Top Tips for Hiring the Right Virtual Employees

Top Tips for Hiring the Right Virtual Employees

Twenty years ago, if your business hired remote workers, people would have called you crazy. Fast forward to the times we live in presently, it would be safe to say that these people were wrong. Remote working has been on the rise for the last decade. Flexible working is the future of work and the pandemic has only accelerated this rapidly growing trend. A remote workforce is an asset, provided you practice industry-recommended tips for hiring the right virtual employees.

Working with remote employees is different from managing an in-house team. This is why the virtual recruitment strategies also differ from those for in-house recruitments. In this article, we will have a look at how to hire the right remote employees for your business and what processes make the screening easier.

Hiring the right virtual employees – How to recruit and hire the best remote workers?

When your business decides to shift to a remote working model, employees are not the only resources that need to change. Both business workflows and leadership also need to adjust to the new working conditions. So, before you start your search for the right offshore partner, it’s a good idea to speak to business owners who already have a remote working setup. Their experiences will help you prepare for the process and avoid any unexpected surprises.

Plus, you also need to get a grip on technology to stay in touch with your remote workforce. Read about project management tools, understand how video and audio software work, and then decide what platform and software would be the best for your business.

Can every job be done by a remote team?

A big reason why remote working gets a bad rep is because many employers cannot distinguish between the jobs that can be done remotely and those that cannot be. Hiring the right virtual employees is possible only for jobs that don’t require physical presence or in-person interaction – for example, data entry, software development, content writing, social media marketing, bookkeeping and accounting, and customer support.

But, let’s assume if you remotely hire employees from India to show around houses in SoHo, that’s impossible. Real estate is an in-person job that requires a physical team on the ground to perform their duties and interact with potential buyers. However, you can definitely hire lawyers who work remotely to draw up contracts for properties that you sell.

So, before going on a recruitment spree, figure out if your business requires an in-house team or a remote workforce will do just fine. That being said, take a look at six tried and tested tips to hire awesome virtual employees for your business.

Tip #1: Know where to look

You can build a remote workforce from all over the world; however, due diligence does play a big role. Research for potential hot spots for the kind of talent you require, and then post job openings accordingly. For instance, if you want to hire employees from India, make sure to reach out to a reputed firm with a proven track record and experience.

Tip #2: Avoid freelance websites

Websites like Freelancer and Upwork are good, but they don’t add a lot of value if you want a long-term commitment. The reason behind this is, most contractors on such sites have full-time jobs. Freelancing is a side hustle for them. Instead, try traditional job portals like Monster, LinkedIn, or Indeed. They feature professionals who want career advancement rather than a quick buck.

Tip #3: Come up with virtual recruitment strategies

Create a well-rounded list of questions that encompass the personality, background, and skillsets of your candidates. Also, whether you want your employees to work in a similar time zone as your target audience also matters. This is quite relevant if you organize many virtual events with active community management and hosting.

Tip #4: Start with a test project

Before you dot the i’s and cross the t’s, you need to be one hundred percent sure if the candidate you selected is a good fit for the job. Sometimes, interviewees exaggerate their skills.

A good way to overcome this is to kickoff your remote engagement with a paid probation period. This means that your employee will get the same remuneration as a full-time employee, only on a contractual basis. Use this time to test their skills, the quality of work that they deliver, and their communication ability. Once you’ve thoroughly vetted them, it’s time to bring them on board full time.

Tip #5: Soft skills matter too

What good is an employee that delivers excellent work but is always late?

Keep in mind the reason why you went for a remote working model in the first place. You wanted quality work within the stipulated deadlines – the hallmark of all credible and renowned outsourcing service providers. Therefore, it is not recommended to ignore a lack of soft skills and assume the employee will pick them up with time.

Some of the skills that you must assess during the probation period are:

  • Honesty
  • Transparency
  • Proactiveness
  • Tech-savviness
  • Time management
  • Commitment to deadlines
  • Upfront about wanting help
  • Ability to work alone with minimal guidance

Tip #6: Watch out for red flags

This point is more for the organization than its employees. For instance, if a candidate is unable to log into the virtual interview, the company is perhaps not as tech-savvy as it claims. Although this alone isn’t the reason you should reject a vendor right away, it certainly is something to consider – especially if this is a recurring occurrence.

Some other red flags include:

  • Poor communication skills
  • Distraction-laded workspace
  • Inability to share a sample or offer a no-obligation trial
  • Evading job-related questions and focusing more on the payment

Alright. But what would you suggest to improve virtual hiring?

Hiring the right virtual employees should be the topmost concern for every business that wants to embrace the remote working model. But if you are used to in-house hiring, you will have to devise virtual recruitment strategies.

When you interview a candidate face to face, you can read their expressions, ask questions to determine whether they’d be a good fit within your organization, and have them demonstrate their skills. Unfortunately, gauging whether a candidate is good enough over a laptop screen is not as easy as it seems.

Questions to ask from the candidates: How do I hire employees virtually?

Hopefully, the tips shared above will help you come up with a great virtual recruitment strategy.

Below are some of the most important questions that you should ask potential candidates:

  • How do you and your company tackle big projects without a physical office?
  • What’s your experience working remotely?
  • Can you share an experience where you implemented a unique strategy for one of your clients that paid off?
  • Can you share testimonials of your former clients?
  • Do you think the job posting needs changes? If so, what are your suggestions?
  • What tools do you use to communicate?
  • Are your products licensed or do I have to pay for them? (If your requirements would need software such as Photoshop, AutoCAD, Lumia, etc.)
  • How soon can you start? What direction do you require from my end to get started?
  • Do you offer a trial period?

How to create a fitting job description that attracts the right candidates?

Once you have a better sense of what you need virtual employees to do, the only thing remaining is to create a compelling job description. This doesn’t differ much from an in-house job posting. Just make sure it presents a crisp and clear outline of what your expectations are.

  • Add info about your organization. Include details about what you do, products or services that you offer, and the areas that you service.
  • List down all the activities that the job will entail.
  • Mention the skill, experience, and qualifications that you’re looking for.
  • Jot down the tentative shift timings – whether you’re comfortable if the employee works your time zone or are flexible with work timings as long as the tasks are submitted on time.
  • Mention the tools your employees must have experience with. For example, if you’re hiring a millwork drafter, your job description should mention that the candidates must be familiar with Sketchup, AutoCAD, or SolidWorks.
  • Also, if your in-house employees use communication and audio-video software like Slack or Zoom already, it is a good idea to mention this too. This way, the candidate will have clarity on what platforms they are expected to use for communication, once they’re hired.
Hiring the right virtual employees: Final notes

At first glance, building a remote workforce may seem intimidating. All the jargon, the fear of hiring someone thousands of miles away, and the time zone difference are enough to deter most businesses from building a remote workforce. Moreover, there is an overwhelming amount of misleading information on the internet as well as many rogue service providers. However, with deeper research, it is possible to hire employees from India who offer quality services within reasonable deadlines and affordable prices. You will soon realize that hiring offshore employees is not just economical but also beneficial to your business in several other ways.


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