Let's face it. Recruitment is a bit of a gamble under the best of circumstances. Add a faceless candidate halfway around the globe with a different culture and language to the mix, and it might sound like a game of Russian roulette to some. The truth is, remote employment offers a lot more advantages than disadvantages when done right. But how do we eliminate the risk of the 'unknown'? For starters, remove the blindfold by avoiding these typical mistakes when hiring remote employees.
Hiring without 'meeting' the candidate
We hardly ever hear about candidates being hired without at least one face-to-face interview in traditional work environments. So why should remote employees be any different? Granted, the geographic distance of some candidates may not permit a face-to-face interview. But free tools such as Skype, Google Hangouts, Facetime, and Zoom can help employers achieve the same goal: assess if a candidate would fit. 'Meeting' your candidate this way will give you the opportunity to see if he/she is punctual (which hints at the candidate's general attitude towards time). And you can gauge if the candidate's personality would match your management style. If the candidate is from a different country, you'll get to assess if there might be a clash in culture between the candidate and your company. Much of the candidate's body language during the video call will provide clues if he/she matches your organizational goals and values.
Not inquiring about work organization methods
Your bet on remote work is doomed from the start if your recruit has an appalling sense of work organization and structure. And it is your job to establish this before hiring. Because of the nature of remote work, your candidate has to be able to manage him/herself with minimum supervision. Ask questions such as what time their work day starts and how they prioritize and handle tasks. Find out the tools they use to keep their projects neat and tidy to determine if the candidate can deliver on time without getting lost in a sea of work.
Not doing background research on candidate
Every candidate has a history. A record that speaks of their achievements, ethics, social behaviors, temperaments, attempts, and failures. Employers need to be savvy in gaining this information through every means at their disposal. When searching for a candidate, it's best to start with your network of friends and professional connections. It's less risky when a candidate comes highly recommended by someone who has experience working with him/her. When a candidate does not come through recommendation, do a general search in Google, Facebook and LinkedIn to get a feel for the candidate. You just might avoid employing serial procrastinators and substance abusers.
Not communicating the essentials
The essentials here refer to your company's expectations, its policies, procedures, work requirements and other vital information. Just because we don't have 100% visibility on remote employees, it doesn't mean they don't have to abide by the company's rules. If a recruit is not aware how sensitive information must be treated, he/she may not install the required infrastructure or take necessary precautions. Likewise, it is impossible for an employee to excel if he/she does not know what is expected of him/her. Transparency works both ways.
Hiring candidates with the cheapest rate
By doing this, you risk hiring someone with no experience or not prepared to offer the full service. Either way, you are not going to get stellar performance here. This is ok if you are willing to invest further time tweaking your recruit's work, but know that your time is also money. This isn’t to say that you can't go wrong with the most expensive candidate. But you need to find a comfortable balance between pay rate and quality. The best way to achieve this is to assess each candidate's past work and measure its worth against your company's goals. Hire a candidate who can give the best value for your budget on a trial run before employing him/her full-time. Just don't set a dirt-cheap budget because it's a remote position. You do get what you pay for.
Not having a pool of remote workers
Technology has brought us very far from where we were a decade ago. Still, human beings have yet to be entirely replaced by robots. So, until such a time arrives, we have to make peace with the fact that even remote employees may lose motivation, experience burnout or change their minds about working remotely, resulting in declining work quality. This can be a problem for your company, especially when it is expanding or preparing for an important event. You want to have a backup plan for these situations by establishing a pool of remote workers ahead of time instead of relying on one or two employees.
Hiring in a hurry
Hiring in a hurry is never a good idea no matter how pressed you are for a remote employee. Chances are, you will forego the points above in your selection process or turn a blind eye to blaring warning signals out of desperation. By the time you realize the candidate is unable to perform the task you had urgently hired him/her for, you would have lost precious time. In the end, you will have to go through the entire process again to get the job done. You might as well get it right the first time by spending a bit more time and avoid wasting everybody's time.
These are just some of the mistakes to avoid when hiring remote employees. Will it guarantee your next recruit will be a perfect match for your company? Probably not. We are people dealing with people. And there are many dynamics at play in the employer-employee relationship. If there is just no chemistry between the two, no amount of due diligence can make it work.