In today’s increasingly mobile society, many businesses are seeing the benefit of hiring remote workers for their team.

Of course, not all positions can be filled this way. But, if it’s a good fit for your organization, this can be an egg-cellent way to find the perfect new employee for your team – especially if you’re hiring students or new grads. Most Gen-Y candidates have grown up in a world where they are constantly connected with people all over the world, making them great candidates for remote positions.

The benefits of recruiting remote workers:

  • A wider talent pool. When you’re not restricted by your immediate location, your options grow exponentially. This greatly increases your chances of finding the best candidate.
  • Diversifying your teams. There are many qualified candidates who would perform better with a remote arrangement rather than an office environment, such as people with mobility issues.
  • A happier workforce. A study from Stanford University shows that working from home can help people be more productive and satisfied with their work.

While there are numerous advantages to this approach, it does require a slightly different recruitment strategy. If you’re new to the remote recruiting game, here are some tips to help you get started.

Play up the flexibility factor

Gen-Y job seekers prioritize work-life balance. They understand that work can happen anywhere and that they don’t necessarily need to be chained to a desk to be productive. Therefore, a work-from-home position can be very attractive to students and new grads looking for workplace flexibility.

When crafting your job posting, make sure to emphasize the flexibility of your position and include relevant keywords like “telecommute,” “remote work,” and “flexible schedule” to increase searchability. Also take advantage of every tool at your disposal to amplify your message – social media, company blogs, and your current employees are all great ways to get the word out.

Know the right characteristics to look for

Not everybody is cut out for remote work, but that’s okay! The right hire will thrive in this type of setting – you just need to know what to look for. People with remote work experience are obvious top picks, so keep an eye out for candidates with freelance, startup, and entrepreneurial experience.

For candidates without previous remote work experience, think of the job requirements and look for skills that would maximize their success in the role. For example, working from home means working independently with little direction, so look for someone who is organized and very self-motivated.

Here are some more great skills to look for in a remote worker:

  • Initiative
  • Organized
  • Tech savvy
  • Self-motivated
  • Strong work ethic
  • Time-management skills
  • Ability to focus through distractions
  • Excellent communication skills: written and verbal

Technology is your best friend

One of the biggest remote recruiting challenges is building rapport with your candidates. That’s why, even if you’re recruiting for a remote position, it’s a great idea to arrange an in-person meeting so you can both get a feel for one another. However, if this is impossible, there are plenty of tools at your disposal. For example, you could use a video chat program to conduct interviews so you can still see your candidates face-to-face. It can also help gauge your potential employee’s tech savviness.

Tip: Video interviews can also help you assess a candidate’s ability to plan ahead. Did they struggle to operate the program? Was their internet connection super slow? Technical issues are bound to happen, but if lots of problems arise, it might indicate that the candidate was underprepared for the interview.

Communicate clearly and often

Remote work comes in all shapes and sizes. For example, some employers expect their remote employees to keep a traditional 9-5 schedule, while others simply expect their workers to achieve daily or weekly goals and milestones. Since you may encounter candidates who have not worked remotely before, it’s especially important to clearly outline the expectations of the position to avoid any unfortunate misunderstandings.

Additionally, students and grads want to know that their employer will support them through their school-to-work transition and many worry that they might feel abandoned in a remote work scenario. If possible, provide candidates with multiple ways to contact you and make sure you answer their communications promptly. This kind of virtual “open door” policy will show candidates that, despite the distance, their employer will be available when they need help or clarification.

While the approach is a bit different, the end result for remote recruiting is the same. As long as you incorporate these key tips into your recruitment strategy, you’ll be sure to find your next remote working rockstar!

Discussion: Do you use a different approach when recruiting remotely? Let us know in the comments!