So near yet so far: How to effectively recruit remote workers

With a number of companies adopting the policy to hire remote employees, here are some ways to ensure that the onboarding process is executed well.

Date published
February 06, 2019 Categories

With enhanced global connectivity we have entered a new era of hypermobility. This, combined with shifting attitudes, signals the arrival of the modern workplace, where teams work together from across the globe. Remote working is ‘the new normal’ and research from Upwork, finds 59 per cent of hiring managers today are using freelance and contract workers, up 24% from 2017.

This is predicted to rise by 168% in the next decade. Staggering, whilst 63% of employers have remote workers, the majority lack remote work policies. Hiring a remote team will have an impact on company culture, team trust and collaboration. Getting the recruitment and processes right is vital. Maintaining an exceptionally high standard of interviewing is critical when recruiting for remote workers, but so too is recruiting efficiently and respecting people’s time. I have researched and analysed the recruitment processes for many remote working positions. Below are some of my key findings and suggestions on how to effectively recruit remote workers.

Avoiding bias

The HR world is cognisant of the issues around bias, and the negative impact it can have on accessing talent. By its nature, recruiting for remote positions can have a swift and immediate impact on reducing bias.


Nailing the interview process

First stage video call: This is the most important part of the process. For remote teams, video calls are perhaps the most utilised form of communication and it’s essential your candidate is comfortable communicating in this way. Whilst face to face communication is perhaps the most important in an office based job, the requirement to communicate easily via video is an absolute must for a remote role.

Instant Messenger interviews: As a day-to-day communication tool, IM is a fundamental part of working within a remote team. You need to know that your candidate is competent in using this channel in whatever language is required.

Work Trials: For a work trial to be effective, it needs to replicate the real conditions of a job as closely as possible. Hiring for remote teams can be hard. As a relatively new phenomenon, we often don’t have past experiences to draw on, and an applicant may not have worked in a remote environment before. A remote work trial is a great way to test the water.


Referencing has fallen out of favour with recruiters due to it being time-consuming, inaccurate and costly. However, its value is immense and it is one of the few background checks that’s universally allowed. Zinc’s referencing tool aims to remove the existing pain points of referencing and enable recruiters to secure references simply, from day one of the process.

By securing referencing information prior to the final stage of the interview process, it will enable you to have the necessary information to make a decision after the trial or final interview.

Background checking

Remote employees still need proof of right to work and due to tax, you need to ensure the person you are employing is eligible to work. Local rules apply and it’s essential you check the local rules as they vary across jurisdictions. In most countries, you need to check proof of residency and right to work ID documentation, but you must take the time to ensure you are following local laws. The extra anonymity and trust that comes with remote working make it all the more contentious, but all the more important. The interview process for recruiting for remote positions certainly requires thought and creating solid processes that are specific to remote workers. With remote working becoming increasingly normalised and popular, it is wise to update processes accordingly to ensure you are recruiting and securing the best possible talent for your business.

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