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5 Tips for hiring the right remote workers

Below are some tips on how to make sure your remote hires are a good fit for your organization.

Now that an unprecedented number of office jobs in Quezon City and other Philippine jobs are available on a telecommuting basis, even businesses that were previously hesitant to hire remote workers are starting to seriously consider it. Because remote jobs tend to offer more flexibility and a better work-life balance compared to office jobs, they are increasingly preferred by a growing number of Filipino applicants. So much so that many employees would rather work from home and take a pay cut than go back to the office.

What this means is, even after the pandemic ends, you may have to offer work-from-home (WFH) arrangements if you want to attract and retain top talents. However, this is so much easier said than done. There are some real drawbacks to hiring someone on a permanent WFH basis and these have to be accounted for. Below are some tips on how to make sure your remote hires are a good fit for your organization.

1) Take Time to Craft the Right requirements

If you haven’t changed the position’s requirements or the standard interview questions in the past few years, it may be time to review and change these so that they are more relevant for a WFH setup. 

Not only do the demands of every job change with time, but the demands of working at home and at the office are quite different as well. The types of people who thrive in the traditional Filipino office setting are not always the best equipped to deal with the vagueness and impersonality that often characterize the WFH experience. If you just post the same job listings that you’ve always had, you’re bound to attract candidates who’ll struggle with remote work.

2) Select applicants with Good Remote Communications Skills

People who excel in the face-to-face environments of traditional offices may not have what it takes to succeed in a WFH setup. Because face-to-face interactions are limited, it’s vital that whoever you select is both comfortable and competent at communicating through video calls, chat, and email. 

Contrary to what you might think, this involves more than just an understanding of how to use tools like Zoom. More important are their basic communications skills, including reading and listening comprehension, as well as their ability to communicate clearly and directly. They should also have a good understanding of nuance as well as of the cultural sensitivities of the markets the business serves as well as of the people they may be working with.

Unfortunately, despite Filipinos’ vaunted English skills, it’s not uncommon to encounter applicants who display a weakness in these areas, even among graduates of top universities. Make sure to seriously reconsider hiring candidates who have difficulty understanding you or making themselves understood. 

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3) Prioritize Trustworthiness

Because you can’t always keep tabs on them, remote employees need to be the type of people you can trust completely.

While it’s impossible to make 100 percent sure that everyone you hire will be completely trustworthy, there are a few ways you can put the odds a bit more in your favor. Make sure to pay extra close attention to the candidates’ references as well as any odd details on their resumes. Take some time to get to know them during their interview as well. If there’s a hint that you couldn’t trust them to do the job, then you should think twice about hiring them.

4) Choose Self-Starters

It’s important that whoever you choose can get the job done with a minimum of supervision. Former freelancers and people who’ve run their own businesses are often a good choice for permanent work-from-home arrangements because they’d already show some bias towards action. Other candidates that show an unusual sense of initiative may be good choices as well.

On the other hand, candidates who seem like they need to be spoon-fed every step of the way should probably be deprioritized. Chances are, you’d spend more time than you’d want to actively manage them, which can be extra challenging in a remote setup.

5) Respect Your Applicants

The best workers are highly unlikely to tolerate disrespectful behavior from potential employers. And why should they, when they can work for literally anyone else in the world who offers a WFH arrangement?

Examples of things that may upset or otherwise stress out applicants include but are not limited to inconvenient meeting times, not replying with an acceptance or rejection promptly, asking questions that were already addressed in previous interviews, asking basic things that are already in their resume, being late for remote interviews, and other things you wouldn’t want to be done to you.

Hiring remote workers is not vastly different from hiring for the office. Fundamentally, you will need to look out for more or less the same things — integrity, competence, and communicativeness. However, when hiring for remote work, you need to make sure that the people you do pick also have the specific enterprising qualities that will allow them to thrive in a WFH environment. This will help ensure that whoever you hire will be a good fit for your organization—even if you’ve never met them in person.

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