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Top 5 Remote Recruitment Challenges in 2021

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While more than 50% of employers worldwide allow some form of remote work, remote recruitment hasn’t always been a preferred hiring mode for employers. However, in the light of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is quickly becoming the new normal. 14 of the 85 tech startups that are hiring during the crisis reveal that they are hiring remotely and all their job positions are permanently home-based. To keep their organization running on optimal levels, employers are left with no other option than to change the way they attract and hire employees. On the bright side, remote recruitment allows employers to save up to $10,000 per employee every year. While there are added benefits of remote recruitment in these unprecedented times, the burning question is, are we fully equipped to handle the process? The recruitment systems, talent management systems, and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that recruiters relied on for traditional hiring process don’t work for virtual interactions. The need for effective strategies to make remote recruitment easy is high – and not just for this pandemic period. There are good chances that this necessity-turned-trend will carry itself into the post-COVID-19 world. With this in mind, are you ready to take on the remote recruitment challenges? Here are a few crucial factors that you need to keep in mind.

1. Gauging Emotional Intelligence is Challenging

When hiring remotely, testing for emotional intelligence isn’t as easy and straightforward as it is in in-person recruitment. Of course, you want to hire an employee who best fits in with your company culture. Generally, this human connection is developed by observing one’s body language – a crucial aspect of hiring that often doesn’t translate easily during the remote recruitment process. What makes this problem even more challenging is that remote employees are required to have higher emotional intelligence and better communication skills than office-based employees. They need to be self-motivated and must know how to be their own leaders. Since there’s a lack of face-to-face communication in remote working, building a relationship with employees can be difficult. This may make some employees anxious and some might even suffer from trust issues. Therefore, when building a remote team, you must choose candidates with high emotional intelligence. With remote hiring and working, the demand for more adaptable, collaborative, and empathetic employees has skyrocketed. While video interviews may help understand if an employee is listening attentively or distracted, there remains a higher chance of misinterpretation of non-verbal communication. A personality test is a great tool for filtering candidates with character traits that are most suited for the job. This assessment reveals specific aspects of one’s personality and gives you an idea of how they will perform and excel at the job. Apart from this, you should consider asking a few questions that revolve around the following topics:
  • Experience of failure (whether the employee takes some responsibility for the event or simply blame others)
  • The ability to handle criticism (whether the employee accepts their flaws or makes excuses to defend themselves)
  • Teamwork (whether they mention any group projects and if they do, whether they give credit to others or like being in the spotlight alone)
  • Empathy (whether they consider the needs of others or just focus on their own preferences)
  • Whether they seem genuinely interested in the job or are indifferent

2. Managing Huge Volumes of Applicants

One of the biggest benefits of remote recruitment is greater access to a wider talent base. However, it comes with a few logistical challenges. You’ll likely receive heaps of applications to filter through before you can find your ideal candidate. Effective screening of candidates will make the hiring process easier by filtering out unqualified candidates in the early stages and allow you to save time in the long run. The following are a few helpful tips for employers.
  • Create an accurate job description
  • When posting job listings, mention the most important requirements first
  • Start with internal candidates
  • On the application form, ask about special skills, available work hours, and start date availability
  • Review all applications and separate the rejects
  • Make sure that your recruitment process includes multiple communication opportunities before the interview
  • Use uniform tests to compare candidates’ scores
  • Consider scheduling panel interviews if you feel that the multi-step process is time-consuming
  • Check candidates’ profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter
  • Ask for references and about previous employers and work experience

3. Focus on Employee Retention

Employee retention starts with the recruitment process. Thinking of remote employee attrition from the start is an effective way to reduce the chances of making poor hiring choices. The economy is tight and employers need to understand why a good employee would leave the company. When you hire the wrong candidates, early-stage attrition is inevitable. Needless to say, the turnover is costly. Quite interestingly, many of the employees who leave their positions are those who never planned on staying in the company for long. Around 75% of workers are confident that they’d quickly find a new job. Thus, employers must determine if a candidate is really interested in working with them or is just grabbing the first opportunity that has come their way. Another reason why employees leave is that they realize they’re a mismatch to the job or company only after they’ve started working. A survey revealed that 28% of the employees who quit within the first six months decided that they didn’t want to do that type of work anymore. 26% felt that their jobs weren’t what they expected in the interview. According to Glassdoor, 37% of hiring decision-makers believe that open and honest communication during the recruitment process could significantly improve retention rates. Employers should therefore make the job description and potential requirements clear from the beginning to identify candidates who will stay the course. Tell the candidates if the available role is remote-only or ranges from remote to office-based work. Find out if it works for them and if they’d be willing to relocate if necessary.

4. Speed vs. Quality of Hiring

Recruiting speed and quality hiring are two of the biggest challenges of remote recruitment. Best candidates are likely to find jobs faster. If your recruiting speed is slow, your chances of reaching the pool of the most eligible candidates will shrink. You’ll waste time and money in the process while those candidates find positions with other companies. Below are a few tactics to achieve your goal of quality hire with the fastest recruitment speed possible.
  • Implement a quantifiable job analysis process to identify the knowledge, skills, and attributes best suited for the job and target candidates accordingly
  • Use pre-interview assessment tools, such as personality tests, problem-solving assessments and work samples to filter out candidates
  • Keep the interview structured and relevant to the job analysis for predicting job performance
  • Make sure the recruitment process web-enabled and is connected with key performance systems

5. Virtual Onboarding of Candidates

The process of onboarding new remote employees brings unique challenges. Employers need to make sure that the new employees feel welcomed and valued despite the absence of office tour, in-person orientation, and meet-and-greet with the team. Here are a few tips to make the new hires feel like a part of the team with virtual onboarding.
  • Consider spreading your onboarding program over three to five days or even a week to boost employee engagement and reduce stress for the facilitators.
  • Managers should keep in touch with new employees throughout the program through email or video calls.
  • Deliver fully-configured computers or laptops at their homes as early as possible.
  • Keep your company’s culture and values front and center by explaining your story, vision, mission, values and products or services.
  • Give the new employees a chance to connect by introducing breakout groups of three to five people. After every session, let them talk and engage.
  • Have the hiring manager send out enthusiastic welcoming emails to all the new hires before their first day at work.
  • Appoint a team member as a buddy for each candidate who they can turn to for any questions or concerns.
  • After the onboarding program is over, request the new employees to fill out a survey and give feedback on the program.

Let’s Overcome the Remote Recruitment Challenges

With these remote recruitment challenges in mind, you should prepare yourself for digitizing your company’s hiring process. Whether you’re recruiting using social media, online job portals, or an advanced recruitment system, you need to make sure that the process is streamlined and efficient. Now that you know how to overcome the remote recruitment challenges, it’s time to start hiring remotely, leveraging virtual meetings, forging online relationships, and maintaining connections with promising candidates!
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