Remote work has become increasingly popular, especially with COVID restrictions and work-from-home mandates in many states. In fact, 42 percent of the U.S. labor force is now working from home full-time. This increase not only impacts how we work daily, but also affects how we recruit. Hiring and recruiting for remote positions needs to be approached differently than traditional, in-person recruiting.

Reassess the ideal skillset
Although each position will vary in its requirements, when hiring remote employees, you’ll want to make sure they have the skills necessary to be successful out of the office. When looking through resumes and interviewing candidates, be sure to address valuable skills needed for working-from-home, including technology comfort-level, organization, the ability (and desire) to work independently and communication style.

An in-person office setting enables company mentors who can help an employee grow. This much-needed benefit can be harder to implement at-home, which means you’ll want to make sure your hire has most, if not all, essential skills listed in the position. A skills assessment is an option for indicating if applicants have what they need to thrive in the position.

Using different interviewing methods is another strategy to help assess a candidate’s skill level. Consider using a combination of email interviews, phone interviews and video interviews. Their email responses will help you assess their ability to communicate in a timely manner, as well as written professionalism. A phone call can help to demonstrate verbal ability and connection, and a video interview enables a face-to-face interaction where you can further evaluate cultural fit.

Showcase your company culture
Whether remote work is a temporary or long-term solution for your organization, creating a video tour of your office is a great way to showcase the work environment, employees and company personality to be used in recruitment efforts. A well done video can be used on your company website, social media channels and sent directly to applicants.

Look for ways to include current employees at various job levels so candidates can see who they would be working with. According to a 2018 Job Seeker Nation Study, 46 percent of candidates believe culture is very important in the application process. Appeal to applicants’ desire for learning about company culture by including recorded employee interviews where they tell their story, describe a typical day and why they chose to work (and stay) at your company. These personal touches can make all the difference in their virtual hiring experience.

Ask the right questions
Hiring for at-home employment makes it necessary to get to know your candidates, especially if the period of remote working is for an extended or indefinite period of time. Take the time to ask questions that ensure they are trustworthy and honest.

In addition to the typical interview questions, tailor your interview to gauge their ability to work from home. Focus on their ability to collaborate remotely, work efficiently and communicate effectively. Some sample questions may include:

  • Do you have prior experience working remotely?
  • How do/will you stay focused and on-task when working from home?
  • How do/will you stay engaged and motivated over long periods without in-person interaction with coworkers?
  • What is one of your favorite experiences working with a team and your contribution?
  • What do you do to minimize miscommunication in emails and instant messages?
  • How did you structure your first day on your last project?

These questions will help you evaluate if your talent has the proper skills, attributes and experience to add value to your organization.

Consider offering perks
Working from home may already seem like a perk, but with more and more businesses allowing it as an option, you’ll need to look into making your company more attractive to candidates. If they worked from your office, you would be providing them with office supplies, a desk and other items. Consider providing them with a work-from-home set up that could include a nice office chair, desk accessories and of course, a computer or laptop.

If your team gets together virtually throughout the year, share this information with applicants. This may serve as an additional bonus for candidates knowing they will get to interact with co-workers in an informal setting.

As at-home employment continues to grow, staying ahead of the competition to recruit top employees should remain at the forefront of your recruitment strategy. Using these tactics, you’ll build a solid foundation for a successful work-from-home environment in your organization.