Here’s how to find candidates that fit in with your company culture
Since 2020, the term ‘remote work’ has become part of all our vocabularies. Some research even shows that interest in remote work has gone up 556%. But familiarising ourselves with the concept of remote work and actually hiring remote employees are two completely different things.
Now that we know remote work can lead to a wider pool of more qualified talent from all around the world, increased productivity, employee retention, and job desirability, perhaps it’s time to ask ourselves: how can we optimise remote hiring to make sure that new remote employees fit in with our company culture?
Fear not: we’re here to help guide you through the process to make sure that your company culture remains safely in place – WFH or not.
How well do you know yourself?
And by yourself, we of course mean your company. If you’ve been there for a while, it might be easy to make assumptions that your working culture is ‘easygoing yet professional,’ but is that really the case? And if it is, what are the specifics?
We get it - it’s difficult to take a long hard look at ourselves sometimes. But an undefined company culture is like a playlist with no genre: there is no way to know for sure how well a new song will fit its vibe.
So, might we recommend starting by defining your company culture? Here are some things you might want to explore further: the role that diversity and inclusion plays in your hiring process, the importance that you place on mental/emotional wellbeing and disconnecting from work, whether you are okay with casual video calls or whether you want a professional front at all times, and whether you are comfortable with employees switching off once they have completed all tasks for the day.
When you’ve got a good picture of your company culture, you’re ready to start looking for employees who have the same values as you.
Are you being honest?
Or, to be precise, are you being honest in your job description? Chances are this is the first impression a candidate will get of your company, and it is the first thing that will make them want to become part of your team. Giving potential employees a good idea of what your company culture is and how they would be expected to fit in is a great way to self-select the right kind of candidates from the start.
For example, if it is important to you that all employees attend a cameras-on team meeting every Monday morning at 9 am to start the week right, you don’t want to waste time interviewing candidates who might not be morning people or who might be camera shy. So set expectations from the start, and be honest about what it is about these requirements that you value. Then you’ll know that whoever you decide to hire was the right fit all along.
Are you holding dress rehearsals?
What we mean by that, of course, is virtual interviews. A virtual interview is a great way to assess how your final candidates will present themselves over camera and how efficiently they can communicate virtually. Plus, you get to see how well they prepared – this is probably a good indicator as to how seriously they take their work even when it is remote.
Again, keep in mind what your expectations are. Are you looking for a confident person who is comfortable speaking over camera even though they might not be in a suit? Or are you looking for someone who is very professionally presented and might refer to lists that they made in advance?
A tip for if you’d like to take things further: Try adding more team members into the call to replicate what a real virtual meeting would feel like. How efficient is the candidate in navigating this situation?
Are you communicating your needs?
Honesty goes further than the job description, gaining even more importance further along the process. When you are down to your final few candidates, make sure you communicate to them exactly what your expectations are from remote work. How much of a self starter will you need them to be? Will they ever have to keep abnormal work hours?
Communicating well with the candidates will also let them know that you are serious about your company culture and about incorporating remote work into your daily schedule. You will value their presence, so you’re spending time now on making sure that you understand each other clearly.
Are you making regular appearances?
Your remote hires being… well, hired, doesn’t mean that your job is done. Sure, you may have given them a very clear definition of your work culture and told them exactly what you expect from them, but are you ever checking in to make sure that it is all working out seamlessly?
The first few weeks of remote work, as the remote hires are getting used to their new positions, are amongst the most difficult. And not being available to answer any questions that they might have is a fatal mistake that might result in new hires feeling overwhelmed, which might appear to management as though these remote employees are not a great fit.
A way to fix this is to make sure that, even if your new remote hires aren’t coming to you with questions, you check in with them regularly. By answering questions and fixing any issues early on in the process, you will be setting each other up for success.
Another thing to note is that even though you might be tempted to stop checking in after several months, this is perhaps the most important time to follow up with recent remote hires. The quarter or half year mark is a great time to assess whether the remote hire is thriving within company culture or whether first impressions have started to wear off.
Remember, remote work is here to stay! The sooner you get on the bandwagon and define your company culture to hire the best remote candidates, the better. And if you need any help, you know where to find us.