your candidates through a screen. Not everyone is comfortable in front of a camera. If you are new to practising video interviews there are some special features you should be aware of. First of all you should practice video calling to get used to the media. Video interviewing might not only be a challenge for you, but for the candidate as well. So it is important to provide your candidates with all the information they need. Make sure to include this in the interview invitation. For example send them a @googlehangouts/@zoom invitation with a quick guideline on how to participate in the interview. That ensures that also candidates who are not using these tools on a daily basis feel comfortable. You should also make sure that there’s a plan B, just in case the connection unexpectedly cuts. Before you get started with the interview, set up your laptop in a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. Also double check all of your tech before starting the call. This includes both hardware (headphones, mic) and software.   Keep in mind that this will be the first contact with the candidate so you should appear professional and well prepared. That is also why you should be the first to show up. Put your candidates at ease by being present when they join the virtual room. Starting a conversion in a virtual environment can be difficult sometimes. Especially when the candidates are nervous. To loosen up start your conversation with a chit-chat by asking the candidates how he or she is doing.  Once you are finished with the interview, establish a clear way for candidates to follow up with you. 

4. Remote Hiring in Collaboration with other Team Members 

Like in every other non-remote hiring process collaborative hiring will help you to ensure that the remote hire is a good skill fit, as well as a cultural fit for their potential team. It is a useful way of getting your team involved in the remote hiring process. Future teammates will also have the opportunity to assess, evaluate, and to get to know potential remote hires in the recruitment process.

Tip: Use Multiple Interviews

Before you conduct the first video interview, form a pool of people who are responsible for sourcing new team members. Different team members from this pool should interview the candidate in order to have a better overall impression on the candidate as well as the overall cultural fit. The pool of people should consist of employees from different departments and positions within the company. This could be someone from your Human Resources team, someone who would work closely with them, and their direct manager. Getting multiple perspectives on a candidate will help minimize any blindspots. It’s also an opportunity to introduce them to your team. But you should make sure not take too much of the candidate's time. We recommend not to hold more than 3 interviews that don’t exceed one hour.  Several interviews can also serve different purposes: The first Interview could be a quick pre screen to check the overall fit with the company’s culture. It should also be used to gather a first impression on weather the person meets the required job criteria. A second interview could be with a team member who would work closely with the candidate so that he or she can get a more profound impression on the candidates skills as well as their work history and technical skills. If the first interviews went well, a third interview with the company's CEO could be exploited to clarify further details and to set up the precise contractual details.  

Ask Thoughtful Interview Questions

The interviewer should focus on asking questions that give you true insight into their skills and ability: Ask questions related to how they problem solve, whether they can work independently, and how their values align with that of your company. To be able to compare the candidates and therefore to make the right decision, make sure to use the same questions with each candidate so you can more easily judge a “good answer” vs a “bad answer”.Here are some examples of questions: 

  • Time management: How do you prioritize projects?
  • Self-initiatives: When was a time you took initiative without being asked? What was the result?
  • Problem solving ability: When was a time you encountered a problem on a team? How did you go about solving it?
  • Personal drive: What three things have you done within the last 12 months to improve yourself?
  • Team collaboration: How do you manage working for more than one supervisor?
  • To uncover their routines and environment: Describe your remote office and virtual job trial. Using open questions to test certain qualities, necessary for effective remote work, will help you identify the right candidates. Ensure the interview is a two-way conversation. Be open and forthcoming with any questions they have so that not only you get an impression on the candidate and his or her skills but also that the candidate has the opportunity to get an accurate idea of your company, the culture and the tasks the job requires. Mention your perks Mention some of the extras that come with the job including competitive compensation, generous vacation time, health and fitness allowances, co-working stipends, and more.

5. Onboarding for your Remote Team

Hiring is only half of the equation of building your remote team. After the recruitment process is over you need to make sure that the employee stays with the company by setting up a structured onboarding. Usually on someone’s first day at the office you are able to show them to their desk, introduce them to their team members, and set up a meeting to get them acclimatized and explain the formal onboarding and training process they’ll go through. You’ll come by their desk from time to time and arrange a first team lunch together. This constant and intentional contact over the first weeks will help the new employee to get familiarized with the team members and with the work they’ll be doing. Make sure to include your team in the onboarding process: Give them a heads-up beforehand about the new hire and provide them with information about the new hire so that they can connect with each other more easily. That ensures not only that the new hire will feel more comfortable within the team but also is able to start working more efficient when the communication between the employees is on a good level from the beginning. 

Onboarding for a Remote Team is Different.

Even Though physical contact is not possible, there are ways to ensure that the new hire feels welcome. Instead of a welcome handshake, you welcome the new team member via slack, instead of a team lunch, you could arrange a zoom-meeting to introduce everyone to each other. Investing time and work in the onboarding process of new team members to your remote team is crucial and will set them up to succeed in a new environment.

Arrange a First Day Meeting

A direct manager and/or someone from Human Resources should schedule a video call to welcome them to the team face-to-face. Let new hires know they’re free to ask any questions and express excitement about them joining the team. Walk them through what their on boarding will look like and what they can expect over the next few days and weeks. To loosen up the atmosphere and to get to know each other a little more, ask some questions for example: What are you personal and professional goals for the upcoming job/year. 

Encourage their Team Members to Message them

It can be awkward to introduce yourself one-on-one over messages as the new person. In side conversations, remind their team members to make the first move and personally welcome them to the team.

Pairing Them With a Mentor

A good practice for onboarding a new remote team member is to pair them with a mentor. This shouldn’t be direct manager, but someone senior on their team. This mentor relationship should last anywhere from the first three to six months of a new team members tenure. A good mentor acts as a point of contact for any questions or concerns and should regularly meet (i.e. once per week) with their mentee. After the first week, arrange a team meeting. Schedule a beer hour where everyone can share their thoughts and experiences with each other to help the new hire to feel part of the team. If you want to try something new, you and your team members could play online games. Games like are a great and easy way to include in your online meeting. 

If you are struggling with remote hiring or mentoring your remote team in general - we are here to help! We have a team of coaches who can help you and your team on a professional and personal level. Visit our website for further information.


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