Federal data continues to show near record-breaking job openings across the country. As of April 2022, 33.4% of business owners were still having trouble hiring paid employees, according to the US Census Bureau’s most recent Small Business Pulse Survey.
If your company has a vacancy for a work from home — or one it might be — a remote collaborator can help fill it. But before that can happen, you’ll need to overcome more than basic obstacles like gear or cybersecurity. Here’s what you need to know to hire a remote worker.
1. Find out the logistics
If you hire an employee in a new state where your small business currently operates, you will be subject to that state’s labor laws and payroll taxes. You will need it too work compensation insurance in any state where you have employees.
The further away your team is, the more likely you’ll need to hire a recruiter, consultant, or vendor – eating up your budget for new roles.
“If you want to keep things simple, stay in your state,” says Megan Dilley, director of communications at Distribute, a consulting firm specializing in remote work.
You can also contact a freelancer-for-hire service like Fiverr or processing to simplify the hiring process.
Tessa Gomes, a Hawaii-based wedding planner, hired a team of five contractors through Upwork earlier this year.
“It just makes so much more sense than me trying to do it individually,” says Gomes. “It’s like [my] The pool of personnel has simply increased tenfold.”
2. Define your company and role
When writing your job description, make sure it includes details about your remote work environment.
“The definitions [of ‘remote’] are all pretty blurry,” says Dilley. “So as much as possible, be very clear and transparent from the start.”
For example, if you expect employees to arrive at 9:00 am ET every day, come into the office twice a week, or travel to a quarterly meeting, state that in the job posting.
Polish your company website and social media profiles, too. Consider adding some information about your employees and your work environment.
Every business should ensure its online presence explains “who it is, its brand, its culture, how it treats its employees, DEI,” says Victoria Neal, HR Knowledge Advisor at the Society for Human Resource Management.
You can list job postings on LinkedIn and other job board sites, but Neal recommends sharing job postings via social media or email with people who are already following your work.
“A lot of employers are really using their current user base” to find new hires, she says.
3. Redesign your interview process
Since interviewers may no longer see candidates in person, you need to educate them about new things.
“Virtual recruitment and virtual interviewing can break some stereotypes,” says Allan Platt, CEO of management consulting firm Clareo. But he adds that they can introduce a whole new set of assumptions, such as those related to internet connectivity and candidates’ home office setup.
To help with this, Platt says his company’s interviews are highly structured and candidates are scored using consistent matrices.
“The way we structure and organize our interviews when we’re conducting remote interviews is really important,” says Platt. “Candidates rate us the same way we rate them. They’re looking for any clue they can get.”
You might also want to optimize your interview structure. For example, remote workers need to be great communicators who can meet deadlines. Asking behavioral interview questions and assigning sample work can help you find candidates who demonstrate these skills.
4. Prepare for the first day
Before your new hire joins the team, make sure your workspace is working asynchronously. Online tools for remote work like Slack can help employees help each other, so a new hire’s manager doesn’t have to answer every question — especially if their work hours don’t match.
On day one, you can help your new hires feel welcome and fully prepared by planning an onboarding program. If you don’t already have documentation for common processes, try creating it before your new hire begins.
In the beginning, schedule frequent meetings with your new hire. As these meetings wane, Dilley encourages excessive communication as the norm.
Also, take some time to reflect on your own mindset. If you’re used to being in constant contact with a new hire—especially in the first few weeks—be prepared to let go of some control.
With remote work, “trust is assumed, not earned,” says Dilley, “which is a little different than what people used to talk about.”