Remote Hiring? Avoid These 10 Mistakes!

Remote hiring and remote work is now the norm for most organisations around the world.

This shift, influenced heavily by the COVID-19 pandemic, has forced organisations to reconsider their entire recruitment process. From initial application to screening and onboarding, HR professionals and employers alike have had to go through rigorous process amendments and a lot of trial and error to get remote hiring right.

It is important to avoid mistakes in your remote hiring process. As a result, we have listed 10 remote hiring mistakes you should avoid:

1) Lacking expectations about the job

Lacking clear expectations about a job is confusing not only for the company, but also remote candidates. This is leading to bad hiring decisions and a poor job experience for new starters.

The two key areas to consider here is collaboration and isolation.

Specifically, how does your staff collaborate remotely? Do you have a system in place to assist remote collaboration? Is there a system for employees to share information on projects and ideas? And how do new starters not feel isolated but included within your company’s aims, objectives, and teams?

Setting clear expectations goes beyond a well-written job description. It is important to assess each duty within a job description and how the new starter would execute them in a remote environment.

Try to be remote-first rather than remote-friendly.

2) Hiring based solely on the CV

Assuming a CV is 100% accurate is a mistake that many organisations make in their hiring process. In fact, a survey of 1000 UK workers found that over a third have admitted to lying on their CV.

With more companies hiring remotely, many have reported more cases where an individual has provided inaccurate details on their CV. This has ranged from adding skills they do not have, working at companies longer than stated, and having higher grades.

Within a remote hiring context, consider your interview process and the questions you would ask to clarify if your candidate is telling the truth. In addition, it might be worth considering giving the candidate a small task or project to work on to assess their skills.

3) An absence of a good onboarding process

The COVID-19 pandemic forced organisations around the world to alter their onboarding process to accommodate remote working.

And, maybe for the first time, organisations understand the importance of a good onboarding process: higher staff retention, higher productivity, and increased profits.

However, despite these notable benefits, 88% of organisations have poor onboarding and 55% do not measure the effective of their onboarding.

To ensure your company has an effective employee onboarding process, consider the following:

  • Ensure your organisation notes the limitations remote working can have on onboarding
  • Promote engagement and commitment throughout the whole process
  • Tailor onboarding to the individual and their role
  • Measure onboarding effectiveness using HR metrics and KPIs
  • Estimate the length of time from ‘New Starter’ to ‘Productive Employee’ based on your organisation’s existing data and knowledge
  • Implement a framework for improving your employee onboarding process
  • Digitise the process as much as possible

4) Ineffective video interviews

Traditional face-to-face interviews allows companies to assess how candidates react to questions and information (through body language and facial expressions).

However, with video interviews, assessing body language and facial expressions has become challenging. This has had significant impact on the hiring process and the choices companies and recruiters make. Simply because they are misreading their candidates.

When conducting video interviews, it is important that you consider this potential lack of transparency. To help, it is worth assessing the questions you are asking and make sure they help you understand the candidate’s passions, goals, and motivators/demotivators. Following this, when conducting the video interview, be sure to assess how the candidate reacts to your questions (eyes lighting up, etc).

Finally, outline your desired outcome from the video interview. Whether it is an informal conversation or a formal interview, let the candidate know. Also, let the candidate know the stages of the interviewing process (e.g., two video interviews and an in-person interview).

5) Not screening new starters

Many organisations have found they lack a standardised screening process (aka vetting or background checking) for new remote starters.

Without a screening process, companies have little to no understanding of the person they are hiring. Is the individual who they say they are? What do their background checks say? Do they have a right to work in the UK?

Most companies’ remote hiring process is limited to a right to work check and sometimes a basic DBS check. But what about their employment and educational history? Are they handling monies and, as a result, need a credit check? Do their references check out? Has the individual engaged in criminal activity that could put your clients or staff at risk?

Failure to run appropriate background checks can put your organisation at risk of legal, financial, and reputational damage. And such damage can be irreparable.

