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The secrets to remote hiring

by Daniela Sesma on April 18, 2019

Topics: Remote Work

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If you’ve read our blogs, the chances are you won’t have missed that we work 100% remotely.  

And that includes, of course, the entire hiring process. To some it might sound impossible to hire an employee they’ve never met in person, but to us, it’s an everyday situation.

So let me explain exactly how the magic happens – in three parts

 

Develop a process

As with everything else at Wings4U, our remote hiring is driven by a process that we’ve built up from scratch, which has proven to be very effective.  

It all begins with the request for a new position. As the HR team, we ensure we fully understand the background of the request, the responsibilities of the position and build a picture of what our perfect match would look like so we’re fully prepared to move on to stage 2: reviewing the candidates.

What’s a perfect match for us, you might ask? We look for someone with the required skill set (which goes without saying as we assume every company looks for this) but who also fits with our company culture; same brand of fun, same passion for growth, and same focus on local knowledge and cost efficiency applied to a global environment.

Once we start receiving candidates into our system, we carefully go through each candidate profile looking for the skills that match our search, asking clarification questions as needed. It’s important for candidates to provide a detailed CV and/or LinkedIn profile or portfolio. Not only does it make it easier for us to learn about their work history, but it also enables us to assign them the correct tags in our system. This means that if a candidate is not quite the perfect fit for one particular position, we can reach out to them when there’s another one that might fit them better

Once we’ve shortlisted candidates against key criteria for the position, we go through the first interview round. We always conduct first interviews via video conference with no exception.  Why? Because it’s the closest to being in the same room with the candidate as we can get. It gives us a better sense of who the candidate is, and how he/she would adapt to our company culture. It also lets the candidate feel more relaxed when they realize that the people interviewing them are two sweet ladies from opposite sides of the world!

During the interview we keep to a set number of standard questions: we took the advice of the Who? The A Method for Hiring book and then tailored questions to work for our own processes.  As a result, we can compare apples to apples, instead of trying to figure out who is a better fit based on a casual conversation with someone we’ve just met.

After the first round, we sit down with the hiring manager and review the profiles of the candidates that stood out for us as the top fits. We then invite these candidates to  go through a second round, sometimes they might do a testing round as well, depending on the skills needed (you can’t really tell if a graphic designer is going to be good just by chatting with them, can you?). All of this leads to the very best being hired in the end!

 

Build a network

Another important part of being successful at hiring remotely, is building your network. At first it wasn’t easy, of course. But once you start having more open positions, and receiving candidate information, you can start to develop your database - these candidates will be the first ones you reach out to when a new opening arises. After all, you already know they’re interested in working with you! We work a lot with tagging and make sure we categorize all the skills the applicants have, so it’s easier to find them later on. On the other hand, it’s important to remember that your own employees are your best advocates as well. They can always use their own personal networks to advertise new openings, and refer candidates that might be a good fit.

 

Be prepared for people to be… well, people

My final secret to hiring remotely is about people. Hiring is a project in which the final asset is a new employee becoming a part of your company. It’s a process that is intrinsically human, and therefore you must be prepared for the many aspects that can affect a human being who is looking  for a new job. Some candidates might not be sure of what they want as the next step in their careers, some might be juggling more than one hiring process at once, so you might end up with a top candidate that drops out of the race just before you’re about to hire them because they’ve chosen another company. This is normal, and is sometimes expected. What’s important, though is to always have a backup plan, and not to fall in love with a candidate before you’re sure they’ve fallen in love with your company as well.

Testing the candidates before they’re  fully hired is also something that we implement pretty often. This isn’t just about ensuring the candidate’s skills meet interview expectations, and that he/she is comfortable and able to work remotely in a way that works for the team. It’s also about providing a real-life experience of the working environment that the soon-to-be teammate and the team are going to be part of, as a rehearsal for smooth and successful collaboration from then on.
At the core of our entire hiring process is something we’re most proud of: our company culture. We’ve designed it so that from the first contact you have with us until the time you start getting regular projects, or even if you collaborate with us every now and then, you’ll know what we’re  all about. Every meeting, project, and onboarding asset is created to showcase that working remotely efficiently is possible and is being done (we’re the living proof!) - and that being remote does not drift people apart – rather it makes you closer, and more connected.

 

What are your secrets to remote hiring? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions, so get in touch.   

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