Remote recruiting – how to attract the right talent

Millions of companies have been forced to embrace remote working due to the Covid-19 pandemic – and many plan to continue more flexible working practices even after the global health crisis.

But what happens when you need to take on new members of staff? 

To find the talent you need to survive these troubled times, you’ll have to take your recruitment process online too. Here’s how to make remote recruiting work for your business.

The pros and cons of remote recruitment

Not being able to meet potential employees face to face may feel like a disadvantage, but remote recruitment also has benefits – including that it can help you increase the diversity of your workforce.

Not only does interviewing candidates online allow those in charge of hiring to sidestep any inadvertent biases they may have, recruiting remotely also means you can appeal to a much wider talent pool – especially if the role in question will remain remote longer term. 

By allowing new recruits to work from home, you’re opening the door to talented individuals living in different parts of the country, or world, as well as those living on your doorstep.

Remote working opportunities also often appeal to women with childcare or other caregiving responsibilities, as well as people with disabilities for whom a daily commute is not an option. 

On the flipside, there’s little doubt it’s harder to identify an applicant who will be a good fit with the rest of the team without meeting them in person. But remote recruitment is the only option at the moment, so why not try to see it as an opportunity rather than an inconvenience?

Attracting the right talent

To ensure your job ads attract top talent, it’s important to make sure your employer brand makes them want to work for your organisation.

“Candidates who are being recruited remotely can’t get an idea of the company culture by visiting he workplace or meeting members of the team in person,” said freelance recruitment consultant Heather Beedham. “So it’s vital to prioritise your online presence.”

Ways to do this include:

  • Updating your website and using photos, videos, and employee testimonials to allow visitors to better understand your organisation
  • Checking any social media pages 
  • Consider adding a career page to your LinkedIn company profile
  • Check your company’s Glassdoor reviews – and respond in a measured way to any negative comments 

Writing an engaging job advertisement

Writing an accurate and appealing job advertisement is always key to attracting the best candidates – and it’s even more important when you’re recruiting remotely. 

Given the economic backdrop, there are a lot of people looking for jobs at the moment. But while getting lots of responses to a job listing is a bonus, you only really need one – the right one. So don’t be afraid to be specific about what you want.

“Include as much detail as possible, and make sure the job description covers all aspects of the role,” Beedham added. By taking the time to define exactly what sort of person you want to take on, you can avoid wasting time and money interviewing unsuitable candidates – or worse still, hiring someone who turns out to be the wrong choice.

Things to think about include:

  • What professional qualifications do job seekers need to apply?
  • How much experience do you want the ideal candidate to have?
  • What skills does the role require?
  • What personality traits will help the applicant fit in with his/her colleagues?

Interviewing online

Conducting a successful online interview generally means organising a lengthy video call. So make sure you have the right tools available, and that you are comfortable using them.

“Whether you use Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack, or another app, it’s important to give candidates a good impression by ensuring the interview goes smoothly – with no technical glitches,” Beedham said.

Before sitting down to do the interview, it’s also worth spending a few minutes checking the lighting and what the candidate can see behind you. The aim is to appear professional, and ensure the interviewee can see you clearly.

If you would usually ask candidates to complete an on-site assessment, you may also have to integrate this into the video call to monitor how it is completed remotely.

Onboarding remote employees

Once you’ve found the right person for the position you need to fill, the next step is to ensure they have the tools and support they need to do the job. That’s why it’s a good idea to provide remote recruits with a list of people they can contact if they have any questions. 

“Ways to make them feel welcome include sending out a team or company-wide email introduction, and arranging an online meet and greet with the other members of their team,” Beedham added.

To help your new recruit perform to the best of his or her ability, it’s probably also worth investing in whatever equipment they need. This might just be a company laptop, or it could involve setting them up with a full home office. 

In summary

Remote recruiting can be a great way to access a wider talent pool and increase workforce diversity.

However, to appeal to the best candidates, you need to be detailed and specific about what you are looking for, and ensure your company looks good online.

To avoid losing new recruits due to the challenges of remote working, it’s also important to make the effort to help them feel part of the team.

Further reading

Jessica Bown is an award-winning freelance journalist and editor.

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