The days of climbing the corporate ladder are disappearing quickly. As millennials are growing up and entering the market, 44% of them want to change their job within the next two years, 66% within the next four. Flexibility is the name of the game, and hand in hand with that comes freelancing and the freedom of remote work: the ability to work outside of the office, in a different city, even a different country, while creating your own schedule.
This mentality suits the independent millennials who care about collaboration and professional progression more than they do about wearing suits and going into the office. Currently, 34% of American workers are freelancers, and by 2020 that figure is expected to grow to 50% of the workforce. Yet, freelancing and remote work are still relatively young work structures. Remote work only became possible with the growth of the Internet and online tools that allow instant communication more efficiently than email and actually made the ability to work outside of an office a viable possibility.
So, remote work is possible, but that doesn't mean it's easy to hire remote talent. The Internet is a big place. How do you know where to look? Here are five tips to help you source the remote talent you need online.
1. Know Exactly What You're Looking For.
If you're hiring a web designer, peruse great web design portfolios and establish what you like and what features might be useful for your site specifically. If you're hiring a developer, know what tech stack you'll be using. Establishing what skills and background you need is important in every vertical. This first step is especially important when sourcing talent online because you won't have just a handful of referrals to sort through, but instead a potentially huge number of résumés submitted online. Be as specific as possible with your remote job description and limit the number of applicants by being explicit from the outset about who you'll be hiring. No matter what you do, you will receive unqualified applications, but it's your job to minimize that as much as possible.
2. Take Your Time.
Hiring talent—remote or otherwise—online will lead to a lot of applications, but that doesn't mean you should rush your hiring process. Go through every application carefully. Even if you find a good candidate halfway through a stack of 200 résumés, you may find a better one at the bottom of the pile. To hire the best, you must search the entire talent pool, and when you're hiring remote workers, your pool expands to include the entire global workforce. Yes, this search takes time and money, but hiring a better employee will earn those resources back in the long run.
3. Above All Else, Stress Communication.
If you aren't in the same physical space as your coworker, communication skills are an absolute must. However, success in a remote work environment requires not only communication, but over-communication. In remote work, you don't have the luxury of stopping by someone's desk for a chat or to ask a quick question. Without that regular contact, remote workers have to be excellent communicators and be able to articulate exactly what is going on with the projects they're working on. Before you even begin to screen for technical skills during the interview process, you need to first check and evaluate a candidate's communication skill.
4. Be Thorough in Your Vetting Process.
A thorough vetting process means not only testing candidates' knowledge but also finding out if applicants can really do what they say they can. Because you won't be in an office together where you can see if a person is capable and performing up to task, it's crucial that you find out their skill level before hiring. This means conducting the interview with someone who has the experience and knowledge to ask the pointed technical questions and recognize the right answers. You should also give the applicant a test project to see if they can actually do what they say they can. Success in a remote environment requires trust, so be sure that you can trust your candidate before you hire.
5. Find Out if Remote Work Is Right for Your Candidate.
Even if a candidate seems like a perfect fit, he or she may not be right for remote work. Remote work requires a worker to be able to get things done without much oversight. Working outside of the office requires a person who is a self-starter, a doer, one that can get things done without being told to. A remote worker also needs to be comfortable without the social network an office provides. It is liberating, but remote work can also be lonely. Be sure to explain all the pros and cons of remote work to applicants during the interview and find out if they are okay with them.
Hiring is never easy, and sourcing remote talent has its own specific challenges, but you're sure to have a more successful hiring process by using these tips. So internalize these insights, get out there, and start building your remote team!