Remote Hiring Guide: How to Recruit, Video Interview, and Hire Remote Employees

Remote Hiring Guide: How to Recruit, Video Interview, and Hire Remote Employees

Considering the current situation in the world, many companies have decided to change their usual working conditions and switch to remote teams, employment and remote hiring. It turned out that it was relatively easy to rearrange the schedules of in-house employees, but several challenges have emerged in terms of hiring remote employees.

The thing is that most of the companies follow a traditional or classical process of recruiting, which was adopted from global corporations. One of such examples is Google because it has an established corporate culture that implies conducting the final stages of interview tete-a-tete. Many candidates have had to come to the office in San Francisco to meet the recruiters or people responsible for communicating with new employees.

Benefits of Hiring Remote Employees

Companies had to switch to remote recruiting in 2020, and there are not many guides and books written on this topic. We have considerable experience in remote recruiting at Qubit Labs and have decided to share information with the companies that have to adapt to the new conditions. It is based on the knowledge we received through the years.

Work from home, or any other place in the world, became a great opportunity for people who aim to try new things and don’t want to limit themselves to the perspectives of the city of their living. Also, remote recruiting opportunities are a “win-win” for both sides, allowing businesses to cooperate with employees from other countries who share their values and meet their requirements.

Distance and countries’ borders are no longer a hurdle because the Internet provides numerous opportunities to stay in touch, support team spirit, and achieve even more significant results than in the office. Also, there are numbers of startups hiring remote employees that achieve impressive results and professionally manage remote teams, setting an example for other businesses.

Tips and Tools for Remote Hiring

Although the online process’s goal is the same as one of the usual on-site recruiting, there are some peculiarities that have to be emphasized. Thus, during remote hiring, keep in mind the following tips:

  • You can combine two usual stages that include the first call of the recruiter and the visit to the office in one call and schedule the second meeting with the manager;

 

  • You can ask the potential employee to complete the test during the interview, which would help optimize time management because when offline, you would have needed to devote time to look through the candidate’s skills. Be sure to inform the applicant about this in advance.

 

  • Ask to show the finished code during the interview or give a task to find an error in the code, which the requisitioner also has to show during the meeting;

 

  • Use Zoom, Hangouts, and other tools for efficient remote hire;

 

  • Schedule a meeting, remind the candidate in advance, and prepare all login links;

 

  • Begin the interview first by introducing participants to each other;

 

  • At the end of the interview, outline the next steps and the amount of time the candidate will need to expect to receive feedback;

 

  • Write/call the candidate to get feedback on the interview. In this way, you will know what to improve, what questions arise in the process of remote hiring, and what impression the applicant had of the interviewer.

 

H

It is essential to focus not only on attracting external employees but also pay enough attention to the ones who already work at your company.

Team Communications

Being among other experienced companies that hire remote employees, we have created a list of the most effective ways to stay in touch with the remote team that showed great results in our practice:

  • telegram chat for chatting off work;
  • call up once a week with a video to share personal and work-related news ;
  • once every two weeks, one employer shares some fascinating facts that he/she found;
  • conduct questionnaires and analyze the results;
  • use SMART in tasks.
  • utilize Process Automation

It is important to apply CRM to add all candidates and communication history.

If you cooperate with companies hiring remotely, be sure to add all their candidates to the database so that later you will know with whom you/they have already contacted. It might look unprofessional and create distrust when many companies reach out to the candidates with the same offer.

Communications is a Key For Companies Hiring Remote

When seeking a perfect candidate for a certain position, you might face difficulties because your expectations contradict reality. Sometimes, you may incorrectly interpret candidates’ answers or test tasks. To prevent such situations from happening, consider following the mentioned pieces of advice:

  • Be patient and understand that poor communication can get in the way of your online interview.
  • Do not reject an applicant due to a bad connection and give the opportunity to postpone the interview to another time or day.
  • Be ready to listen to the recruiter about the remote recruitment process in a specific region since the remote hiring process in different countries varies. Things that work in one area might not be suitable in another.
  • The remote positions hiring process usually takes less time than physical hiring.

What Slows Down Your Remote Recruiting

It is necessary to understand that there are several requirements for different positions, and not all candidates can fit in. All the companies that hire remote employees utilize effective and weak methods because the final result of recruiting is highly influenced by the requirements and candidate’s decisions and preferences. To be prepared for the delays, let’s take a look at the most common time-related factors:

 

  • Too many interview steps and multiple test items. In our experience, the optimal number is three interviews and 1 test task.

 

  • A great deal of time between each stage. In general, the less time elapses between the interview stages, the better – in our experience, no more than two days, but it may take up to a week before a job-seeker will be ready to accept the offer.

 

  • Not giving feedback to the applicant and the contracting authority after each stage of the interview will significantly increase the average time to hire a new employee.

