Hiring a remote employee to join your team is a smart idea that offers numerous benefits. For example, you will have access to a larger talent pool to choose from, and you can save money on related overhead. Remote workers are generally happier, self-motivated and more productive in comparison to in-office workers.

While there are many benefits associated with hiring a remote worker, there are also challenges. This includes communication barriers, monitoring work activities, measuring performance and more. Hiring the right individual can potentially reduce or even eliminate some of these challenges associated with remote working. These important tips can help you to make a great hiring decision when adding a remote worker to your team.

Find Remote Workers Where They Are

Many people who are looking for a remote position use the same online platforms to search for openings. For example, they may actively use Facebook and Twitter to scout opportunities or they may keep their LinkedIn profile updated. Another common avenue that these individuals use to find potential remote work opportunities is by exploring multiple freelance websites that are commonly used for this purpose.

Understanding how to take advantage of these platforms to meet your needs is critical. First, create a page on your website dedicated to recruiting talent, and include a listing for your remote job opportunity on it. Then, add a link to this specific page on your website to your social media platforms. Your social media connections may be interested in the position themselves or may share the information with their own contacts.

There are other ideas to be more proactive in your efforts. For example, you can use a search function on LinkedIn to actively locate talent that may be a good fit for your company, and you can contact those individuals through LinkedIn. You can also add a listing or job posting to job board sites, such as WeWorkRemotely, Flexjobs or Upwork. However, be aware that some individuals on these bid sites offer very low bids and may produce low-quality work.

Create a Clear Job Description

Although the idea of working remotely tickles many people’s interest, the reality is that some  do not have the skills and traits that are necessary to be productive and successful in a home work environment. Finding an individual who has the skills and experience that are needed for the specific position and that have the personality traits to be productive at home can be challenging. Creating a clear job description is an essential first step in the hiring process.

Your job description should clearly outline the skills, experience and educational background required for the job. This should not be so detailed that it turns individuals off from applying, but it should cover the most important factors that are a true necessity for the position. In addition, you should specify the importance of finding a professional with critical traits. This includes being a self-starter, being well-organized and tech-savvy, having excellent communication skills, being trustworthy and being a team player.

You may think that many people would gloss over these specific trait requirements, but keep in mind that itemizing these traits may make some people realize that they do not have what it takes to work at home. Some may also find that they would not be a good fit for your company’s culture. Listing these qualities and traits can potentially help you to receive applications from more qualified candidates.

Screen the Candidates Carefully

All aspects of communication with an applicant should be analyzed carefully. When you communicate with the individual through email and over the phone, pay attention to clarity, conciseness and overall professionalism. If the individual cannot meet for an in-person interview, you can conduct the interview through a video conference. This gives you another opportunity to focus on how well the candidate communicates.

Remember that the right individual for a remote position must be able to get on task and stay focused throughout the day without regular oversight. Asking the right questions during the interview can help you to get a better idea about the type of worker that this individual would be for you. In the job interview, you should:

  • Ask about the candidate’s career goals, organization skills and overall focus in life
  • Inquire about previous instances of independent work and time management excellence
  • Explore their previous remote work experience and their understanding about what this type of work environment may be like
  • Ask about their technological background, such as with programs designed for project management, communications, file sharing and more
  • Examine how they will stay focused and meet deadlines while working at home
  • Inquire about the work hours that they plan to keep

Remember that you do not need to hire a full-time, salaried employee to join your team remotely right from the start. You can set up a probationary period, hire the individual on a contract basis or test the experience with part-time work initially.

Final Words

The benefits associated with hiring a remote employee can be tremendous, and you may discover that expanding your remote workforce in the years to come is a smart idea. However, in order to maximize the benefits of a remote work team, you must take steps to carefully select each individual who you choose to bring on board. Success in this effort begins with your ability to develop a smart recruiting process.

Jasmine Williams covers the good and the bad of today’s business and marketing. When she’s not being all serious and busy, she’s usually hunched over a book or dancing in the kitchen, trying hard to maintain rhythm, but delivering some fine cooking (her family says so). Tweet her @JazzyWilliams88