Remote worker. Home-based employee. Outsourced contractor. Call it what you want, the common denominator these workers have is that they are not required to report to your physical office. The COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting lockdowns pushed many businesses to embrace this dynamic, prompting many experts to believe that this is the future of work.
While this new setup may be easy enough for some businesses, others might be struggling with it, especially when it comes to hiring. Will the same methods you used to hire in-house employees produce the same results? While you could still predict how well they could work with you using a personality test for job applicants, there are some things you should consider before hiring a remote worker.
Do not forego physical interviews
While it may be true that they won’t be working in the office with you at all times, not inviting them for a physical face-to-face interview in the office could be a mistake. There is still something to be said about a person’s body language and how it relates to their eagerness to work with you that you won’t be able to gauge through a phone or video interview. Of course, if you’re hiring workers from another state or country, video interviews could be the next best thing. Look out for the following signs:
- If they’re leaning back in their chair, this means they’re disengaged and could potentially affect their productivity if you hire them.
- Some nervous ticks like fiddling with their hair and jewelry or fidgeting could be just that: a nervous tick. However, this candidate might not be fit for a client-facing role.
- Eye contact is especially important during a video interview since that could be the only thing you can gauge. Steer clear of candidates who are unable to maintain steady eye contact.
- Are they not smiling? Smiling is often associated with enthusiasm and if they fail to even smile in greeting, might mean that they are either extremely nervous or simply disinterested. Use some caution but give them the benefit of the doubt and make your assessment based on how well they answer your interview questions.
Tailor your interview questions specifically for remote workers
While you could, of course, stick to your routine hiring questions, they might not give you the full picture of how well a remote worker will do on your team. One of the things you want to measure is how well they can work independently and if they have the proper tools and equipment to complete the job. Ask candidates what their remote work experience has been like, what challenges they had to overcome, and how they are able to ensure that they complete tasks with minimal supervision.
Ask them to do a paid trial test
Regardless of what position an applicant is gunning for, if you were hiring in-house and doing typical interviews, chances are you’d have the candidate undergo a series of tests. We’ve already mentioned personality tests, but you might also decide to give them an English proficiency test or have them do an equipment-related test. You should do the same when hiring remotely, with the difference being you give them a paid assignment.
Why paid? Most people looking for remote work are freelancers and have probably had bad experiences with employers asking them for a trial project but are only after free labor. Just as candidates are trying to make a good impression on you, so should you be respectful towards them. Offering a small fee in exchange for sample work is one step towards that goal.