The global COVID-19 pandemic caused a sudden, drastic shift in hiring practices. While recruiters used to solidify hiring decisions by meeting applicants in person first, they were now forced to hire someone they’ve never met.
So, how do employers secure the best new hires after skipping the “get-to-know-you” lunches? Well, as recruitment formats have evolved, hiring processes have too. Organizations are leveraging technology, data-driven approaches, and creative hiring practices to optimize their remote hiring.
The dramatic shift in recruiting practices has brought many benefits with it – employers can accurately track their recruitment funnel‘s success through HR technology and hiring metrics. However, to fully benefit from these advantages, it’s crucial to implement the best hiring practices.
So, let’s take a look at strategies employers are using to hire someone they’ve never met.
Communicate requirements and expectations clearly
Since the global pandemic, employees are increasingly prioritizing hybrid and remote work options. Jobvite’s Job Seeker Nation report revealed 74% of applicants gave importance to remote work options when considering a job offer. Additionally, 35% stated that they’d reject a job offer outright if the role required full-time on-site availability.
Communicating the job’s requirements and expectations is critical to save both your organization’s and the applicant’s time and reduce employee turnover.
It’s important to specify the role’s requirements in the job listing and share relevant documentation (e.g., about your organization’s remote work policy) with candidates before making an offer. It’s also vital to communicate other professional expectations, including communication requirements and performance expectations.
Remember, in the recruitment process, candidates are evaluating your organization as much as you’re assessing them. So, it’s essential to communicate relevant expectations to encourage a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Get your whole team involved
Remote hiring invites a larger pool of applicants, which has its merits but also complicates shortlisting. With so many job candidates to choose from, how can you make the best hiring decision?
The answer is to get your team involved. Your organization’s existing colleagues are familiar with the work environment, cultural fit, and the role’s needs. Additionally, getting second and third opinions also reduces unconscious hiring biases that otherwise creep into hiring decisions.
When involving your team members, go all-in; take their opinion at each stage, instead of exclusively for the final decision. This entails:
- Consulting team members to determine which talent pools to approach.
- Getting their opinion about the job description.
- Involving your team in the screening and evaluation processes, to optimize hiring decisions.
Depending on the screening format you choose, there are different ways to involve your team in the evaluation process, which brings us to the next point.
Adopt a multi-stage hiring process
Multi-stage hiring processes help employers vet candidates thoroughly, letting you assess applicants for:
- Conceptual knowledge
- Practical skills
- Cultural fit
However, lengthy hiring processes can discourage applicants, and you might lose top talent to your competition. So, it’s important to find a careful balance between the quality of evaluation and the candidate’s experience. Fortunately, remote recruitment practices encourage reduced time to hire and accelerate the transition through multi-stage hiring processes.
Unlike on-site recruitment, remote hiring doesn’t require candidates to travel, cutting down hiring times significantly. Additionally, recruiters can leverage HR technology for conducting bulk assessments to speed up multi-stage evaluations.
For example, recruiters can conduct bulk tests or asynchronous video interviews to screen candidates simultaneously and shortlist them faster in the initial screening stages.
Another option to cut down hiring costs without compromising evaluation quality is to conduct a panel interview using video interviewing software. Panel interviews bring us back to our earlier point: get your team involved in screening to vet candidates quicker and more accurately.
Use trial projects or hands-on tests
Trial projects and hands-on tests help vet applicants for their practical skills, proficiency in applying knowledge, creative thinking, and problem-solving ability.
Trials shouldn’t be too lengthy or demanding, as tedious projects could scare candidates off. Instead, a trial task should create opportunities for recruiter’s to gauge the applicant’s abilities, without overwhelming them.
Some companies assign applicants’ long-term paid trials to more comprehensively vet a candidate’s abilities. However, if you’re looking to hire fast, shorter tasks are more suitable. In tech, many organizations leverage skills assessment tests to assess applicants’ practical skills and problem-solving abilities. For these assessments, employers design role-specific tests to evaluate candidates for specifics such as their knowledge of particular frameworks.
Assess for cultural fit
A study on workplace cultural fit found that employees who fit well with their colleagues, supervisor, and workplace environment demonstrated:
- Superior professional performance
- More job satisfaction
- Higher employee retention (on average)
Thus, assessing applicants for cultural fit is vital to decreasing employee turnover and building a productive, happy workforce. In traditional hiring, employers use team meetings and in-person collaborative exercises to check applicants’ fit. So when hiring someone remotely, it’s important to replicate these experiences online.
Fortunately, thanks to the rapid development of collaborative meeting and productivity software, employers have several options to create similar experiences online.
For example, applicants can be connected with different in-house teams and assigned to complete collaborative projects. Collaboration software, like Slack and Microsoft Teams, facilitate team communication and video conferencing.
In tech, we’ve found that pair programming exercises are particularly advantageous to optimizing recruiting processes. These exercises help vet candidates for:
- Communication and interpersonal skills.
- Cultural fit.
- Collaborative and applied skills. Effectively collaborating with fellow programmers on projects is crucial in tech, because developers and engineers typically work in teams.
Reduce bias by getting creative
Hiring bias is unfair to candidates and creates barriers between organizations and the best talent. Companies lose out on the best potential hires if highly qualified candidates are screened out because of unconscious or conscious biases. Thus, reducing hiring bias is critical to do justice both to your organization and each applicant.
Online technologies present employers with robust opportunities to mitigate recruitment bias. Automattic’s CEO, Matt Mullenweg, for example, leveraged online-chat software to conduct text-based interviews for the final round. This approach reduced bias in the final stage by mitigating unconscious biases, like ethnic or gender prejudices.
The Job Seeker Nation report also revealed that 42% of candidates would decline job offers from organizations lacking diversity. This statistic showcases a strong sense of employer accountability – candidates are actively expecting companies to build a more inclusive and diverse workforce.
Live chat isn’t the only approach to limit hiring prejudices, though, especially when you’re recruiting remotely. Here are a few ways to reduce recruitment bias:
- Use neutral language in your job postings, documentation, and social media employer branding.
- Leverage structured interview formats. Employers can use standardized questions, scorecards, and quantifiable evaluation metrics to reduce hiring bias. Asynchronous video interviews can mitigate bias for remote recruitment while improving candidates’ experiences and reducing hiring times.
- Assess applicants on their work. Whether you give them a trial task or check existing samples, evaluating candidates on their work helps reduce bias from the interview process by focusing on measurable outcomes.
Don’t skimp on the background check
Background checks are essential even in traditional hiring, but more so for remote recruiting, especially if candidates intend to work remotely. While on-site workers have limited access to company files, remote workers receive propriety information directly from their home workspace.
Thus, conduct a thorough check to guarantee the potential hires are trustworthy and don’t have any history of unprofessionally.
However, be sure to check the legal guidelines in your region before conducting a check. Getting carried away could lead to privacy violations, so do your due diligence or consider hiring an experienced agency.
Additionally, if your new hires have access to sensitive information, it’s also important to vet their technical savvy. Sometimes, employees can leak company information not out of malice, but due to technical incompetence.
Remember fundamental hiring principles
Above all, when hiring someone you’ve never met before, remember that the tenets of recruitment remain the same. While the landscape and format may vary, the objective is the same: to land the best hire.
So, be sure to:
- Optimize the candidate’s experience.
- Take input from your team.
- Craft detailed, neutral-language job descriptions.
- Approach relevant talent sources.
- Vet applicants for relevant skills and qualities.
- Sort the technical details out. Like paperwork, payroll, salary packages, benefits, etc.
And good luck hiring!
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