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Establishing a remote workforce provides your company with substantial benefits. For example, you have access to a national or even a worldwide labor pool. As a result of this, you can take advantage of more skilled labor at more affordable labor rates.

You can also enjoy increased productivity from workers who typically are happier, less stressed and more motivated than their in-office co-workers.

While technology has dramatically altered how and where your employees can complete their tasks, many employers continue to use the same hiring process when hiring remote workers. Unfortunately, this traditional hiring process does not always work out well, and you may need to make some revisions to your remote worker hiring process for the best results. 

1. Clearly Define Your Terms and Expectations

Anytime you hire a new employee for a position, you must clearly define your terms and expectations for the position. This is even more important when hiring a remote worker who may have different expectations or plans than what you have for the position. For example, employees can be contract workers, contract-for-hire workers or part-time or full-time employees.

You should also establish regular work hours for your employees as well as a list of duties and requirements that they should meet regularly. You should make it clear that they should be reachable during their set work hours. When defining the terms of employment, specify the rate of pay as well as if the position is salaried or hourly.

2. Get as Close to a Personal Interview as Possible

In some cases, the remote worker whom you hire will live close enough to your office that he or she can come in for a personal interview. In most cases, however, the individual is located too far away to conveniently come in for a face-to-face interview.

You can, however, conduct a video interview to enjoy the benefit of eye contact and to learn about their personal demeanor. Email and phone calls may also be used during the interview process. Both can be used to test the candidate’s ability to communicate effectively and in a timely manner to business-related tasks.

The most comprehensive interview plan may take into account video, phone, and email methods because each can test a candidate’s communication abilities in different ways.

3. Ask the Right Behavioral Questions

While you need to ensure that the individual has the right skills for the job and can communicate effectively through various methods, you also need to ensure that person has the right personality type to work remotely.

This is an individual who will work in an isolated work environment without supervision for many long hours each day. Ask the individual where they work in their homes and how they handle being isolated. Talk about their future plans for working, such as if they plan to get back into an office environment at some point. Inquire about how they stay organized and on task throughout the day.

Each individual may have different answers, and there is not necessarily a right or wrong answer to these questions. However, they should logically make sense to you. Look for individuals who are self-motivated, tech-savvy, trustworthy, and well-organized if you want to make the best hiring decision possible. If you feel as though a candidate lacks in any of these critical areas, there is a good chance that they are not well-suited for a remote position.

4. Give Them a Skills-Related Test

Hire Your First Remote Workers

When you hire a worker to labor in your office, you have the ability to easily train and mentor this individual. This standard training process is much more difficult when hiring a remote worker.

Creating a skills test is a great way to ensure that the new remote workers have the competency to hit the ground running with a position. You may still need to do some remote training, but a modified or reduced training plan is much easier to complete remotely than a full-fledged mentorship.

This is also a great way to weed out unmotivated individuals. After all, individuals who are not properly motivated to work from home on their own likely will also not be motivated to take a skills test during the hiring process.

As you can see, there are many aspects of the remote employee hiring process that are different from the traditional hiring process. While there are substantial benefits associated with hiring a remote workforce, you definitely need the right individuals for the job if you want your remote team to be successful.

These tips can help you to more successfully find the right remote workers to bring onto your team. It may also be smart to hire them with a probationary period in place. If the work situation benefits the company and if the employee is right for the job, you can continue the relationship on a long-term basis.


Written By
Josh McAllister is an independent business consultant based in New York. In his free time, he enjoys all things geeky and gadgetry, the outdoors, and spending time with his family. You can reach him on Twitter.

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