Hiring Remote Employees: From the Job Search to Onboarding - theEMPLOYEEapp

Hiring Remote Employees: From the Job Search to Onboarding

Hiring Remote Employees: From the Job Search to Onboarding

Last updated on March 7, 2024 at 10:46 am

Is your company embracing the remote work revolution? Welcome to the future! But even though expanding your talent pool comes with a lot of perks, it can leave recruiting teams scrambling to find the right talent. But don’t worry. We’re here to share best practices for hiring remote employees from start to finish.

Why Hiring Remote Employees is a GREAT Idea

First things first, why is hiring remote employees such a good idea? There are several reasons, but the most important are: 

  • It gives you access to a much larger pool of talent. This can help you with hiring more diverse employees and finding the right fit for your open positions.
  • Remote workers tend to be more productive. Despite people crying wolf about remote workers being lazy, that’s actually a dangerous stereotype and not really true.
  • Cost savings. Without the need for physical office space, employers can save on rent, utilities, office supplies, and other related expenses. Remote work also reduces commuting costs for employees, which can lead to increased job satisfaction and higher retention rates.

remote employee working from home on her laptop with a cup of coffee

Searching for Remote Employees to Hire

When it comes to finding remote talent, you might be overwhelmed by the volume of applicants you now have access to. But don’t panic! The hiring process is still very similar to what you’re used to. You just need to make a few adjustments to account for everything being done virtually. 

Let’s break down what you have to do:

  1. Define the role and requirements. Just like you do with any job application, you have to have a clear sense of what you’re looking for and what the job will be like. If it’s the first time hiring someone for that role remotely, really think about what kind of skills would help someone be successful. Whatever you do, make sure you and the hiring manager are on the same page.
  2. Craft a compelling (and accurate) job description. Writing a good job description is crucial to attract qualified remote candidates. Make sure to include:
    • A job title that accurately reflects the position.
    • Key responsibilities and objectives of the role, as well as where the role fits within the team and broader organization.
    • Detailed requirements, including the necessary skills, qualifications, and experience for the role. Highlight specific remote work skills, such as self-discipline, adaptability, and tech proficiency.
    • Clearly state that the position is remote and mention any specific requirements related to time zones, availability for virtual meetings, or collaboration tools used.
    • Information about your company’s culture, mission, and values to attract candidates who align with your organization.
  3. Advertise the job opening. Use a mix of job boards, professional networking platforms, other recruiters, and social media channels to reach a wide audience.

Adapting your existing hiring process to include remote work will attract candidates who are well-suited for remote work and increase the chances of finding the right fit for your business.

laptop screen with the words remote job. online job application for hiring remote employees.

Conducting Remote Job Screening Interviews

Next up: the job interview. Again, you already have the interview skills and the instincts. You just need to adapt your approach to find people who are a good fit for the role and who thrive in a remote work environment.

Here are some best practices for conducting remote job interviews:

  1. Plan and structure the interview. Prepare a structured interview format with a clear agenda and questions tailored to the role and the remote work context. Use a mix of behavioral, situational, and competency-based questions to evaluate candidates’ capabilities.
  2. Assess remote work skills. Remote work demands certain skills and attributes like self-discipline, time management, and the ability to work independently. Ask candidates about their previous remote work experience, their routines for staying focused and productive, and how they handle potential challenges of remote work.
  3. Evaluate communication skills. Effective communication is essential for distributed teams. Use interview questions that probe candidates’ ability to communicate clearly, resolve conflicts, and collaborate with colleagues in a remote setting. Ask for examples of how they’ve overcome communication barriers or built relationships with remote team members.
  4. Provide a virtual office tour. Since remote candidates won’t have the opportunity to visit the physical office, consider providing a virtual office tour during the interview. This can give them a sense of the company culture, workspace setups of remote team members, and an understanding of how the team collaborates virtually.

Remember that your role is to pass along candidates to the hiring manager that could be a good fit. The most important thing is to assess value-fit and find people who will help your company innovate and continue to grow.

