Shelter-in-place orders during the COVID-19 public health emergency have been a boon for remote workers but a jolt to employers who’ve had to adapt hiring protocols to this “new norm.” Whether your business is planning on going remote permanently or only as required for now, here are five tips on employment screening for remote workers to help you secure the best candidates for your team.
- Determine What Kind of Employee Will Best Suit Your Needs
Working with someone you interact with in person five days a week is different than working with someone you won’t set eyes on nor talk to except via virtual chat or email most of the time. Before the first interview, establish what kind of characteristics are needed for the role. Do you need a self-starter or someone to just complete assignments? Does the candidate need to have a strong presence for delivering presentations over video conferences or can they be soft-spoken and mild-mannered? Drafting an outline of this ideal character will likely be a work in progress, but you can pull ideas from anyone on the team who’s managed a remote worker or even worked as one.
- Develop Questions that Will Invite Deeper Conversation
Doing interviews face-to-face allows you to make a connection and take in a lot of physical cues from your candidate. Doing interviews remotely–whether over the telephone or via video conference–makes it harder to feel like you’re really getting to know someone. In order to get the right kind of information about a candidate, draft questions specific to how they would perform the type of work required, their organizational style, their problem-solving skills, and their ability to work on their own. And, as every good journalist knows, asking yes/no questions gets you answers like “yes” and “no.” Ask open-ended questions to get more complete and thoughtful answers.
- Use More Than One Interview Method
Since your candidate will be working remotely and communicating with your office through a variety of platforms, get to know them via those same platforms. It will help you understand their technical ability and communication style when they’re talking one-on-one (phone), interacting with multiple co-workers at a meeting (video chat), or when they’re writing (email).
- Give the Candidates Some Homework
If you’ve whittled down the list to the final candidates, give them all a sample project to complete on their own. Assign something related to the role that can be completed without access to deep internal resources. Make sure to give the same project to each candidate so you can compare how each one completes tasks, finds solutions, and meets a deadline.
- Be Cautious About Social Media Screening
It will be tempting to scour the internet for background information on your remote workers but be careful. Social media screening must be done according to established protocols and by someone who understands the risks. Taking in all that personal information can lead to legal issues down the road; a topic addressed on our next blog.
If you need a partner to help with employment screening for remote workers or on-site workers, ask ClearStar how our technology solutions and the experienced, international team can support your hiring needs.