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Who's the right hire for your remote team?

November 13, 2018

Hiring people for business has always been a demanding task. Finding the right people, the best people, and at the right time is crucial. In the ever-changing modern world of work, the landscape is being reshaped with new themes, new ideas and new technology. And new opportunities. More and more organisations are seeing the benefits of remote working. Overheads are lowered, and productivity improved. At the same time, more and more, modern employees now expect and accept the chance to work autonomously and self-driven. This new way of working is rapidly becoming the magic solution. But hiring remote workers, the right remote workers, can be a tricky process, and one that startups and SMEs particularly need to get right.

So how do employers know who is right for the role, and who isn’t? We know this way of working doesn’t suit everybody. Hiring the right people is critical, maybe even more so when hiring for a remote team. It’s important to see the differences. While candidates may have all the skills for the role, it doesn't automatically follow that they can apply those skills outside of the traditional workplace environment without close supervision.

Starting at the beginning, its down to trust. Can this candidate be trusted to work remotely? Have they any experience of working in that way? Actual, real, experience? People don’t tend to check CVs these days, but it’s always a good idea. Especially if you’re about to give a role to someone you’ll hardly ever see. If they’re comfortable and experienced they have the right temperament and skills for this kind of role, and they should be able to provide some evidence. Ask them. Remote work comes with its own problems too, low motivation, distractions, and tech difficulties being the main three. It’s worth bringing this up during the hiring process. How would they tackle these problems?

Its always worth adding a couple of extra levels into the hiring process for remote workers, to get the specifics and intricate details right. It might be an idea to use various interview methods. Skype, phone and email will all show different communication skills. Remember, you're not going to be watching over their shoulders every day. Their competence needs to be proven. Successful remote workers are independent, self-driven and comfortable working from their own initiative. Again, they need to be able to prove it too.

We know that central to the success of remote working is strong, clear and effective communication, so candidates should be able to show their writing skills and articulate ideas well.

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And what happens once you’ve made your decision and taken the right person on? What next? Well, onboarding remote staff, like the hiring process itself, presents its own challenges. It’s not just a question of giving them a desk and a parking space. The new remote worker will need the right tools and systems access from day one. They’ll need a regular check in, at least for the initial period, and support from both peers and managers. This will give them the opportunity to begin proving themselves and gaining that all important trust, as well as giving managers the chance to embed them well into the team and the structure of the organisation.

Obviously, there are no hard and fast rules for hiring any new staff, but it’s important for businesses to recognise that remote work is a new way of operating, with unique targets and needing a particular management style. If the future is remote, then the future is the remote worker, and that needs to be the right person.

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