As many companies have transitioned to remote working, recruiting has typically not been a priority.  But as social distancing measures remain in place, more organizations will need to bring on talent without ever meeting them face-to-face.   

One significant challenge in recruiting individuals remotely is being able to assess both what a candidate explicitly communicates and how that communication squares with the non-verbal cues that the candidate provides during interviews. While videoconferencing can help a recruiter to some extent, recruiting virtually requires a deeper dive into the applicant’s materials to compare what the applicant conveys in questionnaires and interviews, against their resume and reference checks.  Interviewers also need to ask the right questions and careful attention must be taken in assessing the responses.   

Further complicating hires is the need to find an employee who can work remotely for an extended period of time.  While a candidate may have the underlying skills needed for a role, roles can change when they are required to be done from a home environment.  For example, remote workers typically have to be very responsive to communications, independent enough to not require constant supervision, and proactive in solving problems.  Many candidates describe themselves as responsive, independent, and proactive, but recruiters must be able to assess from the candidate’s conduct during the recruiting process and their references whether these descriptions are accurate. 

Utilizing the right technology is also critical.  At Equivity, we utilize an applicant tracking system to aid in the organization of candidate pools, to clearly define the requirements of each open job, and to equip our recruiters with screening questions. These questions help to differentiate between the candidates who are not qualified for any given role, and the qualified ones we want to pursue. We also utilize written and verbal tools throughout the screening process to analyze a candidate’s ability to communicate effectively. Also, decision-making is a group activity at Equivity when it comes to making smart hires; there is no one person who makes the decision on any particular candidate. This keeps things fair and consistent, and holds everyone on the team accountable for making equitable decisions based on qualifications and best fit for the particular client needs.   

As organizations adapt to remote working, utilizing the same playbook for bringing on talent would be a mistake.  Businesses should tailor their hiring and recruiting strategies to match the times or rely on companies that have experience assessing candidates who will do much of their work outside the office.