 

  • By complicating the process and delaying feedback, you will show your company in a negative light. The candidate will get an impression of your business processes based on this example, and, as a result, you will lose great potential employees.

How to Hire Remote Employees?

Before starting to describe this block, it’s significant to mention that the following steps are based on what we came to during the work; it is our personal experience. Although it works for us, one should understand that your company may need to spend more time or apply slightly different steps.

Nevertheless, if you have never faced remote recruiting, you can proceed based on the following scheme and try to implement it into your business. With time, you will see if there is a lack of some stages or, maybe, you can avoid certain phases.

Step 1. Write a Remote Job Description

Clarify the orderer’s requirements and create a detailed job description, which will specify the skills and responsibilities. When asking us a question, “what is your typical process for working with a new customer,” you will hear that it’s significant to take the time to go through the demands with the orderer and pose follow-up questions to make sure you have understood each other correctly. This will help to avoid wasting time on inappropriate candidates and improve the effectiveness of performance.

Step 2. Find people

Post jobs on specialized websites and apply hunting techniques.

Step 3. HR interview

As soon as a relevant candidate appears, that is, one’s resume is suitable for you, and the vacancy meets a person’s expectations, invite one to a call with a recruiter, which, according to the typical hiring process timeline, usually takes up to 40 minutes. During the call, a professional estimates the discussed requirements. If the candidate is suitable, you have to send his/her CV further to either the requisitioner or the team leader (further hiring should initially be discussed with the customer). After that, you should continue searching for the candidates. The average time to hire a new employee may vary depending on the vacancy, but, in general, it takes up to several weeks. Usually, you need to wait a couple of days before moving to another stage, and the final phase might take more time.

Step 4. Interview with a team lead, the hard skills test 

The type of test task depends on the candidate’s level and experience and the vacancy itself. For example, for a junior or a creative position, it is possible to give a candidate the test that has to be finished at home and take no more than 6 hours. For more experienced applicants, you can adopt an online test with a member of your development team. Besides, the candidate may also show an example of his/her code in real-time, or the test may involve finding an error in the code online.

Step 5. Offer

If the test task and interview have shown the appropriate results, which are suitable, the next step will be an offer. Once again, the recruiter has to repeat all the terms of employment, salary level, responsibilities, schedule, and additional benefits, such as insurance and etc. A specialist needs to ask the candidate for feedback to find out one’s further intentions and analyze the factors that will influence the final decision, say, the availability of offers from other companies. After that, an offer is sent, and the typical hiring process timeline implies giving the candidate a week to think and make a final decision.

 

Risks of Remote Recruiting

Some things change, but the basic principles of the hiring process remain the same. The same as during the typical hiring process, you need to be able to evaluate a candidate within a short time to give prompt and detailed feedback. Being among the companies that hire remote teams, we can suggest that hiring speed can increase even because of the fact that you can employ applicants from different cities without having to schedule a meeting at a particular place.

By doing that, one can save candidates’ time for interviews, travel, or even flights, and the potential employee will devote that period to finishing the test task or making a decision. Moreover, the number of candidates is likely to increase during remote hire because there is no need to travel to the office while the percentage of people who never show up for the interviews will decrease.

Virtual Interview Questions to Check Soft Skill

Companies implement various tools and methods to evaluate soft skills. For example, you can ask a candidate to list the top skills that one thinks will be needed to succeed in a given position. To see software skills vividly, a candidate can be offered to solve a problem or a real situation in the company and asked to describe how he/she could solve it. There are many soft skill tests, especially among startups hiring remote workers, and an applicant might be asked to take one of them.

Amazon, for example, has drawn up its Leadership Principles, solely based on which the company selects candidates. The list of questions depends on the position the candidate has applied for and on the company’s expectations, but, most often, interviewers ask the following questions:

  • If several tasks with short deadlines have piled up, how will you prioritize them?
  • Describe the situation in which you have faced the difficulties and tell how did you overcome them?
  • Please, tell if there were any conflict situations at your previous work and how you solved them?
  • Do you prefer working independently or in a team?
  • Share an example of the situation in which you… (select the specific case that will reflect the desired skill).

 

Video Interview Tips: How to Succeed

How to Prepare for a Virtual Interview?

  • What to wear  for a virtual interview? Although we are moving away from corporate standards, still, appropriate background and business-casual dress code show the respect of all participants of the process for each other.
  • A prospective employee should understand that in 99 cases out of 100, interviews will be in video format. However, if you have a terrible connection, you will be asked to turn on the video for at least a couple of minutes.
  • An applicant should ensure adequate communication and the absence of extraneous noise and distractions.
  • One has to devote an hour of free time for the interview, choose the time so that no one distracts him/her from the call.
  • It is essential to make sure that a recruiter can clearly hear and see you, so check if there is enough light and whether your video is of good quality.
  • Mute the microphone when your interlocutor is speaking to avoid distracting him/her with noises.
  • We do not advise candidates to pass interviews by phone when being outside. Such communication is usually worse than from a laptop, and extraneous sounds distract and interrupt the working atmosphere.
  • Mind your time and avoid being late for any of your remote jobs hiring interviews.

We want to describe our remote hiring “routine” to show how each online interview stage can affect the outcomes.

Above all, on the day of the meeting, we remind the applicant about the interview, namely, repeat from which company we are calling, what position the interview will be conducted for, and at what time and on which platform we will wait for the candidate. Although this might sound repetitive, companies hiring virtual teams prefer to emphasize such things several times than trying to explain it during the interview or wasting time waiting for the person to show up.

After that, we create an invite in the Google Calendar with a link to Zoom (it may be another platform).

The next step of our typical hiring process is to remind the applicant that an invite has already been sent to one’s Google calendar.

Although we prefer video communication to see each other, some companies like Cisco don’t bother with video.

You can start with small talk to make everyone feel comfortable and make the interview more personal.

Also, remember that the camera diminishes your reaction; while in live communication, you would look just friendly and businesslike, then through the webcam, your face will look “uninterested” and bored. Thus, try to show a little more emotion.

Finally, smart and final hiring process implies giving your feedback to the applicant after the call, whether positive or negative.

 

What to do if the Candidate is Out of Contact?

Remote companies hiring employees often find themselves in a situation when they’ve found a seemingly perfect candidate for their vacancy, but a person suddenly stops responding. There might be various reasons for that, so you shouldn’t give up too fast. There is a list of actions you should take in a similar situation:

  • Write in advance and remind the person about the upcoming interview. Repeat from which company you are calling and which position the candidate is applying for;
  • Write to the messenger or platform where you communicated before and wait for a response;
  • If a candidate does not answer the message before the interview, then call him/her;
  • If it’s time for the interview and the candidate does not get in touch, you can wait up to 5-15 minutes, spending this time with benefit (if a requisitioner is present at the interview, you can discuss other candidates with him/her or some working moments)
  • If the candidate never showed up, text him/her again, politely clarify if everything is fine with him/her, and ask to mention the reason why the applicant did not show up to the interview. In case it was reasonable, and the candidate is interested – you can give one more chance.

Additional risks recruiters should also take into account:

  • the candidate may disappear/not get in touch;
  • the internet connection can fail.

 

Big Companies Going Remote

One of the tips regarding remote recruiting is to conduct interviews with team members and connect potential coworkers from other departments to the call, as does Google. At the end of the interview, you gather the entire team of interviewers and conduct a survey. It’s similar to the situation when you come up to someone in a conference room to talk about an applicant, only now, you do it all together. Such polls can last from 30 to 45 minutes. At the end of these discussions, a team comes to a decision whether to make an offer or not.

Another valuable piece of advice is applying the SHL for passing tests in terms of remote hiring. It’s something that makes it possible to do test tasks online, reduces subjectivity, and brings valid results.

What Should You Research Before Implementing Any Methods?

There are some recruitment methods that do not suit everyone equally. Before applying any of them, a hiring company should conduct research on their market and analyze how candidates react to specific methods.

Specifically, one of the tools you should carefully implement is a “hireview,” which is a recorded video when the candidate answers questions, and a recruiter can watch it after the applicant sends it. This tool prevents personal communication, but such a recording helps a hiring company to form its opinion based on these videos.

The applicants treat this method differently. However, the mentioned tool is ineffective in the Ukrainian market and the USA, but it is utilized in other countries, so it is better to focus on your particular market.

 

 

Insights from Recruiters’

In general, companies hiring remote team usually face the same challenges, like lack of communication with an applicant or utilization of a wrong approach towards the potential employee. To enhance your chances of attracting professionals to your company and avoid losing candidates, here are a few tips for remote hiring:

  • Do not use too personal social networks, like Instagram to contact the applicant because it is better to utilize more professional platforms, like LinkedIn, do your research;
  • Do not take recommendations from the previous employer without the receiving candidate’s consent;
  • Do not write/call after working hours;
  • Do not call without warning (only in extreme cases);
  • Do not record a video call or conversation without notifying the candidate, and if he/she has not agreed;
  • Do not leave the applicant without feedback at any stage of the interview;
  • Do not share a candidate’s personal data (CV) without one’s consent.

All things considered, remote hiring is a process, which modern companies face more often than ever before. For some, it might be challenging and tough because managing a team from a distance demands a high level of responsibility and developed leadership skills.

At the same time, other businesses treat remote recruiting as the opportunity to improve their teams’ capabilities and cooperate with professionals who were previously out of touch.

In this guide, we have put effort towards sharing our experience in remote hiring to help companies deal with such a type of employment.

If you have any questions left or need help in setting effective development teams, you are always welcome to contact us.

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Oksana Zabolotna
HBD at Qubit Labs
Oksana is a team leader of sales and marketing team at Qubit Labs.