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How to vet potential employees applying for remote work

Covid-19 has given many businesses a chance to reconsider the value of remote work. Whether some see it as temporary or others are viewing it as the wave of the future, businesses and staffing agencies mostly agree that there can be different skillsets found in those who thrive as remote employees as opposed to great employees who just happen to be handling their workload from home. It’s important for businesses, recruitment teams, and staffing agencies alike to recognize that difference when hiring—and especially when vetting—candidates for a remote position. If circumstances continue to dictate employees working from home, knowing how to recruit and hire the candidate with the right skills could help to keep business blossoming even in these uncertain times.

Here are four tips to help better evaluate candidates for remote positions. 

Hire for an understanding of remote work

If a company is new to hiring for remote work, knowing what to look for in a qualified remote candidate may not be inherent. First and foremost, candidates that have a history of remote work will likely suit a fully remote position best. However, knowing whether those roles were part-time or full-time opportunities could make a great difference in their experience and training. Make sure to fully engage applicants in the details of their remote experience, ask about their home set-up and the tools they use on a daily basis, and how they’ve handled working away from a team in the past.

Be wary of applicants who are only focusing on the remote portion of the job description and not the work itself. There are many jobseekers who are looking for remote positions as a way to avoid direct supervision. Separating these applicants from the serious candidates will be easier knowing this is a red flag to look for.

Interview in the style the candidate will be working

When considering a remote candidate, prepare to do all of the recruiting, interviewing, and communicating remotely as well. This means that the internal team or staffing agency must be skilled in the tools used to communicate remotely. Whether this is a company’s first interview for a remote position or one hundredth, this deep understanding of how to communicate remotely or virtually is critical. If a candidate can see that a business is struggling in remote communication, they may be more apt to take advantage of communicating properly once hired. With that being said, a candidate who does not have the knowledge of the specific communications platforms being used in the job they’re applying for may be trainable on the right software based on their experience with other platforms. Make sure a discussion is had to reveal the full picture of what a candidate’s comfort level is with all the tools you require. 

Most importantly, use all interviews as a chance to see how skilled an applicant is in remote communication in general and if they’ll fit well with your style of management. From being available by text or chat for quick updates to video chats for meetings, there are many ways a remote worker should be prepared to be reached. Test these methods thoroughly throughout the interview process. 

Set hiring limits

One of the best things about hiring for a remote position is that the talent pool can open up beyond local candidates. This advantage can also become a nightmare for staffing agencies and HR departments that are overwhelmed by the number of applicants. One way to prevent an influx of candidates is to set specific locational parameters on a remote position. Be clear if an applicant can work from any time zone or if the position is only open to those in a certain range. If different time zones aren’t an issue, make sure while recruiting that candidates are skilled in using tools that make working across time zones easier. This can help in both the short term for communication and the long term for finding a reliable remote employee. 

Take time to check references

The vetting and interviewing process may take a bit longer than usual when considering remote candidates. Many strong applicants with a history of remote work may have gotten that experience through various contracted jobs instead of one position with one company. It will take extra time, but it will be valuable to reach out to all references and points of contact for those contracted positions to learn about what it was like to work remotely with that candidate. Doing this will provide a true sense of how the applicant handles clients, multiple projects and time management remotely. 

If your business is in need of staffing services related to recruiting, interviewing, or managing remote candidates and employees, TriStarr can help. Located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, TriStarr has been recognized with numerous awards in staffing services and is continuously named as one of the area’s best staffing agencies. From temp-staffing, HR management, consulting, and recruiting services, TriStarr has a wide range of services that can help any business. For more information on what TriStarr can do for you, contact us today.