What used to be a weird dream at the beginning of 20th century now is an integral part of modern life. I bet your grannies could have imagined working for a company situated in the other part of the world. But now work at a distance won’t surprise anybody. However, such shift on the job market implies some changes in HR workflow. Let’s take a look at the differences in hiring remote employees and in-house staff.
When you face the shortage of local specialists, you can hire one from abroad. For example, Scandinavian countries lack IT specialists that’s why they either outsource their tasks or make relocation offers to foreigners.
If you have to find workers for short-term projects, it’s better to hire remotely. When the project is over, you’ll have to fire that person, which may affect company’s reputation.
Remote employees are more independent. They demand less supervision, and as a result, the company hires fewer managers to control workers and saves money.
This rule concerns both in-house and remote employees – be as precise as possible while writing a job description. If you don’t explain a candidate the responsibilities, you can find this person completing the task in a wrong way.
This is when the independence of a remote worker can backfire on you. Put your ideas clearly to avoid misunderstandings.
And a candidate sees a detailed description of the work, he/she is more likely to answer you.
One of the mistakes HRs make while looking for a remote worker is that they do not even try to imagine what type of person they need to hire for remote work, and actually what are the main features of a person able to work efficiently on distance.
Think about soft skills. Don’t look for an independent team player. It sounds like an oxymoron. Who you really need is a person with a following set of skills:
– self-motivated as remote workers do not receive much support from managers and team members;
– good written communicator (because they will mainly chat in messengers);
– reliable (If a person doesn’t feel like trustworthy, how can you entrust business matters to him/her?).
The fact that you’re looking for people to work remotely doesn’t remove the necessity to interview a candidate face-to-face. Luckily, modern technology allows you to do so – video calls are at your disposal. But before that, there are some other ways to check the candidate – email and phone interview.
Email interview may seem weird at first sight, but it has a few advantages. You can test this communication channel, how fast your future employees react to messages, and if they can answer the questions coherently in a written form. Arrange a phone call if you want to test candidate’s ability to answer logically and showcase verbal communication. Use Skype for check out behavioral factors – emotions, cultural compatibility, etc.
The number of questions you ask is approximately the same, but they are different in content.
Questions to remote workers are aimed at understanding how independent they are, if they are motivated and what is their main motivation. Here you have to switch on your inner psychologist to feel the subtle difference between the intent to work at home and the intent to stay at home (escaping work).
It’s important for you to understand their organizational and planning skills because the chance of a missed deadline among remote workers is higher. Ask about the work environment where they are the most productive, what planning approaches they would advise to cope with the tasks.
Bonuses and Perks
Despite being remote workers, these people are still your workers. If they perform well, they deserve for bonuses. To headhunt the needed specialist, you need to offer perks too.
The “cookies” they receive might be different from what in-house member have, but they definitely won’t refuse from paid days off and vacation credit. Learn the interests of your candidates to personalize their perks as much as possible. It’ll be a win-win deal for both sides – the more you care about your worker, the bigger is the chance to hire a loyal employee.
Some HR managers completely miss this point when they need to hire a remote worker for the first time. Depending on the position you’re hiring for time zone can be both advantage and drawback, so don’t forget to ask your potential candidates where do they live and their preferred schedule.
What you need to know is whether the working hours of in-house and remote worker should coincide or overlap would be enough. On the other hand, time difference plays into your hands, as the company gets a chance to operate 24/7.
If you cannot find the specialist with the needed skillset, you can vet them within your company by investing into young talents’ education.
Remote employees are usually found working on two or more projects, so there is always a chance they’ll leave. Thus, hiring an in-house staff for a long-term project feels more reliable.
You see in-house team members every day, so they are easier to manage and control.
You can be less strict with your demands. I don’t mean you can write a vague description full of empty words saying nothing about the job. But in case of an in-house worker, you can leave out subtleties. If a candidate doesn’t know some peculiarities of the work, you can always count on team members – they will help out a novice. If a person is willing to study, he/she master the necessary skills during the workflow. It won’t go with a remote employee – you are looking for full-fledged specialists.
Of course it depends on the position, but generally, a person you are looking for must be a team player since he/she is going to become a company member and share company’s values.
If you look through vacancy descriptions, you’ll see that the majority of them demand a candidate to be active. The extravert-based approach is, firstly, discriminating, and secondly, such narrow-minded approach may lead to conflicts. Even two strong leaders in a team can be too much. So, think twice before including word “active” into a vacancy description, and be more precise with what kind of activity you demand from a candidate – able to work or able to rule.
Written communication isn’t that important for an in-house employee. That’s where we typically demand decent presentation skills.
Here HR specialists don’t need to apply all the variety of interviews to test a candidate’s skillset. Sure, you can write emails, but you won’t pay that much attention to this type of communication – companies prefer face-to-face communication. (However, I know that some HRs won’t agree with me saying that writing shows if a person can put his/her thoughts logically).
Thus, the procedure includes CV screening, phone/Skype call and face-to-face meeting(s). Some companies also prefer to hold testing days so that a candidate could meet the team and get acquainted with real tasks. This method also is fine to see if people will find a common language and their work will be conflict-free.
In-house team members realize managers will control them, and they won’t be able to act a maggot. Even if they are, it won’t last long. So, in this case, it’s better to concentrate on other aspects such as teamwork. Ask about candidate’s experience of team success or failure, or if he/she can mediate disagreements.
Bonuses and Perks
Salary is something that goes without saying, but you cannot attract or retain a top talent only with money. You have to offer perks. What are these in case of in-house workers?
Having a beautiful office with pets influences a company’s brand, but not a candidate’s choice. Would you agree to work for a company just because of elaborate design? I’d recommend staying away from indicating this as a perk. Let it be a pleasant surprise.
If your candidate stresses his/her wish to study and develop the skills, you can offer workshops and extra educational activities. Language classes are a good idea too.
Still looking for “active” person? Don’t forget to boost this activity with sports, for instance. Offer them gym membership.
Team players need engaging team building activities. Games, picnics, pizza parties – it’s up to you and your company what to choose. Just help people make friends with their colleagues.
Not a problem for in-house employees, as time zone has no impact on their work. However, flexible schedule might be partially related. Ask a candidate what do you mean by this notion – if workers can leave whenever they want, or they just choose the most convenient hours to work in office (either from 8 to 5 or from 11 to 8).
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About the author
Julia Kravchenko is a Partner and HR Vice President of an IT staffing company Qubit Labs, with 10+ years of experience in hiring software development talents. She dedicates her free time to reading tech news, writing articles about outsourcing, IT staffing, remote working and internet marketing.