And of course, follow typical best practices by allowing candidates to ask their questions and by following up promptly and providing feedback.

Getting Remote Employees Set Up for Success

Because remote employees can’t come into the office, they might need more support and energy from the hiring manager to make them feel welcomed. Here’s how you can get remote hires set up for success before their first day on the new job:

  1. Provide clear instructions. Send a detailed email outlining what they need to do before their first day. Include instructions on setting up their work equipment, installing necessary software or tools, and any pre-employment paperwork or documentation required.
  2. Send a welcome package. Consider also sending a welcome package to the remote hire’s home address, including company swag, branded merchandise, or any materials that will make them feel welcomed and part of the team.
  3. Assign a buddy or mentor. Pair the remote hire with a member of the team who can guide them through the onboarding process and provide support.
  4. Introduce key communication channels. Get remote employees set up on the communication channels they’ll use regularly. House onboarding materials, resources, and new hire recognition posts on those channels.

young black remote employee on a video call for work. Text that says "set remote employees up for success" with four best practices to do that.

Onboarding Your Remote Employees

Now this is the fun part: onboarding! Remote onboarding is a critical process for successfully integrating new hires into a remote work environment. 20 percent of employees quit within the first 45 days (SHRM), and that’s not even factoring in remote work isolation. So showing up during onboarding and the first 30, 60, and 90 days is critical. 

Here are some best practices to consider:

Stick to the Script

Adapting your employee onboarding program for the digital workforce doesn’t have to be rocket science. The basic premise is still the same. You need to:

  • Establish a structured plan. Create a well-defined onboarding plan specifically tailored for remote employees. Outline the key activities, milestones, and goals for the first 30, 60, and 90 days of their employment. This plan should include a clear timeline, expectations, and objectives to guide the new hire’s progress.
  • Work alongside the employee’s manager. HR and hiring managers are partners in onboarding! Rely on each other and keep the lines of communication open.
  • Conduct virtual onboarding and orientation sessions. Schedule virtual sessions with key team members, HR representatives, and the hiring manager. This ensures the employee isn’t isolated in their first week.
  • Quickly provide access to training and resources. Don’t leave new hires hanging. Remember that remote employees are stuck alone on an island until you get them on the boat. Get them up and running on your technology, comms channels, and the information they’ll need for their job.

The Role of Managers in Onboarding Remote Workers

Once an employee is hired, the hiring manager needs to step up. They should focus on:

  • Helping remote workers connect with the larger team. Facilitate virtual introductions and encourage remote hires to connect with their colleagues through team collaboration tools, virtual coffee chats, or social channels. Encourage existing team members to reach out and offer assistance to create a sense of belonging and camaraderie.
  • Conducting regular check-ins and feedback sessions. Managers should schedule regular check-ins at various intervals, such as weekly or biweekly, to provide ongoing support, answer questions, and offer feedback. These check-ins help remote hires feel supported, address any challenges, and ensure they are on track with their goals.


Onboarding Beyond 30 Days

Where most companies start to fall off is onboarding after an employees’ first week. Because at that point, they’ve done all the paperwork and they’re on all the systems. One might think that you’re done! 

But that’s a missed opportunity.

It’s important for HR to check back in and talk to the employee candidly about how things are going and how they felt about the hiring and onboarding process. While it’s still fresh on their minds, you can learn how to improve onboarding for other remote employees in the future.

And you never know when you might catch an employee not feeling like they belong or are supported. This can be a great chance to save great talent and fill any gaps in their employee experience.

Best Practices for Hiring Remote Employees

Hiring remote employees requires a thoughtful and strategic approach to ensure a successful and productive working relationship. Here are the top three best practices to keep in mind:

  1. Create a clear and compelling job description that accurately reflects the role and remote work policies.
  2. Conduct thorough remote interviews and make sure the candidate gets their questions answered.
  3. Prioritize onboarding and support.

Embracing these practices will contribute to a positive remote employee experience, increased productivity, and a stronger remote workforce.



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