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How to Hire Virtual Employees

 HR manager is selecting candidate for hiring with virtual screen computer.

We live in a new age where nearly all office-based employees are working from home. There’s no question that telecommuting has grown tremendously in the past decade, but the coronavirus’ impact on the workplace has heightened its growth over the past few months. As some offices transition from temporary to more permanent home-based work, it’s time to think about something more than just managing your remote workforce. Now that you’ve abandoned previous in-office practices or you’ve considered hiring remote employees, you need to know how to hire new employees in a virtual environment and bring them onto your team successfully.

Why Hire Virtual Employees?

Even if you’re not planning on staying in a remote environment forever, it is a good idea to hire remote employees. With access to anyone from any location, you widen your chances of discovering diverse talent and experiences. Along with that, remote employees are more affordable. In fact, a recent study by Global Workplace Analytics shows us that a remote work program can save employers up to $11,000 per employee per year. This is due to reduced real estate costs, varied wages, and increased retention because employees love the flexibility. Overall, many business owners find remote employees extremely valuable and affordable.

Reestablish Your Hiring Process

Now that you’re looking for a remote employee virtually, you may need to alter your hiring process. Without the ability to host in-person interviews, you must consider how, when, and where, you’re going to make these interviews happen.

Finding Your Candidate

Whether your office is fully remote or you’re just looking for a new remote team member, you must figure out what you need before starting your search. To begin with, you must clearly define what your needs are. From there you will create a job description, find potential candidates, and interview those candidates.

Employ a Hiring Agency

If you don’t want to manage the hiring process yourself, you can always invest in a hiring/staffing service to do the work for you. You’ll simply need to provide them the prospective employee’s job requirements, salary information, and expected length of contract. The agency will prescreen candidates for you. Hiring agencies may even conduct interviews for the employer, if requested. Most agencies also handle drafting employee contracts, but the company who hires the employee will handle time tracking and payroll.

Decide Where to Post the Position

f you decide to do things on your own and opt out of a hiring agency, you can post your open position(s) online. There are tons of places you can post for free, such as Indeed, Glassdoor, Google, Handshake, and more. You can find a full list of free job posting sites here. Going the affordable route is a great option, however, some employers find that they get poor leads from free job listing services, so they opt in to pay instead. FlexJobs, for example, costs $545.00 to post 5 jobs on their website; however, it’s likely you’ll get more quality leads because these people are specifically seeking remote work and are also paying for the service.

Whether you pay for job listings or not, you’ll want to post to many websites to broaden your chance of finding your ideal candidate.

Create the Job Description

A well-written job description will make the employee aware of your exact needs and wants, as well as the work duties expected of them. The job description will also help applicants understand if this role aligns with their skill sets and interests. When composing a job description, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind:

  1. Utilize concise language.
  2. Clearly state whether it’s a fully remote position or a hybrid position that requires time in your physical office space.
  3. Use keywords that will lead those with the appropriate qualifications to your job posting. Use words such as “content creation”, “social media”, “recruitment”, and so on.
  4. Briefly describe your business model.
  5. Outline your company mission and a few things about the culture of your company (collaborative, communicative, solo work, etc.).
  6. List expected job duties for the position.
  7. Name specific qualifications they should meet, such as desired skills and years spent in the industry. 
  8. Indicate the scope of the employee benefit package information, if applicable.
  9. Specify the number of hours they’re expected to work each week.
  10. Optional: list the hourly wage or annual salary information.

Find the Ideal Candidate

Job descriptions are extremely important, and you want your candidate to meet those requirements; however, personality plays a huge role in the hiring process. As someone who will work from home, you’ll want to find a candidate who is self-motivated, self-disciplined, organized, technologically savvy, and an effective communicator. Having remote workers means that you aren’t there to monitor their progress in person, so you’ll want to hire someone who can handle things independently.

The characteristics above may speak for themselves, but it’s incredibly important to remember them when hiring remote employees. Finding a candidate who will get things done and communicate effectively with you and other team members will create a positive remote company culture.

Virtual Interview Process

Interviews are the most integral part of the hiring process. Interviews tell you a lot about potential employees, and if you can’t meet them in person, it’s a good idea to host a video interview. Although phone interviews may seem ideal and may be easier, you must keep in mind that humans provide non-verbal communication cues that are incredibly important for conversation. Set up a video call with your candidates to get to know them better. 

Review the Right Things

Some believe that “getting to know you” questions are a lot more helpful when hiring remote employees. Although they’re going to work in their home offices, they will still most likely have to communicate and collaborate with other team members. By asking questions about their professional experiences and work habits, you’ll get a better idea as to whether they’ll fit in with your team. Even for remote workers, hiring someone who is a team player will be important for your success.

Host Multiple Interviews & Give Tasks

You’ll most likely not have time to review everything you want or fit in every question you’d like during the first round of interviews. This is why a lot of remote teams host an average of three rounds of interviews. The first interview should focus on the person’s wants, values, and how they’d fit into the culture. After that, the second interview should focus on the applicant’s experience and skillset. Finally, you may wish to host a third interview to review any last minute questions or you can also use this as an opportunity to give the applicant a task to complete.

Giving a candidate a work-related task is an effective way to gauge how they work and how they’ll align with your company. Not only that, but it will also give you an indication as to how quickly this person can complete assignments. Tasks can be simple or as complex as you want them to be. Provide the candidate a clear deadline, so they know when to complete the task. If the position were a social media content position, for example, you may ask the candidate to create three social media posts that align with your current feed.

Trial/Probation Period

After you’ve conducted your interviews and selected your candidate(s), it’s time to get them on board. You can hire them outright, although some employers prefer probationary periods for new employees. This gives you the chance to explore whether this person is a good fit for the position. This is especially true for remote hires, where it may be uniquely beneficial to have the new employee undergo a probationary period. This way you don’t have to worry about high termination costs if the employee doesn’t work out.

Getting Started

Hiring virtual employees can be extremely beneficial to your business. Not only is it affordable, but you can broaden your team’s skills and gain some fantastic new talent by expanding outside of your local network. Just remember to be as detailed as possible when creating your job posts and ask important questions during the interview process. Once you’ve mastered the virtual hiring process, you will build up your well-qualified team in no time.

Interested in tracking your new employee’s time and tasks? Try Timesheets.com for free today. You can monitor and manage your employees online.

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