Therefore, in the remote hiring age, it is important to digitise the process and implement a system that allows your organisation to conduct background checks/screening efficiently and compliantly. In particular, a system built by a company recognised by the UK Government as a responsible organisation.

6) No communication nor collaboration flow

It was often deemed straightforward to implement a flow of communication between departments and within teams in an office environment. However, with the appropriate tools, many organisations have found it easier to implement this in a remote work setting.

However, a lot of companies have struggled (sometimes failed) to establish a flow of communication, which can affect collaborative efforts and slow down projects.

When hiring new remote starters, think beyond who their line manager is and consider the individuals they may need to speak to on a regular basis. For example, a new marketing employee will need to communicate with sales and finance. Who should they speak to and have you communicated this to the new starter?

Also, consider meetings. Would your new starter benefit from attending specific meetings?

And finally, what tools have you got in place to encourage collaboration? Can remote employees easily share data and ideas? Is there a project manager (or equivalent) helping encourage collaboration and efficiency?

7) No data protection no cyber-attack awareness

Not unlike office workers, remote workers will have access to a vast array of data to perform their role. Whether it is company credit card details or personal customer information, your organisation need to ensure your remote workers understand data protection (GDPR) and how to prevent company-wide cyber-attacks.

This is particularly important in the current remote working age, where cybercriminals are more likely to attack businesses and remote workers.

Therefore, you should consider the following in your remote hiring process:

  • What databases does each remote worker need access to? (E.g., CRMs, ATS, DropBox, Google Drive, etc). Is there a process to grant or deny data access to remote workers?
  • What security and data privacy policies do new remote starters need to be aware of?
  • Are new remote starters aware of different types of cyber-attacks? Such as phishing, malware, password attacks, SQL injections, etc? And do they now how to identify and prevent such attacks?
  • Is there a password manager in place? If so, how reliable is it?
  • Are firewalls and anti-virus systems in place on remote equipment such as laptops and tablets? And are they regularly updated?

8) Assuming all candidates want a remote role

Remote working has its benefits. No commute, more time with family, and a better work-life balance. However, despite these benefits, many organisations work on the assumption that everybody wants to work remotely. This is simply not the case.

In fact, out of 100 respondents to a survey we conducted on LinkedIn, 46% prefer hybrid-working, whilst only 31% prefer working remotely.

It is recommended that organisations offer the option of either remote, office-based, or hybrid working. Doing so will increase applications and create a larger pool of talent to assess.

9) The recruitment process is unclear

Adjusting your company’s recruitment process has been a necessity to accommodate remote working.

Since the pandemic started, there have been complaints from candidates that the recruitment process is unclear. This has ranged from a lack of confirmation email to no indication on the status of their application.

It is imperative your organisation communicates the recruitment process to candidates clearly. Otherwise, you may deter top talent from continuing their application (or even applying in the first place). In addition, a lack of communication in the first instance may discourage top applicants from applying again in the future.

To ensure the process is clear to candidates (remote or otherwise) be sure to include the following:

  • A thank you email for applying
  • Outline the next steps to the candidate
  • Optional: create a landing page on your website regarding the next steps of the recruitment process
  • Provide turnaround times for reviewing applications and interviews. If a delay is likely to occur, let the candidate know.

10) Avoiding remote hiring technology

This is the biggest issue for most organisations. Companies who succeed with their remote hiring process have a simple, yet robust technology stack in place.

There should be at least two systems in place to ensure effective remote hiring. These are an applicant tracking system (ATS) and screening/onboarding software.

When it comes to assessing your company’s own remote hiring technology stack, ask yourselves:

  • What system do we have to accept and analyse CVs and cover letters?
  • For new remote starters, what system are we using to onboard them?
  • When screening new starters, what background checks do we need to conduct for each employee? Is the referencing and background check process efficient? (e.g., automated, compliant, robust)

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