How to hire remote workers, remotely.

By Robert Half on 28th January 2021

What does hiring look like when many companies are looking at how they can get back to business, but needing to hire from a distance? When we being encouraged to keep our distance, are there different criteria to look for in remote workers?

As the Federal Authority For Government Human Resources announced that remote work can continue post COVID-19, either partial or full-time, it is clear that remote work is not going away anytime soon.

As business in the UAE enter the ‘new normal’, how can you find and hire the right employees? Here’s a quick guide to confidently finding and hiring remote staff without meeting them in person.

Where to find remote workers

Job search websites are one of the go-to places for posting open positions and attracting new employees. But this broad approach often results in too many CVs which means additional times spent reviewing applicants who aren’t suitable for the job. You also need to consider suitability for remote work and your corporate culture, which isn’t always easy to determine, even when you can spend time in the same room with candidates.

Related: How to hire for cultural fit

To find and hire the best (remote) talent available in the market today, try these other methods as well:

Specialised recruitment agencies. Contact a specialised recruitment agency such as Robert Half. Finding the right fit for your open role in accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal, HR and administration — including remote positions — is our unique area of specialisation. Our recruitment consultants are based in the UAE and have established a talent pool of highly skilled professionals who are capable of working remotely and understand the working practices of the UAE.

Boomerang hires. Reach out to top talent who’ve left your company on good terms — people you know are disciplined and organised enough to work remotely and have the skill set you seek. It never hurts to call those past employees or send them a personalised email telling them about an enticing job opening.

Staff recommendations. Employee referrals are excellent ways of recruiting people who’d be a good fit for your company and for remote work. What’s more, a team member’s endorsement is extra enticement for their friend or former colleague to accept your job offer.

Skillsets for remote workers

Not everyone is cut out to work remotely – or has the desire to work from home on a regular basis. It’s important that when you do see out employees to work in remote roles, you test out their initiative and ability to not need a lot of direct supervision. Here are six attributes to consider when hiring an employee to work remotely:

Technical savvy — It goes without saying, your new hire should be very comfortable with common cloud-based software, as well as audio/video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

Digital security — They should also understand the importance of VPNs (virtual private networks), two-step/multifactor authentication and other best practices for data privacy. Don’t let online security be a casualty of moving your team off-site.

Initiative — When reviewing applications and during interviews, look for self-starters. These are individuals who can see a need and then take the appropriate actions without having to be told what to do.

Problem solving — While working from home isn’t an every-person-for-themselves scenario, remote employees do need to take care of many things on their own. The ideal off-site worker knows how to troubleshoot an issue before escalating it.

Communication — In-person conversations have the advantages of body language and visual cues. Since so much communication while teleworking occurs via email, phone and instant message, look to hire those who can speak clearly, write unambiguously and listen carefully.

Collaboration — Even though employees are working remotely, your department and company still need to work together well and coalesce as a unit. In fact, a sense of collegiality is more important now than ever.

Practical interview questions for off-site staff After reviewing CVs, you’re ready to meet with your short-listed candidates — virtually, of course. It’s best to conduct interviews by video, not only so you can see how they present themselves, but also to gauge their equipment and bandwidth’s suitability for remote work. The following are possible additions to your list of situational interview questions:

  • How do you stay focused and on-task when working from home?
  • How do you stay engaged and motivated over long periods without in-person interaction?
  • Tell me about the platforms you use (or have used) to collaborate with off-site colleagues.
  • What do you do to minimise miscommunication in emails and instant messages?
  • What are the three attributes that make you an effective remote worker?
  • What are the greatest challenges of working off-site?
  • How do you engage and build relationships with colleagues?
  • If you came across a problem, what would be your first action and why?
  • What is your approach to work-life balance when your job is remote?

Related: Contact our recruitment team today to discuss our virtual hosted interview process.

Even though managing a remote workforce may not be what you had in mind for your company, this is the new normal for at least the short term. Help your business overcome this latest challenge by hiring workers most likely to succeed in this environment and then fully integrating those new off-site employees into your team.

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