How to recruit a remote worker

HR head of a fully remote firm explains what she looks for when hiring a new employee

How to recruit a remote worker
As more and more jobseekers begin demanding remote working options, organizations will be forced to adapt – however, one HR head says employers should be wary before hiring an employee who will always work off-site.

“While the thought of working remotely appeals to a lot of people, it’s not for everyone,” says Krisha Buehler, HR head and culture cultivator at BELAY – a fully remote firm with over 50 staff.

“A lot of people have this vision of it being amazing but if they’ve never done it before they’re not truly prepared for what it’s like – it takes a certain kind of person.”

Buehler, who’s been with the organization since 2014, says there are countless benefits to remote working and many job seekers are highly suited to the arrangement – but others just aren’t.

“When I am vetting and interviewing and hiring, I have to be extremely transparent about what it’s like and what expectations we have,” she tells HRM. “We have to be really diligent in the people we bring into the organization to make sure remote working is right for them.”

One of the key attributes Buehler looks for a person’s natural tendency to be a team player.

“I’m looking for a team player because you have to be able to collaborate and yes, you need to do that anywhere, but within a virtual environment it takes extra effort,” she explains.

“You have to be really intentional, you have to go above and beyond, you have to over-communicate and try really hard to stay connected so someone who is not a team player by nature may struggle with that.”

Discipline is another important attribute that Buehler looks for when recruiting a remote worker.

“It’s easy to get distracted when no one is around you so you have to be self-sufficient and self-motivated,” she tells HRM. “Even though we’re great about giving recognition and making our employees feel valued, we want people who are natural go getters and who are self-driven.”

Atlanta-based Buehler also says she looks for candidates who are comfortable and confident with technology.

“Being remote, you don’t always have a dedicated IT person everywhere. You really have to be able to figure it out and be resourceful and know how to use the technology that we use every day that allows us to work virtually so well,” she says.

So, how does Buehler test for these specific skills and attributes?

“A lot of the time I will ask for a couple of examples, for them to explain some of the team dynamics that they’ve been in, and a really big accomplishment for that team,” she tells HRM
“Then I look to see if the achievement is it all about them or if it’s a team achievement, are they talking about themselves a lot rather than the group?”

While it’s a benefit if the candidate does have prior experience with remote working, it’s not essential but Buehler will test to see if they have realistic expectations.

“It’s always an added bonus if someone can honestly tell me the good and the bad with working from home,” she tells HRM.

Related stories:
Are you ready to play by the new rules of work?
Is snobbery getting in the way of good recruiting?

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