7 Tips for Making Virtual Hiring Work

Have you been considering virtual hiring?

The remote work and virtual space have been growing for more than a decade, but we know there are still people who aren’t quite sure if virtual hiring can work for them.

You know what? To be honest, hiring anyone virtually isn’t something to go into lightly. You’ve got to have some strong foundational planning in place to make sure you’re equipped to make a good decision.

Here at Worxbee, we live and breathe the world of remote work and have created some strong processes for how we recruit and hire our virtual executive assistants. It’s worth passing some of these tips on because many can be applied to almost any role you might hire for.

Let’s dig in:

#1. Know exactly what you’re hiring for

It helps to do a little homework before heading into the advertising and hiring process. It might sound obvious – doesn’t everyone know what they’re hiring for? Well, no! We operate in the world of virtual executive assistants, so we hear a lot about hiring for assistants in particular. One common mistake is that people get as far as knowing they need to hire help, but they don’t define exactly what that means.

You will find it worthwhile to compile a list of all the jobs that you need help with. This can help you to evaluate and decide exactly what role/s you need filled. Your job advertisement should have a clear description of the role. This is helpful on two counts:

  1. Any potential applicants seeing your ad can easily understand if the job is suitable for them.
  2. It helps to naturally reduce the volume of applications you have to go through. People will naturally self-select out if the description shows tasks they can’t or won’t do.

From a new-hire perspective, proper job descriptions are always a good idea. People want clarity. They want to know what is and isn’t part of their job role. From an employer’s perspective, it is sometimes helpful to be able to point back to a job description as well.

You only have to glance through a few job advertisements to see what we mean. Some of them are extraordinarily vague. They might get some applications, but overall, people want answers! If a description is too vague they can be left with the impression that the employer is indecisive, disorganized, or somehow trying to “trick” them.

You must define your ideal candidate in order to attract the right people.

#2. Have strong processes in place

The foundation of all effective remote workplaces is the systems and processes they have in place that allow them to keep running. Based on the operations of your business and the tasks your new remote employee will have to perform, what tools and processes do you need?

For example, how will work be allocated and employees kept accountable in a remote setting? You might need project management tools that help to track tasks and send out notifications to those responsible.

Communication is a big deal too, perhaps even more so in a remote environment. You have to be able to communicate your needs very clearly and to ensure that people can access what they need to get tasks done. You should have a reliable system in place ahead of hiring, so new employees can be efficient from day one.

Remote hiring success requires having strong processes in place

#3. Use technology to improve interviews

Just because you can communicate by email or phone call doesn’t mean you should in terms of an interview. When we hire virtual executive assistants, we use video interviewing. This is partly because presentation is an important factor for the role, but also because it adds a more personal touch to the interview. The end of a phone line can seem distant and impersonal.

Tools like Zoom can be a good option for interviewing. If you’d like to review it later or need others who weren’t there to see the interview, you can use the record function. You can run your interview basically as you usually would in-person.

Here’s another thing you may find useful; perhaps video interviews will work for you for future non-remote employees, too. If you’re a company that has flown in interviewees and placed them in accommodation at your own expense, a video interview can be a great cost and time saver.

#4. Ask the right questions

If you’ve done a lot of interviewing before, you’re probably already familiar with this. There are definitely right and wrong ways to ask questions to ensure that you’re finding good candidates.

The “wrong” way is with leading questions, such as “does this example sound like you?” Questions where the candidate only has to answer yes or no don’t net useful information.

A better way is to ask open-ended questions that encourage the candidate to elaborate on their answers. Some good questions include “Tell me about a time when…” or “Give me an example of when you …”

You’re trying to identify the person’s work style, habits, and behaviors, so leave it open for them to tell you.

#5. Always request references

One reason why many people are still wary of hiring online is because literally anyone could apply. This is true, they could, so it’s up to you to have some strict processes around checking up on anyone you’d like to move forward. 

Always request three to five references and actually check in with them. Be specific about those references needing to be from previous employers and not from family or friends.

#6. Observe their habits

You can learn a lot in the initial stages of recruitment by observing how the candidate responds in general. One thing we always stress is that remote workers must be skilled communicators. Does it take them an inordinate amount of time to respond to emails? What are their phone skills like? Do they communicate clearly?

Depending on the role you’re hiring for, poor grammar or failure to communicate clearly in written form might be red flags. (And we say depending on the role because sometimes, grammar really doesn’t matter for the role you’re hiring for as much as their other skills!)

#7. Consider the candidate experience

In a sense, you are as much being interviewed as any candidate. They’re assessing your suitability as an employer and whether they feel they will fit in with you. It’s important to consider the candidate experience and do your best to make it a good one. 

For candidates, some red flags of remote employers include:

  • Being very late or missing appointed meetings.
  • Failing to communicate.
  • Seeming cold, calculating, or detached (look at some job descriptions which just give a laundry list of things the candidate should achieve for the company, with no offer of what the company can do for them).

Strive to be as welcoming as possible. It can be challenging when you’re communicating remotely as you don’t have the same opportunities for casual conversation or communication through body language. If you are on-time, communicative, and open about the benefits to the candidate of working for you, it can go a long way.

Final thoughts

If you’re on the fence about hiring remotely, be assured that thousands of successful hires are made every week all over the world. It is definitely possible to have as much success hiring remotely as you do in-person.

Successful virtual hiring requires a bit of work to ensure you have a strong process. This will give you the best chances of attracting and hiring the right candidates.

Are you looking for a virtual executive assistant? Here at Worxbee, we do all the sourcing work of the remote recruitment process for you. Take a look here at how we might help you.

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