Tackling Remote Hiring Challenges with We Are Adam

By Adam
04 Jul 2021

BIMA experts and talent consultants We are Adam have created a set of blogs to help BIMA members and the wider community with their challenges when it comes to recruiting and onboarding new team members. In their first article, they offer sound advice for anyone looking to recruit or onboard new employees in today’s competitive economy.

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Despite the seemingly mixed messaging online, it’s abundantly clear that large swathes of businesses will be adopting an element of flexible working.  Some are trialling 4-day weeks, others have gone fully remote, and many more are looking at a hybrid approach.

As business is picking up, we’re finding a greater demand than ever for top talent.  To gain access to a wider talent pool, many businesses are allowing a ‘work from anywhere’ approach, leading to increased applications from across the globe.

A robust interview process has never been as important as it is right now.  With remote onboarding set to become the norm, our experts share how you can get the most out of the interview process.

Give your remote interview process a clearly defined structure.

1.      Figure out your technology
Of course, no matter how prepared you are, sometimes there are technical difficulties.  Taking a bit of extra time to make sure everything is running smoothly, and everyone involved knows what they are doing, will pay off in the long run.  And remember, you can make use of tools like WhatsApp video and FaceTime in a pinch!

2.      Video interviewing tips
A video interview can be much more useful than over the phone, as you can read body language and facial cues, as well as record the interview to refer back to later.  Be sure to set yourself up facing a light source for the best picture quality.  Minimise background noise so the candidate can hear your clearly and declutter the background to stop any unwanted distractions.

3.      Extend the hiring process
It could be worth adding an additional stage to your interview process; a quick pre-screening test, technical skills assessment or even a personality quiz are all good options.  This extra effort can help you learn more about the candidates, meaning you can be more confident when making hiring decisions.

4.      Involve the whole team
By giving your team the chance to help screen a candidate, not only are you helping to spread your workload, but you are getting the opinion of the potential new hires’ colleagues. They can help you uncover not just if the candidate is a good fit for the role, but also for the team and your company.

5.      Tell the truth
Don’t be tempted to tell the candidate what you think they want to hear. False promises will come back to bite you.  At best, this leaves a bad taste in their mouth.  At worst, they leave, and often without giving you any notice.

Ask competency-based questions.

Often the person conducting the interview is a line manager – someone who has worked their way into a senior role because they’re great at their job.  They’re not professional interviewers.

The most common reason people mis-hire is not asking the right questions.  When interviewing, get the candidate talking by using open-ended and behaviour-based questions.  These questions require a candidate to offer more detail and demonstrate their communication skills, something that is widely quoted as being a highly desirable skill for the workplace of the future.

Behaviour-based, otherwise known as competency-based, questions require a candidate to discuss their experiences, giving evidence that demonstrates how they will perform in a role using real-life scenarios.

Here are some of our favourite interview questions

  1.  How would your boss/co-workers describe you?
  2. What motivates you to do your best work?
  3. What exciting projects have you fulfilled?
  4. What challenges did you face during those projects and how did you solve them?
  5. What are you looking for in your next role? Why are you looking to change jobs?
  6. What do you do in your spare time?
  7. What companies do you find interesting/innovative? Why?
  8. Tell me about a time when you’ve been overloaded with work. How did you prioritise your tasks?
  9. Have you ever had to ‘sell’ an idea to your team or a client? How did you go about doing this?
  10. What type of working environment do you excel in?

Top tip:  To get under the skin of the candidate you should help them relax into the interview.  Start by giving them an overview of the business, successes, vision, and values.  It’s makes them feel at ease and a compelling narrative encourages buy in from the start.

Build a clearly defined onboarding process and stick to it!

You’ve been through your remote interview process and made the offer.  How do you go about getting them up and running when they can’t attend the office?

Just like in the office, you should start with an induction.  The purpose of an induction is to support new employees and help them become fully integrated into the company.  No matter how much you need an extra pair of hands, don’t fall into the trap of throwing them straight into work or you’ll set them up to fail.  After all, they may be an expert in the technical aspects of the role, but they know nothing about your company.

You’ll need to make sure your new employee has a strong support system.  Why not start a virtual buddy scheme? Introducing a new employee to someone other than their manager that they can contact at any time helps to break down communication barriers.  Another great initiative we’ve seen included putting in virtual coffee breaks with a different employee every day, to replicate the type of interactions you’d normally have in the kitchen making a brew.

Utilise an e-learning platform to help with the basics.  These can be time-consuming and expensive to set up but are an investment in the future success of your new hires.  Topics that are particularly useful via an online platform are health and safety information, organisational mission, vision and values, career paths and progression, how to access benefits and administrative processes like booking holidays or claiming expenses. Whether you purchase an existing platform, or have the in-house skills to create your own, an e-learning platform is a great way to get your new employee up to speed quickly.

During the first few weeks and months, it’s vital to provide regular feedback to keep your employee on track.  Schedule in daily catch ups to allow time to share information, both on their performance and on the quality of their onboarding experience so you can continually develop.  Make it clear that no question is a silly question – the onboarding process is a time for learning.

As time goes on, weekly catch ups are an important part of an employee’s development and supplement a more formal 1-2-1.  Create a bespoke solution for each new starter; some people like to have an intense week of training, then allowed to get on alone while others needs continued contact and support.   When working remotely communication is key, and for onboarding to be successful, it must be a two-way street so listen just as much as you instruct.

Remember, on day one you had a fully engaged employee.  Do they still feel the same after 6 months?

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