How to Hire and Onboard a Remote Team
8 min read
When COVID-19 hit the globe, it was followed by a massive shift to remote work. Many companies decided on the work-from-home setup to decrease (or even eliminate) in-person gatherings in the office to comply with social distancing measures.
But some companies had already been hiring remote workers even before the current health crisis. This is because remote work has many benefits, with one major example being lower business costs as a result of not having to lease an office. But along with benefits, remote hiring also comes with its fair share of challenges.
One of the biggest is the recruitment process.
Identifying the kind of talent that fits companies’ needs can be challenging even when the position is for an in-office role and the entire hiring process is done face to face. These days, conducting interviews online presents its own limitations. Companies need to be even more thorough when it comes to vetting candidates.
Here are some helpful tips for hiring and onboarding remote employees.
How to Hire Remote Employees
1. Select a Job Posting Site
You’re looking for the best talent, and you’re likely to find it if you widen the scope of your search. Job posting sites are helpful in this regard. These platforms make it easy for you to reach many more—and better—candidates than you would through other recruitment strategies. Most job posting sites also allow you to refine your search by setting filters such as qualifications and work experience.
We’ve put together a list of our top picks for the best job posting sites here:
Another great way to attract talented remote employees is through a public org chart. Org charts are a visual layout of how a company is structured. It’s a lot like a family tree for businesses. To understand why an org chart might be the perfect platform for finding your ideal candidate, see here:
2. Be Open to Personal Recommendations
If you already have a remote team and are hoping to grow it, you can open up job opportunities in your company to them first. Aside from you, your team knows your company best. They might know people that could be the right fit for the job, and you can encourage them to tap into their networks.
Personal recommendations won't—and shouldn’t—guarantee an automatic hire. But candidates who are recommended to you have been vetted by someone who’s experienced your company culture. That should count for something.
3. Conduct Video or Audio Interviews
Interviewing candidates allows you to gain insights about them, their interests, and their expectations for the job. This stage in the process will give you a better gauge for how well they will fit in terms of expertise and personality. This is also a good time to learn how well a candidate will communicate.
Communication is crucial in remote work. As your team might be in different time zones—and certainly is not in the same office space—constant communication won’t be easy nor frequent. The remote candidate must be diligent enough to communicate effectively from the start.
Check out our guide on how to improve communication in your company:
4. Run a Test
While interviews can give you insight into how well your candidates fit the job, nothing will tell you more about their skills than seeing them in action. Put your top candidates to the test by letting them do a task related to the position they’re applying for.
Try to set up the same limitations, quotas, or timelines they will be expected to follow with their actual work. By doing this, you can keep the test as realistic as possible, allowing you to identify which candidates can perform well in the role you are hiring for.
5. Contact References Before Making the Final Decision
Talking to your candidates and observing their work significantly narrows your pool of candidates. Before making the final pick, though, you can do a final check on your top contenders by contacting their references. This way, you can know more about the character of your prospective hire or how they performed in other professional environments.
How to Onboard Remote Employees
1. Don’t Leave It Up to Chance
The hiring process isn’t over once the candidate joins your company. Onboarding remote employees takes time. And until the fresh hire has made it through the onboarding phase, productivity will suffer. If this stage is too complicated and unfulfilling, the employee might even have second thoughts about sticking around.
That’s why it’s essential to have an active plan in place to streamline the onboarding phase. Don’t just hire the candidate and throw them to the wolves—make sure they can find their place in your company as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
2. Send a Welcome Package
The more you can do to make your new remote employee feel welcome, the better. One fun idea is to mail them a package with some branded merch, such as:
- Laptop stickers
- Mouse pads
- Fidget spinners or stress balls
A personalized note is another good way to make them feel valued right from day one. Show them that they’re a part of the family.
3. Introduce New Hires to the Team
When onboarding remote employees, always schedule a virtual meeting for them to meet their coworkers. Remember, your new hires won’t be coming into an office, so there won’t be as many obvious opportunities to shake hands and say howdy. By setting up a Zoom call, you can make them feel more at home and fast-track their assimilation into the company culture.
Want to ensure that your company has a solid culture that candidates will want to join? See how an org chart can help:
4. Start Small
It’s easy for new hires to feel overwhelmed. Trying to force too much on them all at once is a surefire way to cause burnout, hindering their long-term productivity and job satisfaction. Instead, ease them into their new role by giving them reasonably sized projects at the start. Let them get familiar with how your company works before you add more to their plate.
5. Foster Personal Connections
One of the greatest risks when onboarding remote employees is that they’ll feel isolated. Without a sense of belonging, they’re less likely to connect with your company and go the extra mile for maximum productivity. If they forge meaningful relationships with their colleagues, however, they’ll be much more likely to work hard and stay with your company long-term.
You can help them do just that by creating a public org chart for your company. An org chart gives your new employees a visual directory, making it easier for them to get to know their coworkers.
To learn more about how an org chart can help your company, take a look at this article:
6. Create Transparency
The more transparent your organization is, the quicker your employees will be able to learn the ropes. That, in turn, will make them more productive workers. A focus on transparency will also help them see exactly how they fit into the broader context of your company, giving them a greater sense of purpose. Plus, the better they understand the structure of your company, the sooner they’ll know who to report to or who they should go to with a question.
For a more in-depth look at the importance of transparency, give this post a read:
7. Refine the Onboarding Process
Onboarding remote employees isn’t something you master overnight. It will take some time to hone the process. Keep an eye on how your new hires are performing, where they seem to be struggling, and how you might help them more.
Getting feedback will also help you perfect your system. Ask your remote employees how they feel about your onboarding process, and use their perspectives to make things even smoother for the next hire.
If you’d like further advice on how to get the most out of your remote teams, see here:
And check out this guide for a big-picture look at finding the right talent for your company: