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Adding a new employee is an exciting time. The addition of staff means that your business is growing. It can also be a stressful time if it’s 2020. Added to the responsibility of finding the right person is the decision of whether to hire an onsite employee or a remote employee.

Each option has its pros and cons and you should analyze them thoroughly before deciding on the new hire. If you’re a startup, you’ll be deciding how to compose your entire team. Will you have all onsite employees, all remote, or a hybrid? Do you need part-time, full-time, or contact help? How much are you willing to pay and will it be salary or hourly? If you hire remotely, you also need to decide which time zones you’ll consider. It’s easier if your employees are all in one time zone, but you can also set things up to facilitate for multiple time zones if it works for your company.  All these questions must be answered before you start the true search for your new staff member.

Job Boards, Referrals, or Social Media? All of the Above

With all the preliminaries out of the way, you’re ready to search for new talent. Before you go too far afield, check with your current employees; one of them may know someone from their network who fits the bill. A recent LinkedIn report shows that nearly 50% of businesses in the US get quality hires through employee referrals and other surveys have revealed that employee referrals are the most successful recruitment source.

To attract the best talent, make sure to “sell” your company as far as what you can offer to the new hire. Mention pertinent details of your benefits package, your company culture, and your company’s reputation in your field. Let them know that they’ll be doing interesting work that’s vital to the company’s success, not just “grunt work.”

Now that we’ve looked inward, let’s turn our sights outward to the best places to advertise for new employees. Social media is a great place to start. According to a 2017 LinkedIn report on recruiting trends, 95% of companies said they’ve successfully hired from LinkedIn, 24% have hired from Facebook and 16% from Twitter. Online job boards are also worth a shot, although you’ll probably find more people looking for remote work in general, not for the particular job you’re advertising. Still, there are gems to be found on any job search site.

If you don’t have enough resources in-house to handle the recruitment process, you may want to hire a recruiting firm. Agencies get paid to fill jobs, not book interviews. You’ll likely get fewer candidates, but each will be qualified. Another benefit of using an agency is if you are hiring for a job with which you don’t have much expertise. Say, you’re forming an IT department, but you know nothing about computers. The agency will know the kind of skills you need. In that same vein, don’t be afraid to tell the agency about soft skills or personality types you’re looking for in your new hire. In addition to the recruitment help, all agencies offer guarantee periods. If the hire doesn’t work out, you don’t pay and they start the search over, not you. With some agencies you can negotiate on fees, with others guarantee periods; with some both. It never hurts to ask.

Self-Starter? Team Player? Good Communicator? Yes, please

Every job has its own set of required skills, but remote workers in general need to have the following skills:

  • Ability to work autonomously. The person can manage their own time and make needed decisions independently, without much oversight.
  • Strong teamwork skills. The person works well with others and enjoys collaborating on projects. Adaptability, open-mindedness, accountability and good project management skills are also great characteristics for a remote worker to have.
  • Proactive communication. Communication is key when you’re not in the same building. Whether it’s status updates, clarifying questions, action items, or something else – a remote employee needs to make sure they’re on the same page as their teammates via meetings, phone calls, emails, or other modes of communication.
  • Self-starter. Being self-motivated is vital for remote workers. From taking initiative on different projects to being self-disciplined and organizing their workload – remote employees will have to accomplish all types of tasks without anyone looking over their shoulder. 

You may be wondering if remote work experience is essential in your new remote hire. It’s not necessary if you hire the right type of person, who has discipline and self-management skills. If you do find someone with prior remote work experience, consider it a bonus.

Interviews: Include Questions Specific to Remote Work

At this point, you’ll start doing interviews. Some of the questions you should ask will sound familiar to you, since they align with the qualities you want in a remote worker. Here we go:

  1. Why do you want to work from home? Do they feel more productive at home, or is it all about wearing pajamas all day?
  2. Have you worked with a distributed team? How did it go? (Or, if they have no experience with this, “How will you deal with the challenges?”) Can they get the answers they need from people remotely located from them? Can they be persistent without being obnoxious? Their answer will give you a feel for this.
  3. Where do you prefer to work? They don’t have to have a dedicated home office, but make sure they have any job requirements like a wired internet connection, a private area for calls, etc.
  4. How would you rate your tech skills? Remote workers sometimes have to fix their own problems regarding computers, wi-fi, or other technical issues. The person doesn’t have to be a mechanical genius, but being a bit techie doesn’t hurt.
  5. How do you stay focused on tasks? You want to be sure this candidate has thought about how they will stay focused on work amid the many distractions of working from home.
  6. How do you switch off from work? This is the flip side of the previous question. You want someone who knows how to set boundaries between work life and home life. If life becomes all work, it leads to burnout, which is bad for the employee and your company.

Of course, these aren’t all the questions you’ll ask, but these are pertinent to the remote work portion of the job.

You’re Hired!

Once you’ve found your perfect hire, a whole new set of challenges begin. If you’ve chosen wisely, you’re in for the start of a new relationship with a great co-worker and on the verge of accomplishing some great new successes for your business.