Guest Blog – 5 Mistakes to avoid when recruiting a remote team

Remote work is a reality no one can look away from. Even organizations that never thought of going remote, had to adapt to this new normal to sustain their businesses. Many companies have also started to hire remote staff.
Remote hiring, if done in the right way, can really prove to be effective and successful for organizations. However, what’s to note here is that an un-planned recruitment strategy can actually lead to the opposite outcome. Hiring, whether remotely or otherwise, is always crucial for businesses and no organization can afford to neglect it in any way.
Let’s look at a few common mistakes that need to be avoided while recruiting a remote team.

Giving your usual onboarding process a miss

A streamlined onboarding procedure guarantees a successful start for a new hire into his/her new job. Almost all organizations have an onboarding process in place. An onboarding process generally goes on for one day or a few days or a week.

We might be working and managing teams remotely, however, that certainly doesn’t mean that we neglect our onboarding process. It is through an employee onboarding program that a company can introduce its organizational culture to the new recruits, help them better understand the deliverables, and make them feel more connected.

Moreover, employees generally tend to stay longer at a company and are more likely to recommend it as a place to work when they’ve had a positive onboarding experience. Many organizations also run employee onboarding surveys these days; in fact, this might the best time to launch one, in case you haven’t done it before.

Conducting an online employee onboarding survey is quick and helps better understand how new employees view your organization, whether they have settled in their jobs and how well are they geared up to perform. An organization gains insights on all these crucial factors, while new recruits start to feel connected to their new organization, it’s a win-win for both.

Not following a proper communication channel

One of the most crucial factors while hiring remotely, is to build an effective communication channel between hiring managers and potential hires. Recruiting is easier when we work at our offices – managers can conduct face to face interviews, candidates get to experience what it’s going to be like working at the company, everyone is better placed to make informed decisions. This very element is lacking when we hire remotely, all the more reason to make sure there’s a strong communication mechanism in place.

When recruiting remotely, the existence of a concrete communication and interaction channel is imperative, it is the remote communication tools we use, that define the success of the entire hiring exercise.

There are a lot of tools that have made virtual hiring very smooth and easy. Many of the world’s leading companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are successfully conducting virtual job interviews. The key is to identify what tool will work best and how to go about using it.

For instance, emails while being the most commonly used method of formal communication, need to be backed with a few new and advanced remote communication tools, to build a stronger and more engaging connection with the candidates.

A few mistakes to avoid –

  • Don’t just pick any tool, make sure the communication tools being used are well tested.
  • Don’t assume that your candidates know everything about remote technology.
  • Try not to go overboard with tools and overwhelm the candidates, causing unnecessary stress.

Hiring in a rush

Haste makes waste! As per a study by Global HR Research, bad hires can account for a number of business challenges –

  • Nearly 80% of turnover is due to a bad hire.
  • 60% of bad hires tend to negatively affect the performance of other team members.
  • 39% of businesses report a productivity dip as a result of a bad hire.

When hiring in a rush, managers may skip a few important screening or interviewing steps. This needs to be avoided at all costs. Rather, what is to be focused on is how successfully a potential hire can adapt to remote work culture.

Every human is different, and thus, has a different working style, learning style, working attitude, etc. An individual’s personality and behavior play an even more important role now when we do not get to meet the individuals in person, at least for a while.

Not all individuals are cut out to work remotely. Some employees may lack the self-discipline to work from home, without being monitored at all times. Some people simply may not be able to work in isolation. Don’t just hire anyone to get the job done, this can cost you a lot.

Working remotely requires an individual to be great as competencies like – time management, planning & prioritizing, flexibility, communication & coordination, etc. Employees should be able to work autonomously. Organizations need to evaluate candidates on these factors before making a decision.

Ask questions that will help you zero down on the right fit, for instance – ask candidates if they have prior experience of working remotely or ask them if are acquaint with remote software, if yes, what kind of tools have they used – Skype, Google Meets, Zoom, etc.

Not staying aligned with the team

Being on the same page with your team throughout the entire hiring process is a must, especially now. Organizations need to ensure that everyone knows about the revised hiring strategy, what steps need to be followed, etc.

Delegate work effectively amongst your team to avoid any chaos –

  • Who will be responsible for first-hand screening?
  • Who will look after arranging and coordinating for virtual interviews?
  • Who will be in constant touch with candidates to keep them engaged?

This will help manage the hiring process and co-ordinate among team-mates better when you are recruiting from a distance.

Not being in constant touch with your candidates

Keep your candidates engaged at all times. If they are out there looking for a job, you are not the only organization they would be perusing. Keep them posted on the status of their application and how they’re moving in the recruitment cycle. There are many tools available that help manages this too – Smashfly, Beamery, etc. allow you to build and maintain relationships throughout each stage of the recruiting pipeline.

Even if you are looking at the possibility of putting an active position on hold, don’t make the mistake of leaving your candidates guessing. Instead, address your current situation with them. People appreciate honesty and transparency.

In the end

By avoiding these common mistakes, organizations can successfully run their hiring exercise, bring onboard the right talent, and also strengthen their employer brand. It’s very important for organizations to adapt to the change, be agile, and flexible with their recruiting plans. Being future-ready is the call of the hour, organizations need to redefine and reinvent their recruitment structure to embrace the remote-working reality.


Garima Sharma

Lead – Assessments & Surveys at GreenThumbs

Garima Sharma is the Lead – Assessments & Surveys, at GreenThumbs. She is a subject matter expert for Personality Assessments, Talent Management, 360 Degree Appraisals, Employee Engagement, Feedback Surveys, etc.

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